In a setback for the prosecution, a federal judge Monday ordered the release of Michigan suspect James Douglas Nichols, who was being held as a possible witness in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.
Nichols, under indictment on grounds he conspired to make explosives on his farm with two others accused in the bombing, was freed on his personal recognizance after being held in custody for a month.
In freeing the 41-year-old Nichols, U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman said he found scant evidence of any connection with the Oklahoma case except for the involvement of Nichols’ younger brother, Terry, and their friend, Timothy J. McVeigh.
Borman, assessing the case against James Nichols, found that “there’s not one iota of evidence of dangerous acts toward others.” At he same time, he restricted Nichols’ travel and required him to wear an electronic device to monitor his whereabouts.
The judge’s sharp criticism of the government’s arguments for holding Nichols appeared to leave little hope that an appeal of the order would succeed.