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CNN Today

White Supremacist Trial Brings Out Protesters in Idaho

Aired August 28, 2000 - 1:19 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: In Idaho, today, a jury is being picked to hear a civil suit against the white supremacist group Aryan Nations. A courtroom in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is the setting, under tight security, for a legal fight that could, if the plaintiffs win, wipe out the defendants' assets.

Those defendants include the Aryan Nations' leader, 82-year-old Richard Butler, along with three former security guards, and the corporation that controls the group's property, allegedly, the guards opened fire on Victoria (ph) and Jason Keenan (ph), mother and son, when the Keenans inadvertently stopped their car near the Aryan Nations compound in July of 1998.

As we hear now from Eric Cannavaro (ph), of CNN affiliate KXLY, security around the courthouse is very, very tight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIC CANNAVARO, KXLY REPORTER (voice-over): It seems whenever the Aryans are in public light, protests seem to follow. Now that Aryan leader Richard Butler is on trial here in Coeur d'Alene:

BEN WOLFINGER, KOOTENAI CO. SHERIFF'S DEPT.: We plan for protesters and we've obviously had to deal with protest groups here in the past.

CANNAVARO: But now the focus is on keeping protests from getting out of hand. Combined efforts from city, state and county authorities will make sure the courthouse is safe, and streets and parking lots nearby are secure.

WOLFINGER: Our goal is to have a high presence of uniformed officers as well as safe transports for all of the inmates that have to be in this trial and safe transports for the jury.

CANNAVARO: While police were making their preparations:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I just told them that we're here with the church.

CANNAVARO: Just blocks from the courthouse, some Aryans were passing out flyers Sunday, supporting their cause, confronting folks like Kevin Frame (ph). UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have any prejudice against black people or Jews, and so I was just sharing that with them. And they said that they felt like they needed to, you know, have their own opinion in their own right.

CANNAVARO: Meanwhile, police feel prepared for whatever this trial has to bring.

WOLFINGER: All in all, we've always been ready for anything that's come up. We've tried to foresee any of those unknowns, so to speak.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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