ATTORNEY GENERAL STATEMENT REGARDING TIMOTHY MCVEIGH

ATTORNEY GENERAL STATEMENT REGARDING TIMOTHY MCVEIGH

“Thirteen days ago, I directed the Bureau of Prisons to

delay the scheduled execution of convicted mass murderer

Timothy McVeigh until June 11. I took this step because it is

my responsibility as Attorney General to promote and protect

the integrity of our system of justice.

“Timothy McVeigh was convicted by a jury of bombing the

Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995,

and sentenced to death. He has admitted to executing this

savage crime, the largest terrorist attack within the United

States in our history. Even today, he shows no remorse for

killing 168 innocent people, including 19 children, injuring

hundreds more, and shattering the lives of thousands of

Americans.

“His execution was not delayed because of any doubt that

he is guilty of this heinous crime, but because we must have a

system of justice that is above question. Our system of

justice requires fidelity to the rule of law to protect every

American’s constitutional rights. We must protect and sustain

public confidence in the administration of justice. In this

instance protecting that system of justice required turning

over approximately 3,100 pages of documents from the FBI that

should have been produced to McVeigh’s attorneys during the

original discovery period. Fair process dictated giving his

attorneys a reasonable opportunity to review the documents and

to consider their options. They have had those documents for

almost two weeks, and there are still more than two weeks

intervening between now and June 11.

“On Friday May 11, the same day I announced the one

month delay in the execution, I directed the Federal Bureau of

Investigation to issue a world-wide alert to all their

offices. This world-wide alert ordered every FBI office to

identify and produce any and all documents required under the

broad discovery agreement in the McVeigh case. Even though

11 previous searches had been done, I wanted the FBI to make a

final, thorough conclusive search to identify and produce any

other potentially relevant documents in this case. Justice

required that McVeigh’s defense attorneys have an opportunity

to review any documents that should have been produced — even

though they do not affect the outcome of this case. Our

system of justice demands nothing less.

“Today, the Department of Justice completed a report that

has been submitted to me documenting the FBI’s comprehensive

efforts over the last 13 days to identify any remaining

documents. The report explains the content and the 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. Today I am releasing the

complete report to the McVeigh attorneys and, consistent with

the district court’s protective orders, a redacted report to

the American public.

“As this report explains, the American people can have

confidence that all documents now have been identified and

produced, and that nothing in any of the documents undermines

McVeigh’s admission of the murder of 168 of his fellow

American citizens, or nothing in these documents undermines

the justice of his sentence.

“FBI Director Louis Freeh has certified to me that the

FBI has completed its search and produced every relevant

document in its possession. 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.

“Following the production of the new documents 13 days

ago and pursuant to Director Freeh’s final worldwide alert,

the FBI, working with federal prosecutors, engaged this

methodical process designed to find and identify any documents

that could have been – but were not – turned over during the

extraordinarily broad discovery process. Each FBI office was

searched exhaustively for any potentially relevant documents.

When such documents were identified by an office, they were

immediately sent to Oklahoma City for review. There, an FBI

team and attorneys, conducted a two-step review process.

First, the team determined whether any of the documents were

covered by the unusually broad discovery agreement. Most of

the documents were not.

“Additionally, the smaller group of documents that were

covered under the agreement were reviewed against the OKBOMB

computer databases to determine whether each document already

had been produced or made available during discovery. Again,

the overwhelming majority of documents reviewed had already

been turned over during discovery.

“Under this process over the last nine days, we have

identified and produced to the defense 898 additional pages of

documents. These include 103 pages of Baltimore documents

produced on May 15; 327 pages of Denver documents produced on

May 18; 405 pages of documents from various offices produced

on May 23; and 63 pages of Oklahoma City documents produced

today. These items were sent to the Denver operation

immediately upon discovery, where the prosecution produced

them to defense counsel as they were processed. The defense

team has had ample time to review these documents.

“I would like to make two points. First, we are talking

about a relatively small amount of information, particularly

in comparison to the incredible volume of documents produced

in this case. This particular investigation produced millions

of records, including millions of pages of hotel, motel or

phone records, over 238,000 photographs, over 28,000 reports

of interviews and more than 23,000 pieces of evidence. The

new documents represent only a small fraction of one percent

of the total number of produced documents in this case.

“Second, and more importantly, it is essential that

people understand the substance of the material we are talking

about. All of these newly-produced documents have been

reviewed by attorneys familiar with the case. This

item-by-item review has revealed that none, none of these new

documents raises any doubt about the proven and admitted guilt

of Timothy McVeigh. Indeed, the review reveals that most of

the documents have little or no evidentiary value, and that

much of the information was disclosed to the defense through

other documents that were already produced in the discovery

process.

“While the court’s protective order prevents us from

publicly releasing the documents or describing them in detail,

I thought it would be useful to share a few generalized

descriptions of the types of documents that were belatedly

produced.

“For example, a lengthy collection of newspaper and

magazine clippings, including photos from a swimsuit calendar,

was received from a person under psychiatric care, received in

one of our offices and not forwarded initially. Most of these

clippings did not pertain to the bombing.

“Another example is a long, handwritten letter offering

unspecified information in return for an enormous cash reward,

in return for release of someone from prison, and in return

for a trip to Europe to meet with royalty.

“Other documents include various letters involving

information about non-physical beings and offers by psychics

to contact the dead victims for information about the bombing.

“Now, in addition to these kinds of documents, some of

the new items involve nothing more than information about

service of a subpoena or receipt of records, and are only

discoverable because an agent happened to document the

information in an FBI-302 interview report or insert, which by

definition, according to the trial agreement, made it

discoverable.

“There also are photographs, fingerprint cards, and

criminal history reports involving persons who ultimately

turned out to have no connection whatsoever to the case. Many

documents concern investigations into whether other persons –

in addition to or instead of McVeigh and Nichols- were

involved in the bombing, a fact that McVeigh himself denies.

While thousands of leads were pursued in this endeavor,

nothing in any of the documents links anyone else to this

bombing.

“Let me summarize this report’s findings. No document

creates any doubt of McVeigh’s guilt let alone establishes his

innocence – which is the legal standard an appeal must

overcome. Most of the documents could not have qualified as

evidence.

“Finally, the quanitity of documents is minuscule

compared to the number of documents already provided to

McVeigh’s lawyers.

“I delayed this execution by a month to give McVeigh’s

lawyers sufficient time to exercise his legal rights. I will

not delay the sentence of a confessed mass murderer- I will

not delay his sentence further on the basis of documents

which cast no doubt about his guilt.

“We reviewed these documents carefully, we wrote a

thorough report, and we are prepared to defend McVeigh’s

conviction and the sentence that has been imposed. The

lawyers in the Department of Justice have already had the time

to prepare to defend the interests of the United States in

this case, and have done so while reviewing large volumes of

material that has been irrelevant. We are prepared, we have

had ample time to prepare, and we believe this demonstrates

clearly, that the defense team has had ample time to defend

Mr. McVeigh. The first delay in this case was necessary for

this review by lawyers for the defense and the prosecution; a

second delay of this case would ignore this evidence and the

facts of the case.

“We also need to be sensitive to the victims of this

ruthless attack. Throughout this legal process, we’ve been

keenly mindful of the pain that careful judicial proceedings

sometimes cause victims to endure. I again extend my sympathy

again to the victims of this assault and the assault on

America and I will not add to their pain.

“To have proceeded on the initial execution date would

have discredited the fairness and completeness which due

process demands and deserves. Failure to carry out the

sentence after such thorough and careful compliance has been

achieved would thwart justice and deny victims’ closure and

would discredit our judicial system.

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