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2001-11-02

60s Radical Turned Community Activist Sara Jane Olson Pleads Guilty to Charges That Sheplanted a Bomb Decades Ago, But Says She Is Innocent and Afraid of Being Tried in This Climate in Thewake of the

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Sara Jane Olson, a sixties radical turned community activist in Minneapolis, plead guilty this week to charges thatshe plotted 26 years ago to bomb two police cars. But upon leaving the courtroom, Olson said she was still innocent,and that she plead guilty because it would be impossible for her to receive a fair trial in the current politicalclimate.

Prosecutors say that in 1975, Sara Olsen, then known as Kathleen Soliah, was part of the Simbionese Liberation Army,a militant political group which committed a series of bank robberies and kidnappings and was accused of severalmurders. Six members of the group were killed by police in 1974, after which SLA members allegedly tried to plantbombs on two police cars. Sara Jane Olson went underground shortly after, took a new name, and became a communityactivist in Minneapolis before being arrested two years ago.

Olson has always denied any involvement in the bomb plot, although she admits that as a radical political activistshe knew some members of the SLA. She was scheduled to go to trial when the September 11 attacks took place. Afterthe attacks, the political climate surrounding Sara Jane Olson’s trial shifted dramatically. Prosecutor statementsattacking her as a terrorist took on enormous weight, making it impossible, Sara Olson said, for her to receive afair trial. Federal officials are now looking at the possibility of rejecting Olson’s guilty plea to reinstateseveral other felony charges.

Guests:

  • Mary Sutton, Sara Jane Olson Defense Fund Committee.
  • Barbara Nimis, Personal Lawyer for Sara Olson.

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