Eric Rudolph, the man accused of setting off bombs at the 1996 Olympics, an Atlanta lesbian bar, and a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic, pleaded innocent to the Alabama bombing on Tuesday. Rudolph made his plea before federal magistrate judge Michael Putnam for the bombing of New Woman All Women Health Care, where an off-duty police officer was killed and a nurse critically injured on January 29, 1998. He could face the death penalty, but assistant U.S. attorney Michael Whisonant gave no indication whether the government will seek such a sentence.
The judge asked Rudolph whether he understood the possible penalties, to which Rudolph replied, "I do, your honor." Putnam set a trial date of August 4 to comply with federal laws requiring a speedy trial but said it would likely be postponed because of pretrial proceedings. He scheduled a June 10 hearing on whether Rudolph can be released on bond.