Former Black Panther Party leader Geronimo Pratt has been
fighting for 26 years to get a new trial. He was convicted in
1972 of shooting teacher Caroline Olsen to death and critically
sounding her husband during a 1968 robbery on a Santa Monica
But Geronimo Pratt has always maintained his innocence,
saying he was at a Panther meeting in Oakland at the time of the
murder. Pratt and his lawyers also say that he was the victim of
an FBI operation that aimed to destroy the Black Panther Party
—- the Counter Intelligence Program or COINTELPRO. In fact, the
key prosecution witness at this trial -— Julius Butler — is
alleged to have been an FBI informant.
Yesterday in Santa Monica, California, a court heard closing
arguments in a hearing to determine whether Geronimo Pratt
will win a new trial.
Here to update us on the situation is Frank Stoltz, the news
director of KPFK in Los Angeles.
TAPE: Excerpts from the hearing in Santa Monica, California on
whether to grant a new trial to Geronimo Pratt.