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Court Date For Ex-SLA Fugitive

The Minnesota woman accused of planting pipe bombs under Los Angeles police cars in the 1970s will be tried later this year, reports Correspondent Dick Helton of CBS radio station KNX.

A 23-year-old indictment accuses the woman formerly known as Kathleen Ann Soliah of planting the bombs in 1975 in retaliation for a shootout between police and members of the Symbionese Liberation Army.

She says she's innocent. Her attorney said the case is a waste of taxpayers' money.

Soliah recently had her name legally changed to Sara Jane Olson. That's how she's known in Minnesota, where she has lived for the last two decades as a doctor's wife, mother of three and local stage actress.

"This case was formerly The People vs. Kathleen Ann Soliah,'' Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler said. "Now it will be the People vs. Sara Jane Olson, a.k.a. Kathleen Ann Soliah.''

Her past came to light after someone saw her on America's Most Wanted and telephoned police.

Superior Court Judge James Ideman was assigned to preside over the case. The defense, which is entitled to remove a judge who might be unfavorable, accepted Ideman after vetoing Superior Court Judge J.D. Smith, a former police officer.

Ideman is on vacation. Fidler, the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Criminal Courts, set a pretrial hearing for Sept. 13 and said Olson will be entitled to a trial within 60 days after that.

Olson, who came to court with her husband, Dr. Fred Peterson, her parents and a group of friends, agreed to return for the hearing.

Jordan and attorney Stuart Hanlon said they hoped to go to trial in November.

"She's anxious to get this matter behind her,'' Jordan said. "The '70s was a long time ago ... She's innocent and that will be her defense.''

Olson, who is free on a $1 million bail raised by her friends, is charged with planting bombs under police cars. If convicted, Olson could be sentenced to life in prison.

Grand jury transcripts in the case show there is little evidence left to link Olson to the long-ago bomb plot, and defense lawyers say there never was a case against her. But prosecutors say there is enough to go forward with a trial.

Key witnesses have died, and some physical evidence is unavailable.

The SLA was a radical group that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, who was later imprisoned for taking part in an SLA bank robbery. Hearst has said she considers the Olson case ancient history and does not want to testify.

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