Lawyers for Woman Who Reported Alleged Threat Go on Talk Shows

AP Wire Service

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. (AP) – Lawyers for a Georgia woman whose report of what she thought was a terrorist threat thrust her into the national limelight have reversed their position of trying to let the story die.

The attorneys for Eunice Stone are talking to the media, although she wishes to remain in the background.

Stone’s report to authorities that she heard three men discussing a possible terrorist attack at a Shoney’s restaurant in northwest Georgia last week led to the 17-hour shutdown of Interstate 75 across South Florida and the detention of three medical students who were later released.

Stone was hospitalized Monday with chest pains, which one of her lawyers, Mike Prieto of Cartersville, said might have been brought on by the stress of the weekend’s developments.

On Sunday, Stone and her lawyers said at a news conference that the story was over and she would have nothing to add to the debate over whether or not she did the right thing.

But Prieto appeared on “Larry King Live” Monday night on CNN from the network’s Atlanta office. The three men involved also appeared on the show, joining King in the Washington, D.C., studio.

Prieto was to board a plane to New York and appear on national news shows Tuesday morning, said Prieto’s partner, Anthony Perrotta.

“We’ve been told they’re getting ready to sue her, so we have to do a 180-degree turnaround,” Perrotta said. He said if the three men “are going to start going on all the talk shows, we have no choice but to get down in there with them and tell our side of the story.”

Stone was not expected to make any more appearances in front of the media, Perrotta said.

“She absolutely does not want to go on any more talk shows,” Perrotta said. “She complained about the stress of the whole thing, but she hadn’t complained about anything else to me.”

Jennifer Wiggins, a spokesman for Emory Cartersville Medical Center, acknowledged Stone, 44, was a patient at the hospital.

Prieto, on “Larry King Live,” said Stone was released from the hospital Monday night.

The three men, Kambiz Butt, 25, Ayman Gheith, 27, and Omar Choudhary, 23, said they want to continue their education in the United States. Officials of a Miami hospital where they were supposed to train said they could not study there because their presence might be too disruptive _ or dangerous _ to patients.

The three denied saying anything about Sept. 11 or about bomb threats, even in a joking manner.

Prieto defended Stone’s actions on the CNN show.

“Unfortunately, they failed to do the most important thing and that is to take responsibility for their actions,” Prieto told King. “She said they were laughing about Sept. 11 and talking about Sept. 13, there is no mistake, whatsoever. She did exactly what we would ask all citizens to do but today she’s being penalized for it. We have no reason to believe they are terrorists, but they need to take responsibility of their actions.”