Friday, March 14, 1997

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  • Geronimo Pratt Hearing

    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
    tennis court.

    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.