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Special Event

Janet Reno Addresses Elian Gonzalez case at Regular News Briefing

Aired June 1, 2000 - 9:45 a.m. ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Want to listen in to Attorney General Janet Reno, who is holding her weekly media briefly. She is answering questions about the Elian Gonzalez case.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

QUESTION: ... keeping Elian in the country for a little while to allow the family one more appeal, even if the appeals court doesn't have some sort of order saying he has to stay in the country? Or would you just leave it to the courts to decide whether there should be any more order keeping him in the country?

JANET RENO, ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is now quarter of 10. In an hour and 15 minutes, we can discuss this in a far more intelligent way.

QUESTION: So we'll come back up here, then?

RENO: I don't know. We'll work it out with Myron so everybody has a chance to read the opinion.

QUESTION: But doesn't the Justice Department have any interest that's different than the court in terms of deferring to the judicial process? In other words, if the court says, OK, we're going to lift this stay right now and allow Elian to leave, do you have any personal interest or does the Justice Department institutionally have an interest in allowing -- or forcing Elian and his father to stay, pending the furtherance of -- the further proceedings?

RENO: I think it best to read the opinion and then make a statement.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, what's behind all this speculation is there has been considerable speculation that if the ruling is favorable and if the stay is listed that there would be a race somehow to get Elian out of the country.

QUESTION: Can we at least assume that as a matter of policy the department defers to an appeals court in terms of some pending...

RENO: I am deferring to the appeals court right now by not talking too much while -- when the opinion is about to come down.

QUESTION: OK.

QUESTION: In the time since Elian has been returned to his father, I know that initially you gave us some insight into what your thinking was that day. Have you reflected on it in the time since, at all?

RENO: Yes.

QUESTION: And if so, how? What -- would you change anything?

RENO: Oh, I'd change a lot of things, if I could.

QUESTION: Such as?

RENO: Get the father to volunteer -- I mean, get the great uncle to voluntarily transfer the child.

QUESTION: Anything within in your power -- would you change anything that -- any of your decisions, any of your actions?

RENO: I haven't -- I'd perhaps word things differently or something like that. But I feel comfortable with what was done.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, to change the subject?

QUESTION: All right.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, there's...

RENO: Are you getting majority votes to change the subject?

QUESTION: Well, in other press forums, we basically notify the press that we're changing the subject, and if anybody objects to that, then we defer.

KAGAN: We were listening to Attorney General Janet Reno. This is her regular weekly media briefing that she has with reporters every Thursday morning. Today, great anticipation because about an hour and 10 minutes from now, the three-panel judge from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals here in Atlanta will be releasing its decision on Elian Gonzalez. The two matters: whether the 6-year-old has a right to a political asylum hearing; also they will address, or we expect them to address earlier court orders that keep Elian Gonzalez here in the U.S., while these court orders and the appeals process has been pending.

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