Ashcroft announces Rudolph venue

United States Attorney General John Ashcroft says serial bombing suspect Eric Rudolph will face trial first in Birmingham, Alabama, then in Atlanta.

Ashcroft says the decision provides the best opportunity to bring justice to all of the victims of the bombings and to each community that experienced the attacks.

When the Alabama trial is over, Ashcroft says Rudolph will be transferred to the United States Northern District of Georgia to face charges in three other bombings, including the attack at the 1996 summer Olympics.

Rudolph, who has been a fugitive the past five years, was taken this morning to Asheville on a National Guard helicopter for his first appearance in federal court. He was captured Saturday near Murphy, North Carolina scavenging near a trash bin for food behind a supermarket.

Rudolph faces six charges of using an explosive against a facility in interstate commerce. That includes a fatal bombing at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1998.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)