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FBI says arrested Florida man was close to bombing clinics

Thursday, November 13, 2003

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- A man suspected of plotting to bomb abortion clinics was arrested after coming "perilously close to carrying out his plans," the FBI said.

Stephen John Jordi, 35, was in the final stages of planning imminent attacks on abortion clinics north of Miami-Dade County, U.S. Attorney Marcos Jimenez said. The prosecutor did not say exactly how far along the plot was, and would not identify the clinics.

Jordi was charged with solicitation to commit a crime of violence, distribution of information relating to making and using explosives for arson, and possession of an unregistered firearm or destructive device.

He was arrested Tuesday after agents arranged a meeting aboard a boat, FBI spokeswoman Beverly Esselbach said. Jordi jumped overboard and was pulled from the ocean by the Coast Guard a half-hour later, she said.

Jordi admired Paul Hill, who was executed Sept. 3 for killing an abortion doctor and his bodyguard outside a Pensacola clinic in 1994, Jimenez said. Jordi also praised Eric Rudolph, who is charged with the Olympic bombing in Atlanta and three abortion clinic bombings, Jimenez said.

"This is a dangerous person who has now been taken off the streets," the prosecutor said.

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force had been investigating Jordi since August.

Esselbach said Jordi's Coconut Creek house was searched late Tuesday, but she would not comment Wednesday on what was found.

Jordi's brother, Michael Jordi, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he informed the FBI of his brother's plot after learning about it in July. He said they have a poor relationship.

"He's always been weird, not mentally stable," said Michael Jordi, a Bridgeport, Ala., resident. "He's stupid enough to do it."

But Dwight Ward, Stephen Jordi's brother-in-law, said: "I would not put him as a violent person. He's a very outgoing person. He'll stress his point and his views."

It could not be immediately determined if Jordi has an attorney.

A woman who answered the phone at Jordi's address Wednesday had no comment on the arrest.

Hill was the first person put to death in the United States for anti-abortion violence, and abortion rights activists warned that his execution could lead to reprisals from extremists.

Mona Reis, director of Presidential Women's Center in West Palm Beach, said clinics have been on heightened alert since Hill's execution.

This fall also represents the five-year anniversary of the shooting death of Dr. Barnett Slepian by an anti-abortion activist in suburban Buffalo, N.Y.


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