Judge Michael D’Amico ruled yesterday that witnesses in the James Kopp murder trial would receive a protective order to conceal their identities, according to the Associated Press. James Kopp, an anti-abortion extremist, is accused of murdering obstetrician and gynecologist Barnett Slepian in 1998. The protective order is designed to preclude any harassment of witnesses due to the enormous amount of publicity surrounding Kopp’s capture and extradition from France.
Kopp pleaded not guilty to a state charge of second-degree murder and federal charges of using a firearm to commit a violent crime and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), which prohibits either using or threatening force to block access to reproductive health clinics. Kopp’s federal trial is expected to begin late next year after his state trial concludes.