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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Radical Story of Patty Hearst, the Verdict. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired February 25, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WILLIAM HARRIS, FORMER SLA MEMBER: ... any time.
LARRY KING, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: No one is above the law no matter how rich and powerful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Less than 30 minutes ago, we arrested Patty Hearst...
F. LEE BAILEY, DEFENSE PROSECUTOR FOR PATRICIA HEARST: Fifty-six days in the closet turned her into an urban guerilla.
AL JOHNSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR PATRICIA HEARST: During the trial for the Hibernia Bank robbery. The one thing that we had to do was prepare her for testimony.
BAILEY: She wanted to name the people who had abused her.
CJ WESTRICK, GENERAL ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: I would not have put Patty on stand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Holy Carolli, he has opened the door."
WESTRICK: It's always damaging when you take the Fifth Amendment.
BAILEY: And it killed us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst was abducted by two men and a girl in a bizarre kidnapping.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No ransom note, no phone calls, no word. Nothing.
PATRICIA HEARST, GRANDDAUGHTER OF WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST: The SLA is the people's army and we fight in their interests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI said the girl in the wig with the automatic rifle was Patricia Hearst. A rich college girl turned armed terrorist in a matter of weeks. Southern California's largest manhunt continues.
HEARST: For someone my age, I've been through an awful lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know where she is.
HEARST: Mom, dad, I'm okay. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever private thoughts the jurors may have had
as they went to court on this last day of the trial, they were required to keep to themselves until they reach a verdict.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The jury deliberated about a day's worth. And when the phone rang and it was Jim Deloach, the judge's law clerk, we knew we had a verdict and we were shocked.
So, we went upstairs and still thought it was a coin toss.
JOHNSON: When the jurors began to deliberate, I told Patricia Campbell Hearst that it was my opinion based upon all that had transpired in the previous eight weeks that she would be acquitted.
BAILEY: When the jurors come back and they will not look at the defendant, but looked at the floor instead, you don't wait to hear the verdict read.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just after the verdict was announced, Patricia Hearst turned to her lawyer and whispered, "Did I ever really have a chance?"
HEARST: Everything went pretty much the way the SLA said it would go. I was arrested. I was brought to trial, convicted. Seems like everything the SLA told me would happen has happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patricia Hearst watched an old jungle movie on her TV set in her cell in the San Mateo County Jail today as her lawyers announced they will appeal yesterday's guilty verdict in her bank robbery trial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one ever convicts a defendant that they like, I think her story about the kidnapping and what she went through evokes sympathy from everybody. I think they very much dislike some of the things that they learned about her later on, some of her conduct and just decided that she'd turned bad. That's the only way I can reason out the verdict of guilty for the robbery event.
BAILEY: I must say without equivocation the worst case I have ever taken on in my life was the United States against Patty Hearst. She was more unpopular than the Boston strangler.
WESTRICK: I think the importance of the Hearst verdict was that people realized that money can't buy you out of going to jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, they don't have any more rights than the average person.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm glad that justice was done.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, AUTHOR: There was certainly a major school of thought in the mid '70s that no Hearst, no one that wealthy, no one from such a powerful family would ever be convicted of something so lowly as a bank robbery, and the conviction surprised a lot of people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She may be found guilty now, but later on, it will be thrown out of court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you say so?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Money talks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was not exactly a note of sympathy that went out to Ms. Hearst from William and Emily Harris, her companions during much of the escapade. They said Ms. Hearst chose during her trial to go the route of power, they put it, slandered her dead lover, wronged her associates and vilified the political organization that she had voluntarily joined.
The Harris's are awaiting trial on a variety of felony counts and, in a statement, they said the guilty verdict restored their respect in the jury system.
BAILEY: People wanted Patty to do jail time, and the first time they seemed happy was when the judge gave her a seven-year sentence.
