THERE WAS A TRIAL ALREADY
Way back in 1976 Steven Soliah (Sara’s brother) was acquitted of participating in the Carmichael bank hold up which resulted in the death of Myrna Opsahl. At the trial Soliah testified of Patty Hearst, "I lived with her. I slept with her. We had a close relationship….We felt very close to each other." Of the famous marked dollar bill from the bank robbery found in the apartment’s refrigerator (which we will be hearing about again no doubt) he testified, "I asked her what it was doing in the refrigerator." Still, he said that he had no knowledge of the bank robbery and had learned that when around Hearst and the SLA members he was helping "you don't ask questions." Soliah had admitted to the jury that his feelings of empathy toward Hearst and SLA members William and Emily Harris led him to help them by contributing 0 to 0 of his monthly earnings as a housepainter to them and their friends. He said he extended a helping hand because he didn't want to see Hearst and the Harrises end up like six other SLA members who were burned to death during a stand off with LA police. "I really don't know why I gave them any money. Maybe I shouldn't have, but I did. I told them I thought what they were doing was crazy. He added, "I didn't particularly care for the Harrises," but agreed to continue the aid "because of Patty." His lawyer said of the trial, "the jury realized that he was not the guy who stood in the bank as the government claimed, that the government knew he was not in the bank. That was what burned us up so much throughout the trial. The jury saw through all the smoke and the prejudicial matters." He added, ""This is one of those rare instances in our history where the jury system worked. It doesn't happen a lot. It doesn't happen for a lot of people."
Unlike the prosecutions’ friend Hearst who invoked the 5th Amendment 42 times in her bank robbery trial in San Francisco about her months in Sacramento, Soliah confidently answered every question of the defense and prosecuting attorneys.
Source: San Francisco Union (1976)
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