Tags: Ashcroft: | All | McVeigh | Documents | Accounted | For

Ashcroft: All McVeigh Documents Accounted For

Thursday, 24 May 2001 12:00 AM

"The American people can have confidence that all documents have been identified and produced," Ashcroft said, "and that nothing in any of these documents undermines McVeigh's admission of the murder of 168 of his fellow American citizens. Nothing in these documents undermines the justice of his sentence."

Ashcroft said McVeigh would be executed as scheduled June 11.

On May 11, the attorney general delayed the execution from May 16 to June 11 after the FBI announced the discovery of about 3,100 documents that should have been turned over to McVeigh's defense team under a sweeping 1995 pretrial agreement with prosecutors.

The FBI said the documents were discovered despite 11 earlier computer sweeps looking for any stray documents.

In addition to the discovery of 3,100 documents and pieces of evidence announced earlier, Ashcroft said Thursday an additional 898 documents have been discovered through an exhaustive process that ended only a few hours before he spoke to reporters.

Ashcroft said after he issued a "worldwide alert" to the FBI last month, agents and bureau officials scoured every FBI office for information for 13 days.

"FBI Director Louis Freeh has certified to me that the FBI has completed its search and produced every relevant document in its possession," Ashcroft said. "Clearly, also at my request, every special agent in charge of every FBI office has certified that all documents pertaining to the McVeigh case have been produced by that special agent's office."

Ashcroft said the Justice Department has completed a report documenting "the FBI's comprehensive efforts over the last 13 days to identify any remaining documents. The report explains the content and nature of the newly produced documents, and outlines the efforts the department has made to allow McVeigh's attorneys a fair opportunity to review this material."

The attorney general said a complete report has been made available to McVeigh's attorneys, and an edited version - to comply with court orders protecting some evidence - is being made public. Ashcroft said there would be no new filing in Denver in the case, but the Justice Department would supply the court with the report if asked.

Ashcroft said some of the withheld material obviously wasn't central to the case. It included letters from psychics offering to communicate with those killed, and a swimsuit calendar sent in by a deranged man.

Ashcroft insisted that McVeigh's execution would not be further delayed. "The defense team has had ample time to review these documents" before McVeigh's execution in about two weeks, he said.

As to why the FBI failed to uncover thousands of documents, out of the untold millions produced in the investigation, Ashcroft said that question would have to be answered by a previously announced inspector general's probe.

McVeigh's attorneys have said they are consulting with their client, but have not received word on whether they should use the new material in an attempt to get him a new trial or delay the execution.

McVeigh, 33, was convicted of detonating a truck bomb next to the federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The bombing killed 168 men, women and children and injured hundreds more, but McVeigh was tried in federal court for only eight of the deaths, those of federal agents on duty at the time of the attack. Oklahoma did not prosecute for the other 160 deaths, given the federal death penalty sentence McVeigh received.

McVeigh was captured during a routine traffic stop shortly after.

McVeigh was convicted and sentenced to death in 1997 in Denver, where the federal trial had been moved to ensure fairness. He resides on federal death row in Terre Haute, Ind.

Terry Nichols was convicted in federal court of the lesser crime of conspiracy and sentenced to life in prison, but still faces a possible death sentence if convicted of state murder charges. Nichols has asked the Supreme Court to review his case and order a new trial in light of the newly discovered material.

If the U.S. Bureau of Prisons carries out McVeigh's lethal injection next month, it would be the first federal execution since 1963.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The American people can have confidence that all documents have been identified and produced, Ashcroft said, and that nothing in any of these documents undermines McVeigh's admission of the murder of 168 of his fellow American citizens. Nothing in these documents...
Thursday, 24 May 2001 12:00 AM
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