JOHNSON: The judges in the Federal Court very, very rarely release anyone on bail subsequent to a finding of guilty. Judge Orrick, he allowed her to be released on bail during appeal. Conditions of that bail being very unusual. He said she will be bailed on $1 million bail, the highest bail I had ever seen. This was just a statement concerning her wealth and power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's set the record straight, how do you feel about your family?
HEARST: Oh, I love them. They're good. So fantastic. And this will be the first Christmas in, oh, well, since '74. No, '73, that we have been together.
JOHNSON: When Judge Orrick ordered that she would be released on bail, he also ordered a very strange thing. A condition of her bail would be that she be protected at her family's own cost from others who would want to harm her by a cadre of police officers who would be hired by her and her father.
I have never heard of that one before. That's a new one. I spoke to the chief and asked him who he would recommend in his department. He told me that Bernie Shaw had been an exemplary member of the department. He was a family man. He was married and had a lovely family and that's why I chose him, to guard her 24/7.
HARRIS: I am not surprised that Patricia Hearst ended up in an affair with Bernard Shaw. From the moment that we kidnapped her, she was in some type of a relationship with somebody, originally with Willie, one of her captors, and then she was in a relationship with Steven Soliah, and then as soon as she got bailed out, she developed an affinity for one of her body guards, a police officer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her future is still clouded, an appeal pending on her San Francisco conviction, another trial is scheduled in Los Angeles in March. JOHNSON: Indeed, when Patty was released on bail, she still stood
charged in Los Angeles regarding her activities at Mel's Sporting Goods Store. That charge remained over her head, if you will, during the entire trial for robbing the Hibernia Bank.
BAILEY: She had a machine gun and she fired in the direction of a group of people. Witnesses saw her. Now, that case is a nightmare. It couldn't be won.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Almost three years ago, members of the Symbionese Liberation Army fled from robbery of a Los Angeles Sporting Goods Store. Their escape was caused by a machine gun firing girl.
Today, Patricia Hearst pleaded no contest to charges of robbery and assault in connection with that shooting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sentence could have been as much as 15 years to life.
HARRIS: The LA case was the worst case for her. There were tons of evidence against her in LA. It was probably at least a year between our case in LA and her case.
When we were arrested, we only remained in the San Mateo County Jail for three days and then we are transported to LA to go to trial in the Mel's case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After deliberating for nine days, a Los Angeles jury found William and Emily Harris guilty today of the kidnapping and robbery and the holdup of a sporting goods store.
HARRIS: We were convicted to a six-year term. As soon as we were convicted, we could tell that there was pressure from the Hearsts. They removed the judge. He had sat through the whole trial. He was very familiar with the evidence. He knew that not only was she probably guilty of everything that we were found guilty of, but that she would probably eat all of the ADWs, the assaults with a deadly weapon because she is the only one who fired a weapon the whole time.
She got a five-year probation out of that when we were doing six years in The Pen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Protected by guards hired by her family and entering a limousine, Ms. Hearst must have been aware that some will charge she received a special brand of justice for the rich.
HARRIS: Privilege began to come through. Her class privilege that she was rejecting when she was with us. But all of a sudden, her class privilege was what was going to protect her.
As soon as we were convicted in Los Angeles, they needed somebody to claim responsibility for her kidnapping. Well, six of the people that kidnapped her were dead. There were only two people left alive and that was Emily and myself.
They offered us an opportunity to plead to the (inaudible), which would be to plead to a life without the possibility of parole, which -- that was hilarious, you know.
When we refused the offer, within a month, the offer came down to what would you take? How much time do you really want? We could surmise that there was probably pressure from the Hearsts not to prosecute as it would draw her into it as a witness. She had no way to withstand a cross-examination by her comrades who were with her the whole time.
I had been with her for nearly two years. I knew everything that she had done.
Eventually, we agreed to the 10-year and eight-month sentence, a sentence that allowed us to count the time we had already done. We had already been in custody over three years. We actually benefitted from the Hearsts's efforts to help her stay out of any further litigation.
Privilege does a lot, man.
