Alleged serial bomber Eric Rudolph asks court to throw out federal death penalty 2, 2004

Birmingham, Ala. -- Eric Rudolph's lawyers are asking a judge to disallow the federal death penalty if he is convicted in a deadly abortion clinic bombing.

In court papers released Tuesday, the defense argued that the federal death penalty is cruel and unusual and is imposed arbitrarily.

"Being sentenced to death in the federal system is truly akin to being struck by lightning," Rudolph's lawyers said.

U.S. Attorney Alice Martin declined to comment.

Rudolph is set to stand trial Aug. 2 for a bombing that killed an off-duty policeman and critically wounded a nurse at a Birmingham clinic in 1998.

He also is charged with the bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics that killed a woman and injured dozens of others, and with two 1997 attacks in Atlanta.

Rudolph was captured in North Carolina in May after a five-year manhunt.

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