Ex-Leader of Suicide Group Vows to Fight Charges

The former president of the Georgia-based group at the center of a wide-ranging investigation into assisted suicide says he hopes his trial will be a test case validating the "right-to-die" movement.

Ted Goodwin tells The Associated Press he is "prepared to go forward and defend this vigorously." The comments are his first extensive remarks since his arrest last month.

Goodwin and three other members of the Final Exit Network are charged with assisted suicide, tampering with evidence and violating racketeering laws in the death of a 58-year-old man.

Goodwin says the group has helped guide just under 200 people to their deaths since it started in 2004. But he says the network never actively assisted suicide, instead offering people support in their final hours.