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Court: Eric Rudolph Defense Cost $4M

September 14, 2005

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Legal fees to defend Eric Rudolph in a deadly Alabama abortion clinic blast and the Atlantic Olympics bombing cost taxpayers more than $4 million before he agreed to plead guilty in a deal that spared his life, court documents show.

One of Rudolph’s attorneys said Tuesday the bill would have been far higher had the case gone to trial.

``That would have probably tripled the cost,″ said Bill Bowen, part of a team of at least nine lawyers who defended Rudolph.

Rudolph is serving four life terms after pleading guilty in the Birmingham clinic bombing, which killed a police officer in 1998, and the Olympics bombing, in which a woman died in 1996. He also pleaded guilty in two other bombings that occurred in Atlanta in 1997.

U.S. Attorney Alice Martin said the government had not computed the total cost of prosecuting Rudolph, who was the subject of an intense manhunt following the Birmingham bombing in 1998 until May 2003, when he was captured in Murphy, N.C.

The cost of defending Rudolph was disclosed in an order filed last week by U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith. Attorneys in the Alabama case were paid $2.02 million for representing Rudolph, who declared himself broke and received court-appointed legal representation following his arrest in 2003.

Experts, investigators and others who assisted in the defense were paid another $2.02 million, according to Smith’s order.

Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman with the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, said the cost of defending Rudolph was far less than the $18 million taxpayers spent on lawyers for Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted in a trial and executed in 2001 for the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people.

Redmond said the Justice Department spent $80 million prosecuting McVeigh in the Oklahoma City case.

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