Once we worked out a plea bargain for the kidnapping case, we had one more issue of which we could be prosecuted and that's the Carmichael Bank robbery.
JOHNSON: During her trial for robbing the Hibernia Bank, Charles Bates who was the agent in charge at the FBI at that time indicated that the FBI would be willing to recommend immunity from prosecution for Patricia Hearst, not for the Hibernia Bank robbery but for all the circumstances if she would make herself available for a questioning by the FBI under this immunity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most important, the FBI now has Ms. Hearst's own description of the SLA robbery of a bank near Sacramento last year, in which a woman bystander was killed.
Ms. Hearst named the half the half dozen members of the robbery team, including sources say her old SLA companions, William and Emily Harris.
HARRIS: We had been accused in the newspaper of involvement in the Carmichael Bank robbery as early as September 21st, 1975. Subsequently, very soon, they charged Steve Soliah with the bank robbery in Federal District Court in Sacramento.
There were witnesses to the robbery who claimed that they saw him in the bank and put him among the robbers. She ends up debriefing, she tells the FBI the real story of what happened and reveals to them that Steven was not in the bank.
The prosecutors, they wanted to stick with their eyewitness identification, principally because they knew she was a horrible (inaudible) witness even if she was telling the truth. Steven was acquitted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Federal government used that essentially as a test run as to whether or not they could prove the murder. That trial was a debacle. It went horribly and that gave the Sacramento DA either the out or caused them to evaluate it and believed they couldn't prosecute it. All the physical evidence was 100 percent consistent with everything that she told them, but they weren't sure whether they could rely on her.
BAILEY: Patty chose to disclose the truth about the Carmichael Bank robbery, but they didn't want it. Our purpose was served in a way simply because our assignment from day one was to somehow contain and neutralize the murder charge out of Carmichael.
Our only way to do that was to go the immunity route.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, now Patricia Hearst has come full circle, from kidnap victim to urban guerrilla to states' witness.
JOHNSON: Mr. Bailey and I were both involved at that time with their appeal for the Hibernia Bank robbery. First to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and then to the United States Supreme Court.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal, Patty Hearst who surrendered at the Federal prison at Pleasanton, California to finish her sentence.
JOHNSON: After that time, I was advised by George Martinez to turn over the documents which we had (required) to him as new counsel.
Martinez got us fired after we brought him into the case at her request. I mean we found him through a list of divorce lawyers. So, her boyfriend who had kids and a wife could get divorced and marry her.
TOOBIN: Al Johnson, far more than F. Lee Bailey, devoted his life to Patricia Hearst. He's a Boston lawyer who spent years in San Francisco away from his family. And as soon as she hooks up with Bernie Shaw, she cuts out Johnson dead, and they never speak again.
JOHNSON: I was upset by it, obviously that I had worked as hard as I have ever worked on any case in my life and I believed in her and in her defense.
BAILEY: She was on the hook for a very grizzly first-degree murder, and we got her out of that. Had that been understood at the time, the Hearst case would have been labelled as a major victory. And Randy and Catherine Hearst understood and they were very grateful for it.
If Patty ever said thank you, I don't recall it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patricia Hearst is asking for a new trial, charging her trial attorney F. Lee Bailey with an ineffective defense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patricia Hearst went back to prison in May, but attempts to free her before she is eligible for parole are building up. The latest efforts centers on her lawyers' conduct of her defense.
JOHNSON: All counsels, including Mr. Bailey, at all times acted very professionally during the trial. At no time did I observe anything whatsoever which would indicate any lack of effectiveness or lack of attention to duty.
TOOBIN: She files a motion saying her lawyers gave her ineffective assistance of counsel. That was rejected.
HARRIS: Look, they were in a position to have to alter public opinion on her postconviction.
TOOBIN: Patty Hearst waged a press offensive to change public opinion to get Jimmy Carter to commute her sentence. She doled out interviews to sympathetic reporters who didn't know all the facts of the case.
