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  She's 'scared' by impact of her allegation - Says Mumia judge made a racist remark
Front Page - Philadelphia Daily News - 4 Sept 2001; By Theresa Conroy

After nearly 20 years of having her claims ignored, Terri Maurer-Carter was startled - and frightened - to find herself at the center of the world's most controversial death-penalty case.

"I am pretty scared," Maurer-Carter admitted last week. "It was one thing when I was talking and nobody was listening. Now that people are listening..."

Now that people are listening to her allegations that she overheard a racist comment from Mumia Abu-Jamal's judge, the 42-year-old Wilmington mother and anti-death-penalty activist is preparing to become a player in this highly charged debate over two men's lives.

To thousands of Abu-Jamal supporters, she will be a hero for providing further proof that the former radio reporter was not given a fair trial for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

But to those who want to put the former radio reporter to death for Faulkner's murder, Maurer-Carter is likely to become a villain - probably even called a liar - who has attended Abu-Jamal rallies.

Maurer-Carter has added just one sentence to Abu-Jamal's legal battle to obtain a new trial. But those eight words, allegedly uttered about Abu-Jamal by Common Pleas Judge Albert Sabo, are explosive and disturbing:

"Yeah, and I'm gonna help 'em fry the n-----."

Maurer-Carter said she heard Sabo say this to someone she did not know after accidentally walking through the judge's courtroom chambers around the time of Abu-Jamal's trial.

Sabo, who is retired, vehemently denied the allegations last week.

"I never said anything like that. Never said anything like that," he said.

It is unknown whether Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham will investigate Maurer-Carter's claim because Abraham's spokeswoman did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

Maurer-Carter, a former court stenographer for another Philadelphia judge, detailed the charge for the first time last week in an interview with the
Daily News. She said she was not sure exactly when the incident took place, but has narrowed it down to the spring or summer of 1982.

Abu-Jamal's trial opened June 17 and ended with a death sentence on July 3. Sabo did not preside over the earlier pre-trial hearings.

"I don't know when it was. This is what I explained [to Abu-Jamal's lawyers] over and over," Maurer-Carter said. "The only thing about it that stuck out to me was it was the first time I heard a judge say something like that."

Maurer-Carter had been working in City Hall for only a few months when - trying to find her new courtroom assignment - she stumbled upon the alleged conversation.

"I wasn't trying to listen to what he was saying," she said, explaining that she tuned in to the snippet about the murder at 13th and Locust streets because she lived just two blocks away.

"I perked up my ears," she said. "Then, when I heard what he said right before I walked out of the room I said, 'My God, he's not supposed to be
saying that.' "

If she had realized at the time that her statement someday would be part of Abu-Jamal's voluminous appeals, "I would have paid attention more," she said.

"I should have pursued it in the beginning," she said.

Maurer-Carter insisted, however, that she has not been silent for 19 years. She has - at the time and since - repeated the story to plenty of colleagues and lawyers in City Hall.

They all ignored her, she said.

"The people most immediate to me, I spoke to," she said. '. . .I said it to many people. I'm not going to say names of who I've told. I don't have an
agenda other than the truth. My honest-to-God hope is that some of these people come forward and say, 'Yeah, she told me.' I don't think they will,
but they might."

In spite of telling so many people, Maurer-Carter's experience did not come to the attention of Abu-Jamal's attorneys until this summer, when Maurer-Carter phoned supporters of Abu-Jamal to find out more about the case. She told the story about Sabo to a woman on the phone, who she said passed the tale along to Abu-Jamal's new defense attorneys.

The attorneys called Maurer-Carter several weeks ago and asked her to sign an affidavit and make an audio tape of her statement. The lawyers filed the affidavit in state and federal courts.

Before going public, Maurer-Carter talked with her old colleagues, she said.

"I've gone to most of them and said, 'I'm going forward, how do you feel?' " she said. "They all said, 'Please, don't.' "

Maurer-Carter said she would testify under oath if Abu-Jamal is granted an evidentiary hearing on his appeal. If that happens, the credibility of her
allegations against Sabo surely will be weighed against her involvement in the "Free Mumia" movement.

In the course of protesting the death penalty, she said, she has attended Abu-Jamal demonstrations.

"I have been to many rallies," she said. "I am a contact for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. I have gone to them. I have listened to what was said. I have been in their presence. I have walked along and listened.

"Have I been part of the protest? I've raised whether there is a reasonable doubt. I don't support Mumia's innocence or guilt. I will say a reasonable doubt was raised. I think he should get a new trial."

 Philadelphia Daily News
by Theresa Conroy

Declaration of Terri Maurer-Carter
Statement released at the press conference 28 Aug 2001 by Mumia's attorneys.

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