A Utah attorney believes federal authorities mistakenly suspected his brother of helping Timothy McVeigh carry out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and that documents and videos from the investigation will prove it.
Jesse Trentadue will appear in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City for the next three days on his Freedom of Information Act request, reports The Salt Lake City Tribune,
to back up his argument that a videotape shows two men getting out of the explosives-packed Ryder truck parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building the day of the deadly attack.
He claims in his lawsuit that the FBI did not search for all records in its possession, and demands to be allowed to search for the documentation himself in the agency's field offices in Oklahoma City and Los Angeles.
The FBI, though, says it has satisfied its obligation to search for the records, and that it has given Trentadue 200 pages of documents and 30 tapes. The agency also says that if the Salt Lake City trial judge determines the searches were not adequate, then it should be ordered to conduct the searches itself.
"I did not start out to solve the Oklahoma City bombing, I started out for justice for my brother's murder," Trentadue told The Associated Press.
"But along the way, every path I took, every lead I got, took me to the bombing."
Trentadue's brother, Kenneth, was found hanging from a noose in his federal prison cell in Oklahoma City a few months after the April 19, 1995, bombing. The 44-year-old convicted bank robber was being held on an alleged parole violation, and his death was ruled a suicide.
However, his family believes he was mistaken for the alleged bombing conspirator, designated John Doe No. 2, and that guards strangled him during his interrogation.
Trentadue says that the actual John Doe No. 2 was another man, Richard Lee Guthrie, also a bank robber, who resembled his brother. He said Guthrie had a similar dragon tattoo on his left arm, and drove the same kind of pickup truck.
Guthrie was arrested on bank robbery charges in 1996, and made a plea deal. Just a few months later, like Kenneth Trentadue, Guthrie was found hanged in his Kentucky jail cell, in a death also ruled a suicide.
Trentadue is seeking an original dashboard videotape from an Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer arresting McVeigh; surveillance tapes from buildings including the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the site of the attack, and all reports. He claims most of the materials already produced were irrelevant and the OHP videotape he got was edited.
Potential witnesses in the Salt Lake City bench trial include FBI agents and an investigator for McVeigh's legal defense team. Trentadue is representing himself, but may testify.
He said he believes someday "someone will come forward" as McVeigh's accomplice. "I may not be alive but I think someday the truth will come out."
McVeigh was executed in 2001 for the bombing, which killed 168 people and injured more than 800. His conspirator, Terry Nichols, is serving a life sentence at the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colo.
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