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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Alabama Chief Justice Suspended Pending Review

Aired August 22, 2003 - 19:01   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to get right to a developing story we have coming out of Montgomery, Alabama, several new developments there. Of course, that is the city where the controversial Ten Commandments monument is pitting judge against judge.
Let's go straight to Montgomery now. That is where David Mattingly has been watching all the day's developments.

David, let's start with what you're hearing about Judge Moore. Good evening.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Daryn, just a few moments ago, this confirmation coming from the courts here, Judicial Inquiry Commission confirming that they are filing a complaint against Chief Justice Roy Moore.

They are acting upon a complaint that was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, plaintiffs in this case, to have the Ten Commandments monument removed. And now those plaintiffs are now reacting to this, saying that Chief Justice Moore's suspension is entirely appropriate. His defiance of the federal court order obviously violated the Alabama canon of judicial ethics requiring him to -- quote -- "respect and comply with the law."

They issued that complaint when the chief justice refused to go along with the federal court ruling to remove the monument to the Ten Commandments that he placed there two years ago. So, at this point, though, there has been no finding of guilt. This commission has only found that there was sufficient evidence for Justice Moore to go before a judicial court.

We're told that the state attorney general will prosecute that case and, when he does, that Judge Moore will have a chance to defend himself. He may or may not be found guilty at that point of ethics violations, as he's been accused of in the complaint by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the plaintiffs in this case.

Now, of course, this was very distressing to the many supporters of Justice Moore who have gathered here. They are at the podium right now expressing their disappointment, but continuing in their resolve to stay here and see this through. As of this point, the monument has not been moved, even though the plaintiffs in this case did say that they are satisfied so far that the state of Alabama is moving appropriately to get the monument taken out of public view, as has been prescribed by that court order. So the state, at least, getting some good news today that they'll not be subject, at least yet, to those massive $5,000-a-day fines every day that that monument remains there. We were told that they will revisit that issue in about a week. In that time, the plaintiffs in this case, if the monument is still there, they say they'll then pursue contempt charges and then that could also lead to possible fines in the future -- Daryn.

KAGAN: The story moves on in Montgomery, Alabama. David, thank you for that.

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