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Attorneys for Libyans Accused of Pan Am 103 Bombing Begin Cross-Examination of Police

Aired May 5, 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: Now to the Netherlands, defense attorneys began planting seeds of doubt today in the trial of the two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103.

CNN's Nic Robertson reports the strategy is designed to take advantage of a peculiarity of Scottish law: a verdict of not proven.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Arriving early for court is becoming a routine for victims' families, but for many of them, this day of the trial was to be different.

BERT AMMERMAN, FAMILY MEMBER: In particular, the cross- examination by the defense team -- as I would say in our country, the game has begun.

ROBERTSON: Defense lawyers began intense cross-examination of police witnesses called by the prosecution to testify on the debris scattered in a wide area around Lockerbie.

"Would it be unusual in an investigation to find foreign intelligence agencies helping in recording the evidence?" the defense asked Chief Inspector McClean (ph). Replying in the affirmative, his and other police testimony detailed CIA and FBI involvement in the recovery of debris.

And in another line of cross-examination of the police, the defense focused on evidence about Palestinian terror groups, bringing out information new to victims' families.

AMMERMAN: One of the policeman this morning testified that he brought the remains of that barometric trigger back to Lockerbie.

ROBERTSON: Evidence police confirmed they were using in the early stages of their Lockerbie inquiry that they believed implicated Palestinian terror groups, not the Libyans: a line of questioning legal experts say the defense is using to implicate others.

ANDREW FULTON, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW: The defense have gone to the Palestinian issue. It looks as if, having introduced it very early, they're going to make quite a thing of it. ROBERTSON (on camera): Court will break for the weekend. When it reconvenes Monday, more police are expected to take the stand, and families who stay on to watch will likely see more of the legal sparring that has only just began.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Camp Zeist, the Netherlands.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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