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CNN Today

Ruling Expected in Elian Gonzalez Case

Aired June 23, 2000 - 1:35 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: Another ruling in the Elian Gonzalez case expected shortly: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta is expected to make an announcement in about 90 minutes.

CNN's Gary Tuchman is waiting for the decision.

Gary, what's going to happen today?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, at 3 o'clock Eastern Time we will receive a decision from this appellate court here in Atlanta, which could lead to Elian Gonzalez going back to Cuba as soon as a week from today, or perhaps staying here for months or more to come.

It was three weeks ago that a three-judge panel at this court decided that Elian Gonzalez is not entitled to an asylum hearing. The decision today: whether the case should be reheard. If the answer is no, the law says Elian could go back to Cuba in seven days. However, if the answer is no, the attorneys for the Miami relatives will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and will ask this court to keep Elian in the country until the appeal is heard. The decision that would be made, we obviously don't know.

If the answer is yes today on the rehearing, the legal slate is wiped clean at this court. Legal proceedings would continue again. It could take months or maybe more. So it's a very important decision, what goes down today.

It was nine weeks ago that federal agents raided the home of Lazaro Gonzalez. That's Elian's great-uncle in Little Havana. They raided the home. They took the 6-year-old early in the morning, and they reunited him with his father in Washington.

In Little Havana, it was an uproar. There were disturbances, injuries and arrests.

Elian has now been staying in Washington and Maryland since then. His Miami relatives have been asking to see him since then, but no such meeting has occurred.

The Miami relatives have submitted case law to this court saying the INS has abused its discretion in this case. The government and the father say nonsense, that the time has come for Elian to go back to Cuba. The decision will be coming down about 85 minutes from now. They are pretty precise at this court. And when we get it, we will read it as soon as it arrives here. And that should be, as we said, at 3 o'clock Eastern Daylight Time.

This is Gary Tuchman, CNN live, in Atlanta.

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