Gee, imagine this....(McVeigh) : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

So it seems the FBI held back evidence again. Gosh, whooda thunk it could happen here?

Friday May 11 6:47 AM ET McVeigh Lawyers Study New Papers Ahead of Execution

By Judith Crosson

DENVER (Reuters) - Attorneys for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh (news - web sites) on Friday were sifting through hundreds of documents the U.S. government said the FBI (news - web sites) did not provide to the defense, as the possibility loomed his scheduled execution next week would be halted.

The strange turn of events was set into motion on Thursday when the FBI handed over the documents to McVeigh's defense team, casting doubt over whether the execution by lethal injection would take place next Wednesday in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, and shocking victims of the blast.

The planned execution has put the international spotlight on America's use of the death penalty, and the latest disclosure was sure to raise the temperature in this already heated debate.

The Justice Department (news - web sites) said the government considered the documents would have ``no bearing'' on McVeigh's conviction for the April 1995 bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds of others in what has been called the most heinous act of terrorism on U.S. soil.

But McVeigh's attorneys said they were shocked the material would show up so close to the execution date and were considering whether to ask for a stay of execution.

``We're considering all the options,'' McVeigh's Denver-based attorney Nathan Chambers told reporters. Other options include requesting a new trial, although seeking a stay of execution would likely be the first order of business, lawyers who follow the case said.


While McVeigh's attorneys were scrambling to review the police interviews, photographs, written correspondence and tapes not provided during the discovery phase of the trial, nobody was expecting McVeigh to walk out of prison a free man.

In fact, his lawyers could only try to stop the execution if the 33-year-old former soldier wanted it stopped, legal analysts said.

``All roads run through Terre Haute,'' said Scott Robinson, a Denver attorney who followed McVeigh's 1997 trial in Denver. In December, McVeigh halted all his appeals and asked the court to set an execution date.

Robinson said a lot depended on what was contained in the new information. If it showed others identified as the bomber, it could go to a question of McVeigh's guilt.

But prosecutors could also point to McVeigh's reported confession of the bombing and his chilling referral in an interview to the deaths of 19 children in the blast as ''collateral damage,'' Robinson said.

But Robinson said a court would be hard-pressed to turn down a stay of execution now that the new documents had surfaced.

``McVeigh, the man on death row, now controls in many ways his own immediate fate. And the government which did so much to take that control away from him has intentionally or negligently given it right back to him,'' CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen said.

A May 9 letter written by Justice Department attorney Sean Connelly to McVeigh's lawyers said the documents were discovered after an FBI archivist put out a request for all the material related to the case.

McVeigh was informed about the new documents, his lawyer said.


Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating said reaction in Oklahoma City to the latest development in the McVeigh case was one of ''stunned disbelief.''

``Obviously, until we know why they weren't turned over, there is a big question mark over this whole proceeding, and that obviously causes all of us in this state, at least, real concern,'' the Republican governor said in a CNN interview.

People who lost relatives when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building blew up were beside themselves.

``I guarantee you, if this boy walks, some heads are going to roll,'' said Kathleen Treanor, whose daughter, Ashley Eckles, was one of the children killed in the building's day care center.

Justice Department spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said, ``While the department is confident the documents do not in any way create any reasonable doubt about McVeigh's guilt and do not contradict his repeated confessions of guilt, the department is concerned that McVeigh's attorneys were not able to review them at the appropriate time.''

The documents were also delivered to the attorney for Terry Nichols, McVeigh's former army buddy who is now serving a life sentence for planning the bombing.

``It's deeply disturbing that such a substantial amount of information that we were clearly entitled to and which the government admits should have been disclosed at the trial was not,'' attorney John Richilano said.

-- Doreen (, May 11, 2001


The morning talk show host in Dallas I sometimes listen to is busy trying to do damage control for the government, but it isn't doing too well. He is trying to tell everyone that the withholding of the information is just "an oversight caused by trying to convert from paper to digital information". Yeah, right. The information was from many different offices and was "overlooked" in the biggest FBI investigation since the Kennedy asassination. McVeigh wasn't just a little no name somebody they happened to have a box of info on. It seems to me to be a matter of intentionally withholding information. The confessions do not matter. The whole incident needs to be investigated further and killing off one of the main players in the crime is counter productive to the investigation. What the media is trying hard to not mention is the fact that the information can to light because a group of the survivors of OKC did their own investigation and filed their own freedom of information lawsuits to bring the 1000 boxes of documents out in the open. Ahhhh--the things conspiracy theories are fed from. You would have thought that after years of people still speculating on what really happened at Dallas when Kennedy was killed that the federales would have learned to be more forthcoming with evidence in high profile cases.

-- Green (, May 11, 2001.

Not all that much of a surprise that the FBI/Fed ****** up again...

Its unfortunate, but its all too common. Gotta love the timing - at least they didn't wait till Tuesday!!!

Legally - there HAS to be a stay of execution, but I thought that in 'normal' circumstances ANY incident like this was grounds for a mis-trial... Don't know - probably wrong. At least they aren't completely raping the Constitution at the moment! (Still rooting for Reno to go first, lol)

-- Sue Diederich (, May 11, 2001.

This is the main reason why I do not support the death penalty. It's not that I don't believe that folks should be punished for their crimes, I just don't trust the government to carry out the punishment in a fair manner. At least this case is a little more clear-cut because McVeigh has as much as confessed to the bombing. But what about all those who go to the death chamber still protesting their innocence?

-- Sherri C (, May 11, 2001.

This entire thing is suspect. I really don't want to go into a pro/con death penalty discussion over this, but rather I'd like to focus on the FACT that the Fedral government seems to think they are extra legal and why is it that most Americans just sit and scrath their heads and wait for the next sitcom when it could be someone they know or themselves the next time the Fed decides they need to operate a scenario to see how we react...that astonishes me.

I have been really busy and don't know what's been going on in mainstream media regarding this. If they don't stay the execution there MUST be complete outrage. NOT because I think McVeigh is lilly white innocent, but because it's everyone's rights at stake.

BTW, nice to have your input, Sherri!

-- Doreeen (, May 11, 2001.

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