BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Suspected Olympic park bomber Eric Rudolph (search) on Monday was flown to Alabama in handcuffs to be tried first for a deadly bombing at an abortion clinic in Birmingham.
Wearing an orange inmate jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled, 36-year-old Rudolph had no comment as he was led into the county jail.
He appeared in federal court Monday morning in Asheville, N.C., acknowledging his identity but entering no plea. He was then put aboard a government plane headed to Alabama.
Rudolph, a former soldier and survivalist, is charged in four bombings, three in Atlanta (search) and one in Alabama, and could get the death penalty.
Afterward his North Carolina attorney, Sean Devereux, said Rudolph was innocent.
Devereux met with Rudolph on Sunday and again on Monday, and said they did not talk about what Rudolph had been doing while on the run. He said Rudolph, who is believed to have been a member of a white supremacist religion, seemed to be a "reflective individual."
"If I didn't know what I know about this case and having spent about two hours with him, I would never believe that he would hold any kind of radical beliefs," he told reporters.
He also said Rudolph told police the location of his campsite in western North Carolina, where he is believed to have hidden for the past five years before he was captured Saturday while scavenging for food behind a supermarket.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said in Washington that Rudolph will be tried first in Birmingham, where the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic (search) was bombed in 1998, and then in Atlanta, site of the 1996 Olympic bombing and two other blasts linked to Rudolph.
"It's really the Birmingham case that broke things open," said Doug Jones, who was U.S. attorney in Birmingham at the time.
Evidence gathered after the Birmingham bombing on Jan. 29, 1998, led to Rudolph being identified as the lone suspect in all the blasts, which killed two people and injured more than 150.
A witness saw a man believed to be Rudolph leaving the scene of the Birmingham bombing, which killed an off-duty police officer and critically injured a clinic nurse. A truck registered to Rudolph was spotted moments later.
In the days after the Birmingham bombing, agents searching a storage locker rented by Rudolph found nails like those used to bomb the clinic and an Atlanta building that housed an abortion clinic.
Authorities said the bombs had similarities that also linked them to the Olympic blast, which killed one person and injured dozens, and the bombing of a lesbian bar in Atlanta.
Ashcroft said having Rudolph tried first in Alabama and then Georgia will "provide the best opportunity to bring justice to all of the victims of the bombings and to each community that experienced these attacks." He predicted the Alabama trial would be "relatively short and straightforward."
"I think the Birmingham case is easier to prove," said Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl, noting that there is a key eyewitness in that case and solid evidence showing that Rudolph was the bomber.
"They get this case done, then they roll into the Atlanta case, which will be a more difficult case," Wiehl added.
She questioned whether a second huge public trial in Atlanta will be necessary if a Birmingham jury sentences Rudolph to death.
David Luker, who said he will represent Rudolph in Alabama, met with him at the jail but declined comment on whether the bombing suspect maintained his innocence.
Rudolph had been on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list, and the government had offered a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture.
Rudolph will await trial at the Jefferson County Jail, where he will have access to a telephone, television and table but will not be allowed contact with other prisoners because of the high-profile nature of his case, said sheriff's Deputy Randy Christian.
"He will be held in isolation with 24-hour video surveillance. We will personally check him every 15 minutes," Christian said.
The courtroom audience in North Carolina included Felecia Sanderson, whose police officer husband, Robert "Sande" Sanderson, was killed by the explosion in Birmingham. She had no comment.
Deborah Rudolph, his former sister-in-law who helped develop a profile for investigators, told ABC's Good Morning America that Rudolph opposed abortion because he believed it was killing too many white babies.
"I think he hated the Jews more than probably any other race," she said. He believed that "they've destroyed every country they've ever been in, they have too much control in our country."
A law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity said Monday that investigators were making progress in figuring out how Rudolph stayed alive and in such good health. Authorities want to know if the former fugitive got any help from residents.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.