HARRIS: They focused on the victim part exclusively. Since she's been observed on television and in magazines as a victim and not as an urban guerrilla, the narrative has likely been altered dramatically. So, it's not that hard to pull off. You know, when you have a media empire that's backing your play, that's a big deal.
TOOBIN: Her family recruits Democrats, Republicans -- Ronald Reagan also endorses this effort.
CAROL POGASH, JOURNALIST: You can't blame Patty Hearst for that. You can't blame her family. Any family would have tried to do it, it's just that most families wouldn't have had the money, the connections, the influence to do what her family could do.
TOOBIN: Patty Hearst had her story and access to the press and she used it like a master.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The committee conducts an extensive mail campaign.
TOOBIN: Patty Hearst's family organized this tremendous effort to commute her sentence. But they were helped by something that came completely out of the blue.
JANJA LALICH, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY: Jonestown was a cult led by a man named Reverend Jim Jones and he was a very charismatic manipulative person. He was essentially a con artist. He moved his people to a compound in Guyana. Their passports were taken away. A Congressman came over to check out what was going on there because these were US citizens.
As the Congressman was leaving, they went and shot Congressman Leo Ryan and a TV cameraman and a few other people and Jones then told his people that this was the end.
JIM JONES, AMERICAN RELIGIOUS CULT LEADER: The infamous suicide, we commit an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.
LALICH: It was not really a suicide, it was a mass murder as far as I'm concerned. But when this hit the news and people saw that over 900 people lost their lives because they followed this charlatan preacher, that to some degree changed the public opinion about why people do the things they do when they're in these cultic situations.
TOOBIN: The whole country started talking about the question of how can a charismatic person persuade people to act so much against their own self-interest? In this case, kill themselves. That question, redounded very much to Patty Hearst's benefit because that was her argument that the charismatic leaders of the SLA persuaded her to become a bank robber, and in that environment, Jimmy Carter was weighing the decision about whether to commute her sentence.
HEARST: Well, this is quite a difference from last time and thank you all. And I'm really happy to be going home. There it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
HEARST: Salutations. Thank you all so much, bye-bye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)...
HEARST: I am. Bye-bye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you doing?
HEARST: Oh, I won't tell.
CATHERINE HEARST, MOTHER OF PATRICIA HEARST: I look at her and just marvel to see the sparkle in her eyes and realize that she came through it with a sparkle still there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How has it changed you.
HEARST: It almost killed me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Although both of Ms. Hearst's parents were there for today's homecoming, the long ordeal has put a severe strain on the family. Randolph Hearst and his wife have been legally separated since last year.
During an interview with a small group of reporters, Ms. Hearst said that her kidnapping and imprisonment had caused her five years of her life, but said she has also benefitted from it.
HEARST: I think that I have gotten a lot stronger, a lot more self- confidence. I take a lot of things in stride that make other people fall apart. For someone my age, I've been through an awful lot.
HARRIS: Patricia Hearst was never a pathetic, crying, whiney, small victim. She adapted rapidly, in ways that were surprising. We thought that she was the exception to any rule. Did she brainwash us? Did she convince us that she was something that she wasn't?
HEARST: I didn't wear a pair of suit -- but I dressed for the occasion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).
HEARST: I'm just really happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patricia Hearst is off on a vacation. She won't say where, to try to get away from the last five years, and from what the name Patty Hearst has become.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patricia Hearst just published her autobiography titled, "Every Secret Thing" and in it, she made some surprising admissions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She now reveals in her book that she also participated in two other bank robberies. In one, the Crocker Bank in suburban Sacramento, a woman was killed.
HEARST: It was a casual way that they did it too, and talked about it. It was, "Oh, well, she was a pig. After all her husband was a doctor. So, what?"
JOHN OPSAHL, SON OF MYRNA OPSAHL: Toughest part in, "Every Secret Thing," was when Hearst quoted Emily Harris of saying she was a, "Bourgeois pig. Her life doesn't matter."
HEARST: It was so cold, it didn't matter what they did to anybody. They were always right, always.
