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John Walker Lindh Denied Bail

Aired February 6, 2002 - 10:54   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to come back to George Tenet in a moment.

Susan Candiotti outside the courtroom there in Alexandria, Virginia. Developments, as you have been seeing, on the bottom of our screen there.

John Walker Lindh denied bail. This was anticipated in many circles across the country.

Here's Susan with details now what happened inside that courtroom -- Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi, Bill. It is an not unexpected decision on a part of the judge this day, but he has, in fact, denied any bond or pretrial release for John walker Lindh prior to his trial. And his next appearance in court will be Monday. This after a hearing that lasted about an hour with a spirited offering by both the government and the attorneys representing John Walker Lindh, who was in court this day. His patients also sitting in the front row. John Walker Lindh made no comment, but listened intently to the arguments that were presented, and said nothing when he walked out of the court as well.

Key to what the judge said was this, that all of the evidence presented so far -- presenting probable cause on the part of the government belies the argument by the defense that John Walker Lindh is a loyal American. Those are the words of the judge. And, in fact, he said that the family ties that the -- that his parents are talking about, that he would not flee, and is not a danger to the community, he said, the judge said, that these are not the family ties that he can, in effect, rely upon.

All of this came after some very interesting and brand-new evidence was presented by the government this day in a filing that happened late in the day yesterday, that included a number of e-mails sent by John Walker Lindh to his parents over the last couple of years. And I'm going to refer to quotes from just a couple of them that were indeed apparently very damaging to his contention that he should be freed pending trial.

Give me a moment. I'll pull that out.

But while I'm saying that, his attorneys argue that he is not a dangerous person, hat he was not, -- in fact, that the government presented no evidence that he was fighting against U.S. citizens or the U.S. military in Afghanistan, but only against the Northern Alliance, which had been, the defense pointed out, a former enemy of the U.S. government.

However, according to the government, quote -- "John Walker Lindh is a committed terrorist. He walked the walk and he talked the talk."

And one of the e-mails he sent according to the government back on February 8th of 2001, he said to his parents, "I don't really want to see America again."

And so there were e-mails like these that presented before the court that helped make the decision -- that helped the judge decide, rather, that John Walker Lindh should be held without bail -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Susan, thank you.

And if you want to quickly file through that notebook, I know the e-mails have been quite incriminating. I will give you a moment to find those. I know oftentimes when you get circumstances inside a courtroom, I know you are just writing and writing, and sometimes it certainly adds up, and, Susan, if you got them, just go ahead and relay to our viewers. If not, we'll head back in and check in with the CIA director.

CANDIOTTI: I got it, Bill.

HEMMER: Go for it, Susan.

CANDIOTTI: All right, thank you.

Among the government's filing they said that when John Walker Lindh was initially interviewed by the U.S. Military after his capture, he told them -- quote -- "He wanted to be a martyr," and he added that after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, he told the U.S. military -- quote -- "He was ordered to dig bunkers and trenches because the American bombers would soon be arriving."

And when questioned further about the attacks by the -- on the U.S. military he stated -- quote -- on the USS Cole, for example, a few years ago. John Walker Lindh quoted, that he stated "Incidents like these happen in war."

Now the government also said -- defending his treatment of John Walker Lindh while in custody. You will recall the defense has said he was blindfolded, he was taped using duct-taped to a stretcher, and he received very little medical treatment and food. Well, the government said in its filing, he received three MREs, meals ready to eat, a day that he receive medicine painkillers and antibiotics and -- quote -- "even a tetanus shot," defending their treatment to him.

They also referenced another e-mail to his mother that was sent, the government says, back on February 15th of the year 2000 in which he is urging his mother to move to England and away from California. In that e-mail, he states -- quote -- "I really don't know what you're big attachment to America is all about." Quoting still, "What has America done for anybody?"

And in one more e-mail, Bill, dated December 3rd of the year 2001, according to the government, and he refers to President Bush as "your new president" -- quote -- "I'm glad he's not mine." These are examples of just a few of the e-mails that the government is citing in trying to make the argument that John Walker Lindh is not a loyal American.

HEMMER: Susan, thank you.

Thanks for hanging in there, too. Susan Candiotti in Alexandria, Virginia.

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