updated 4/11/2005 9:41:33 PM ET 2005-04-12T01:41:33

As federal court officials in Alabama and Georgia were hooking up closed-circuit televisions and setting aside space for the dozens of victims expected to show up when Eric Rudolph pleads guilty Wednesday in the deadly Olympic bombing and three other attacks, federal sources told the Associated Press that Rudolph stashed dynamite near a building that government agents used as a headquarters during the huge manhunt for him.

Whether the public will learn exactly why the anti-government extremist pulled off the attacks that killed two people and injured more than 120 is unclear.

“To an extent, the Olympics may have reflected a view, albeit a paranoid one, that we were moving to a world government or a new world order,” said Kent Alexander, who was U.S. attorney when the Atlanta Games were bombed in 1996. “The only one who knows is Eric Rudolph, and maybe we’ll hear from him on Wednesday.”

Calls to two of Rudolph’s lawyers were not immediately returned Monday.

Rudolph is scheduled to appear in federal court in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday to plead guilty to carrying out a 1998 bombing at a Birmingham abortion clinic that killed an off-duty police officer and critically wounded a nurse.

From Birmingham to Atlanta
After that hearing, U.S. marshals will move Rudolph to federal court in Atlanta, where he is expected to plead guilty in the Olympic bombing and two blasts in 1997 at a gay nightclub and an abortion clinic in the Atlanta area.

Haraz Ghanbari  /  AP file
Eric Rudolph leaves a federal courthouse in Huntsville, Ala., in this June 2004 photograph.
The plea bargain allows Rudolph to escape the death penalty. It calls for four consecutive life sentences without parole. No sentencing date has been set.

In Atlanta, a closed-circuit video feed will be run from a 23rd-floor courtroom to a courtroom down the hall. The two courtrooms hold about 300 people, and every seat is expected to be filled with victims, lawyers, law enforcement personnel and reporters, said court executive John Shope.

The court is not allowing cameras or electronic devices of any kind in either Atlanta courtroom. Victims will probably not be given a chance to make statements until sentencing.

In Birmingham, Rudolph will enter his guilty plea in an eighth-floor courtroom that seats about 100. About 180 more people will be able to watch in a ground-floor juror assembly room through a closed-circuit television feed.

Federal prosecutors began sending out letters to victims on Friday and contacted some by phone.

Dynamite near armory used as headquarters
Agents believe that while he was a fugitive, Rudolph left a large stash of dynamite near a National Guard armory that served as a temporary base for agents during the search for Rudolph near Murphy, N.C., a federal official said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The exact proximity of the explosives to the armory is not known, but the official said the cache was close enough to the building to have caused damage had it exploded.

Another federal source said bomb components were found buried near the armory — located near woods about two miles outside of Murphy — but officials weren’t sure how long they had been in the ground. The device “wasn’t operational,” but contained all the pieces of a bomb, the source said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

Rudolph revealed several stashes containing about 250 pounds of dynamite in all as he agreed to plead guilty to fatal bombings at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and a Birmingham abortion clinic, the Justice Department announced last week.

The government said dynamite was found in three areas relatively near populated areas, including one spot where Rudolph had buried a fully constructed bomb that had the detonator detached. All the dynamite was destroyed in a series of controlled explosions last week, officials said.

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