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Preparing for Federal Trial of Anti-Abortion Extremist

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The federal trial of anti-abortion extremist James Kopp is to begin next month. Kopp is already serving 25-years to life in prison for the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian.

But now he faces federal charges. A number of pre-trial motions were argued in court Monday. With jury selection slated to begin January 3rd, federal Judge Richard Arcara must now rule on a number of motions.

Monday's arguments offered a glimpse of how each side could present its case. Lead prosecutor Kathleen Mehltretter revealed that they plan to show at least two of 18 autopsy photos that reveal Slepain's gunshot wounds and some crime scene photos. Mehltretter says she also plans to call two emergency room doctors, who treated Slepian the night he was shot, to testify about his wounds.

But Kopp argued that the only doctor who should testify is the one who performed the autopsy.

The government needs to prove Kopp violated the Freedom of Access to Clinics Act, even though Slepian was murdered in his home. Prosecutors say they will argue that the shooting was to prevent Slepian from providing reproductive health services. Kopp is expected to promote his anti-abortion views at his trial.

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