BAILEY: Publishing that book was one of the dumbest thing I have ever seen in my life because immunity does not cover writing books to make money about how you committed a capital crime and being the getaway driver in a bank where murder occurs makes the driver liable for murder in the first-degree.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Patty, you've never been tried for that?
HARRIS: President Carter commutes her on the bank robbery charge. He doesn't commute her on any other case. She's still got this murder case hanging over her head.
OPSAHL: Patricia Hearst had written her book, and so most of the details were out there to kind of lead them where to find the evidence, but the years kept going by and by and still nothing had happened.
HEARST: It took a long time before I felt like I was the victim. You know, I have a life now and children and I just want to move ahead.
OPSAHL She seems to have gotten almost a celebrity status over this terrible thing.
KING: Fourteen years ago, Patty Hearst was the victim of the most bizarre kidnapping story in American history. The film, "Patty Hearst," from Atlantic Entertainment will be released nationwide in September.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your clothes off, Patty.
KING: Have you seen it?
HEARST: I have seen it. It's really good.
KING: Who plays you?
HEARST: Natasha Richardson, she's Vanessa Redgrave's daughter and she is fabulous.
TOOBIN: She went on with her life. It's almost like it never happened.
HARRIS: She's reclaimed her status as a ruling class matron. Her life has not been destroyed by this experience. If anything, it's been enhanced.
POGASH: She's been in John Waters' movies.
HEARST: Hi, kids. Remember, always look both ways before crossings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mother!
POGASH: It's really impressive that she built a good life for herself.
KING: I think the general concept today in America is if you're innocent, you've got a bum rap. Most Americans, I think believe that.
HARRIS: The body of information that was created to support her became the narrative.
HEARST: Well, I just think it's not true that I could have left at any point, I couldn't do anything at any point anymore.
HARRIS: Whenever she did interviews, she was haughty. She was arrogant. She was dismissive -- totally different person.
HEARST: No one was prosecuted for that bank robbery except me. None of my kidnappers were charged or prosecuted.
CHARLES GRODIN, TELEVISION SHOW HOST: What about the people in the bank robbery?
HEARST: No -- the rest were dead and the two that were left alive were not charged.
GRODIN: Why weren't they charged? Do you know?
HEARST: Their name wasn't Hearst? I don't know.
HARRIS: They had no evidence that we were involved in that bank robbery and I (inaudible) because we were not in the bank. They charged Patricia with that because she was front, center and prominent in the video.
TOOBIN: She came from one of the most famous journalistic families in the world. And she understood the power of controlling the narrative. She persuaded the public by and large that this was a story about one young woman who was kidnapped and force to commit one bank robbery, and that's what most people remember about this case.
She eliminated Mel's Sporting Goods, the bombing she parted in, the death of Myrna Opsahl, which she was morally responsible for.
OPSAHL After so many years, it was always Patricia Hearst that got the limelight, and you know, this fascination with the celebrities, semi-celebrity. I think everyone just kind of dropped all hopes of ever holding the SLA accountable for my mom's murder.
But then, there was a glimmer of hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1999, I was transferred into the major crimes division in Los Angeles. I think, the first week or two that I was there, I was handed a very thin file, maybe a quarter of an inch thick. I was asked to hold on to it. I was told the FBI was looking for this particular person. Kathy Soliah had been a fugitive since 1975, I believe.
This was 1999, so it was 24 years had gone by. She was charged essentially with planting two bombs with intent to murder, one at the IHOP in Hollywood, and the other at the Hollenbeck police station. The evidence that tied these bombs to Kathy Soliah and to the SLA in general were both overwhelming. We knew that Kathy Soliah was living at 288 Preceda Avenue in San Francisco with Bill and Emily Harris. She had signed the lease to the apartment. Her fingerprints were all over the place, and particularly in the closet.
Every component of the bomb had a matching component in that closet. And most importantly, we had an eyewitness, the person that sold her the pipe, remembered her. I mean you had a young, redheaded girl coming in to buy two pieces of three-inch pipe with caps at the ends of it. It caught his attention.
