Prosecutors Oppose Delay in McVeigh Execution
In a brief filed today in the U.S. District Court in Denver, prosecutors rejected the defense team’s claim that recently released FBI documents could have affected the outcome of McVeigh’s trial.
“Timothy McVeigh does not and could not suggest he is actually innocent of the charges of which the jury convicted him,” prosecutor Sean Connelly wrote. “He does not and could not suggest the death penalty is unwarranted for his exceptionally aggravated crimes.”
Judge Richard Matsch has scheduled a hearing on the matter for Wednesday.
McVeigh’s lawyers announced last week they would seek a delay of the execution as well as a hearing to look into charges the government is still withholding documents that could be important to McVeigh’s case.
Previously unreleased documents from the Oklahoma City case, including notes and transcripts from interviews, were found at various FBI offices last month. Ashcroft then delayed McVeigh’s execution, originally scheduled for May 16, to give defense attorneys time to review the documents.
In testimony before Congress, FBI Director Louis Freeh admitted that not turning over the documents promptly was a “serious error” on the agency’s part.
Ashcroft announced May 24 that all documents in the Oklahoma City case had been located and turned over to McVeigh’s defense team.
McVeigh was convicted in 1997 of planning and executing the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.
Supreme Court delays Nichols appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court today decided to delay a ruling on Terry Nichols’ request for a new trial for his alleged part in the Oklahoma City bombing case.
The court said the government must first respond to Nichols’ charges that mishandling of evidence in the Timothy McVeigh case affected the outcome of his trial.
The court has asked the Justice Department to respond to those questions, but did not address allegations the FBI deliberately withheld information from both federal prosecutors and the defense teams.
Nichols was sentenced to life in prison in 1997 after he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy for assisting McVeigh in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building.