Eric Rudolph

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Amid tight security, a federal judge approved a plan Wednesday to try serial bombing suspect Eric Rudolph in Birmingham. Jurors will be picked from throughout north Alabama, instead of just the Birmingham area.

U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith approved the joint proposal that had been agreed to by defense attorneys and federal prosecutors.

The decision brought a quick end to a hearing on a defense motion to move Rudolph's trial out of Birmingham. Wearing a bulletproof vest, Rudolph arrived in court Wednesday morning for what was expected to be two days of arguments.

Streets were blocked off around the courthouse and scores of officers were visible, along with bomb-detection dogs.

Attorneys for Rudolph had asked Smith to move the trial out of north Alabama partly because of years of publicity about the 1998 bombing of a Birmingham abortion clinic and Rudolph's disappearance into North Carolina mountains.

Rudolph's trial is scheduled to start August second. Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.