If she was ever caught, I would be responsible for the case. Quite frankly, I didn't put a lot of effort into it because I had a bunch of other murder cases on my plate and she hadn't been found in 24 years. It was as cold as a case can be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At
21 this morning, members of the Minnesota Fugitive Task Force arrested Sara Jane Olson, whom we believe to be long-time Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive, Kathleen N. Soliah.
HARRIS: In 1999, Sara Jane Olson was arrested. Sara Jane Olson is the name taken by Kathleen Soliah. She was in Minneapolis, in Saint Paul and she was raising her kids, acting in the community theater. Evidently, feeling relatively secure that she would be safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say a segment about her on the TV program, "America's Most Wanted," is the breakthrough generating tips about where she lives and tonight, after living a double life for nearly 25 years, she was quietly arrested in Saint Paul.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was not the same person by appearance that she was back when she did these horrible things. Part of the problem in the case was, we were going to have a whole set of jurors that didn't know who the SLA was, they would have never heard of them, and so that led us to looking at some of the other crimes they did. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where did you find them? You looked at the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were overwhelmed. We just couldn't believe that nobody had been prosecuted for the murder of Myrna Opsahl. John was outraged. So he made it his own mission to do what he could to try to get justice for his mom.
OPSAHL: I'm very happy that my mother's murder is getting attention that it deserves and I trust that justice will be served.
HARRIS: I knew that when she was arrested, all the shit was going to hit the fan and that we would be exposed again to prosecution in the Carmichael case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that there is now both direct and circumstantial evidence sufficient to file charges and begin criminal proceedings for the murder of Myrna Opsahl.
HARRIS: January 16, 2002, I was arrested and charged with the murder of Myrna Opsahl, and it was way worse for me at that time because I had a family. I was really angry. I had already done the time.
I got out of prison the first time on April 26th, 1983. And from that time on, I had lived an exemplary life. I became a well-respected investigator for lawyers and when I got divorced in maybe '86 or '87 and we did that because she was in a long-term relationship with a woman that she loved. I got remarried. I had two older sons. I was not trying to hide out. I hadn't changed my name. It was a (inaudible) nightmare that we had to revisit.
OPSAHL: So, when the second (inaudible) I did finally file charges against all five of the SLA members that were so when they did finally file charges against all five of the SLA members that were eligible for being indicted, we were happy that finally these people are going to be held accountable.
We soon found out that Patricia Hearst would probably end up being a star witness in the case. And I remember being asked, "Well, why wasn't she indicted with the rest of them?"
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were four people in the Bank. There were two getaway drivers. Bill Harris and Patricia Hearst.
TOOBIN: Patty did not go into the Crocker Bank, the way she went into the Hibernia Bank. But she was a participant. She drove what was known as the switch car.
HARRIS: There is no excuse for not prosecuting us until 28 years later. They had a treasure trove of evidence, most of it provided by Patricia Hearst and the only explanation that I can imagine, and I have no evidence of this, because there is none.
It had to have been pressure from the Hearsts to keep that from being brought. They didn't want her on the witness stand in a trial that would get the number one publicity trial of the moment. And she was going to have to tell this story all over again and she was going to have to try to be honest.
MIKE BORTIN, FORMER SLA MEMBER: For all her bullshit, she didn't testify. What's that telling you? She had to say that in the book. But she could have testified. She got on Larry King and said, "We were all a bunch of assholes," and she wants to do everything she can to prosecute us. Well, girl, all you have to do is testify.
STUART HANLON, LAWYER: It was a combination that she didn't want to do it and the DA didn't trust her as a witness. Charging the murder case was seven to life and we were allowed to work out a plea and I am sure that had a lot to do with Patty Hearst not wanting to testify and having the power to go with that.
OPSAHL: We were told the SLA members were going to plead guilty. We at least knew that there was some level of justice being done and that we would get to kind of face the people that brought us so much sorrow and grief.
