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Federal Court Hearing for H. Rap Brown Has Just Concluded

Aired March 21, 2000 - 2:40 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: In Alabama, a federal court hearing for the former Black Panther H. Rap Brown has just concluded. Brown, who now goes by the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, is accused of killing a sheriff's deputy in Atlanta.

CNN's Brian Cabell joins us from the courthouse in Montgomery -- Brian.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Natalie.

The hearing here in federal court in Montgomery was very brief, no more than five or 10 minutes long. And the federal warrant against Mr. Al-Amin for unlawful flight from prosecution was dismissed at the request of the prosecutor. He requested it. A judge granted it. It now becomes a state matter. Georgia want to expedite him back to Georgia.

Al-Amin said nothing in court during those five or 10 minutes. But as he was leaving court and also beforehand, when he was getting into a car, he referred to this as a "governmental conspiracy." He did not look particularly healthy, but his attorneys said he was not wounded in any way, and his attorneys said, explicitly, that Al-Amin did not gun down the two deputies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J.J. CHESTNUT, ABDULLAH'S ATTORNEY: He did not shoot anybody, he said, in Atlanta. He denies all of that. He's been fighting the system since he was 16-years-old, and this system has been trying to kill him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABELL: And he further said that Al-Min, his client -- who he just hired him about 45 minutes ago, as a matter of fact -- was lucky to get out of Georgia with his life. But once again, he said that Al- Amin was not the man who shot those two deputies last Thursday night.

Now with me right now is the U.S. attorney here in Montgomery, Redding Pitt.

Mr. Pitt, why this move today to dismiss?

REDDING PITT. U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, the responsibility of the United States government under the unlawful flight to avoid prosecution statute is to assist the state of Georgia in bringing an accused person before the bar of justice, in this case, for what Georgia believes to be a very serious crime. The warrant is issued by the United States district court in Georgia. He's apprehended over here, and then our next move is to go in court, have him in custody, dismiss the case and turn him over to state authorities so that the extradition process can begin.

CABELL: So he goes back to Georgia next.

PITT: Our first priority is to assist the state of Georgia in bringing their case.

CABELL: How long might that take, to get him back to Georgia?

PITT: Well, he'll have an opportunity to be heard, as the governor of Georgia will, we expect, will issue an extradition warrant. We expect the governor of Alabama to sign it, and he'll have an opportunity to be heard from. It could be anywhere from a day or two or longer, but he will have an opportunity to be heard.

CABELL: If Mr. Al-Amin resists, we'll have a court hearing then here in Alabama?

PITT: I'm sorry, I can't hear for the noise.

CABELL: If Mr. Al-Amin resists this order, there will be a court hearing here?

PITT: There could be a hearing, yes.

CABELL: Normally, conventionally, this is granted, something like this is granted, is that correct?

PITT: Typically, it moves pretty quickly, yes, and is granted, yes.

CABELL: OK, Mr. Pitt, thank you very much.

So once again, the federal court hearing has ended, and Mr. Al- Amin is now back in county jail here in Montgomery. He could be here for a day or two, as you heard the U.S. attorney. And once again, he is facing still a murder charge back in Atlanta.

I'm Brian Cabell, CNN, live in Montgomery, Alabama.

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