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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Rudolph Will Appear in Court Tomorrow

Aired June 2, 2003 - 20:01   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Serial bombing suspect Eric Robert Rudolph is spending the night in Birmingham, Alabama. He's going to be spending a lot of time there now. Tomorrow he'll appear in court.
He was transferred from North Carolina today to await his first trial for the 1998 bombing of a Birmingham women's clinic. In the meantime, hundreds of miles away, investigators scoured the thick woods around Murphy, North Carolina, for clues, any clues to just how Rudolph managed to elude them for five years.

The manhunt thrust this little town into the national spotlight, and it hasn't always been the most favorable light at that.

CNN's Mike Brooks paid a visit to Murphy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE BROOKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During the five- year manhunt for Eric Robert Rudolph, the North Carolina town of Murphy was getting a reputation for being a place where people with anti-government views could come and disappear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was talking to a lady. They came out with a new wanted poster, an updated one. And I said to this woman, Do you think he's really still alive? She said, I know he is. My brother just saw him not long ago camping. And she told me where.

And I was really surprised that they didn't want to turn him in for the reward money. These were local people. And I said, You wouldn't turn him in? She said, Oh, no, no, we wouldn't turn him in.

BROOKS: But what is this small community of about 1,600 people nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina really like? We went to Hogan's Barber Shop, in business for 35 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just nothing but beautiful people here. There really is. Most of them are churchgoing, but there is an influx of people from out of state, and more and more all the time, because this is a beautiful place to live.

BROOKS: And at the coffee shop ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We call it the mountains of Florida, jokingly, because every other person you meet, they're not from here locally, they're from Florida. We have a lot of people from Michigan.

BROOKS: There was at least one sign of sympathy for Eric Rudolph here today, outside the Peach Tree Restaurant.

After talking to a lot of people here, the sense we get is that there is a general suspicion of the federal government. So they want to see the evidence against Rudolph before they really believe the FBI has their man.

Charlie Stone, a retired investigator formerly on the bombing task force, spent time in and around the town interviewing people and following leads during the investigation.

CHARLES STONE, FORMER AGENT, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: If I had to classify it, it is a conservative area. They recognize the government is a necessity but they are libertarian in nature and think that the least government you have in your life, the better off you are.

BROOKS: And what does the mayor have to say about the talk of some of his citizens possibly aiding and abetting a suspected domestic terrorist?

MAYOR BILL HUGHES, MURPHY, NORTH CAROLINA: I completely disagree with it. I think he's been a loner from the very beginning. I think he was a loner right up until the end. Why was he scouring around in a dumpster if people were helping him?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKS: As the investigation continues on how Eric Rudolph spent the last five years on the run, an FBI spokesman said that harboring a fugitive is a felony, and if, during the course of the investigation, they find anyone that helped Eric Rudolph remain a free man, they too could be prosecuted, Anderson.

COOPER: Mike Brooks, working the story. Thanks very much, Mike.

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