Whether her murder was a careless accident or a planned assassination, the end-result is the same. She was dead and our family was devastated. I believe the defendants had that moment at that time to change course and possibly prevent her death, they had plenty of opportunities after that to learn from their mistakes and to refrain from further violence without necessarily giving up their imaginary cause.
OPSAHL: I do believe Emily Harris admitted that she was the one that pulled the trigger and claimed it to be an accident. I'm happy to give her the benefit of the doubt. It doesn't change the outcome.
EMILY HARRIS, FORMER SLA MEMBER: The rest of my life (inaudible) to feel a deep sense of remorse and sadness for my role in the death of Mrs. Opsahl and the suffering that that caused her family.
HANLON: When she got out of the fog of being in the SLA, it really weighed heavily on her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our role was to make sure that people were held accountable for what they did. When they were prosecuted, mission was accomplished.
OPSAHL: There's a verse in Proverbs, and it says, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but in the end thereof, are the ways of death." And when I read that verse, it just instantly popped into my mind, the SLA gang. I never could figure out why in the world would they do the things they did? And it dawned on me. It's like they actually believed what they were doing was somehow the right thing to do.
SANDRA SUTHERLAND, INVESTIGATOR: The whole SLA drama, I think was a Greek tragedy in some ways in that everybody suffered. Maybe Patty Hearst least of all.
TOOBIN: On the day that Patty Hearst was convicted, the message a lot of people took was no one is above the law, no matter how rich and powerful. But as you see how the story evolved in subsequent years, it's a story about how it's really good to be rich and powerful.
Even though she shot up a street in Los Angeles, even though she participated in bombings, even though she robbed banks, when a woman was killed in one of them, she wants a pardon in addition to the commutation. She wants her record completely wiped clean.
And when Bill Clinton is in the waning days of his presidency, she gets it. I think the main reason this story has endured is that it shows how difficult it is to know what's in someone else's head. How did this happen? Who is this woman? Which side is she on? Does she deserve punishment or sympathy?
BORTIN: The woman was kidnapped. She was brutally kidnapped. That's got to be a terrifying experience. Can you imagine? We'll never know what went through her mind.
HEARST: I do the best job I can to explain it, but there are many people who just will never understand it or believe that they can be so totally controlled by other people that they don't even have to have them standing right there next to them any longer with a gun directly to their head.
WESTRICK: I feel that Patty was a kidnap victim and it was a horrendous thing, but I also think she had a choice.
POGASH: It sounds so impossible now to believe that someone of great privilege could join in this radical terrorist-like group. But I think she did it to survive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At some point, I think in that year, if not sooner, Patty Hearst put on Tanya and liked it better than anything she had before.
LALICH: I truly believe that she was, to some extent, indoctrinated into those beliefs and now regrets it, denies it by saying she was truly a victim the whole time because once you take on those beliefs, those radical beliefs, you have to take a certain amount of responsibility for them.
SCOTT: I often wonder, knowing what she knows, how she -- how she deals with that dissonance. Unless she just so repressed it that she doesn't even consider it. I don't know.
HEARST: It's certainly is something that I wouldn't want to relive ever. You know, I just think I have really tried to make a life in spite of it.
HARRIS: If you were to stack Patty and Tanya next to each other, clearly the most interesting person is Tanya. I mean, I'm still impressed to this very day with her as a comrade. She endeared herself to me over and over again. I remember that person.
I remember that person more than I can imagine the person that she's reverted to.
TOOBIN: She's a rich lady in the suburbs. She raises dogs for dog shows.
WESTRICK: I was talking to one of the press during the Patty Hearst case, and he asked me what I thought of Patty Hearst. And I said, "I think she's water. She takes the shape of the glass she's poured into."
HARRIS: She's privileged enough to goof everybody. You know, the epitome of an entitled person, that she can even become a terrorist and a bank robber and still get on with her life, it's quite amazing. America is a funny place.