Eric Rudolph, portrayed as anti-Semite, now represented by court-appointed Jewish lawyer
Friday, June 6th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Eric Rudolph, the accused Olympic bomber portrayed over the years as a rabid hater of Jews, now finds himself represented by a Jewish lawyer who says he's seen no evidence of anti-Semitism from his client.
In an interview Thursday on NBC's "Today" show, court-appointed defense attorney Richard S. Jaffe said he knew all about Rudolph's supposed beliefs but said his client didn't have a problem with his Jewish faith.
"There's been a public perception painted of Eric Rudolph that's far from accurate," said Jaffe, who specializes in death penalty cases and has helped get three Alabama inmates off death row.
Jaffe's rabbi at Birmingham's Temple Beth-El said he wasn't concerned about a member of his congregation representing a man who has been depicted as violently anti-Semitic.
"I myself detest Eric Rudolph," said Rabbi Brian Glusman. "I would certainly support the death penalty for him. But I also believe he's entitled to a good defense."
Rudolph, arrested Saturday behind a grocery store in rural western North Carolina, is accused of detonating a powerful bomb that exploded outside a Birmingham abortion clinic on Jan. 29, 1998, killing a police officer and critically injuring a clinic nurse.
He also is charged with setting off a bomb that killed one person and injured 150 others in a park in downtown Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. Authorities also accused Rudolph in a pair of 1997 bombings in Atlanta at a lesbian nightclub and a building that housed an abortion clinic.
Rudolph's sister-in-law Deborah Rudolph, who worked with authorities to develop Rudolph's profile during his five years on the run, said her brother-in-law denied that the Holocaust had ever happened, and claimed that the Jews now control the media and the government. His derisive nickname for the television set was "the electronic Jew."
Meanwhile, in western North Carolina, federal agents and local authorities were working Thursday to piece together Rudolph's life as a fugitive. FBI Agent Chris Swecker said agents were still investigating whether Rudolph had help on the run.
Murphy police Chief Mark Thigpen and Cherokee County Sheriff Keith Lovin said they were checking whether Rudolph helped sustain himself by breaking into some of the uninhabited vacation cabins that dot the mountains.
They said they were going back over a list of break-ins in the region over the past five years, some of which resulted in the theft of such small items as canned goods, old boots, clothes, paper towels and soap.
"I went to one house yesterday where they ignored some items that I believe a burglar would have taken," Assistant Murphy Police Chief Jerry Trull said. "And items like dry socks were missing."