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Judges Considering Delay In Mcveigh Bombing Trial

Thu., March 27, 1997

Three federal appeals judges will review Timothy McVeigh’s requests to delay his trial and force the government to turn over evidence his lawyers say shows others were behind the Oklahoma City bombing.

The three judges from the Denverbased 10th U S. Circuit Court of Appeals could rule before Monday’s start of jury selection in McVeigh’s trial or decide later.

McVeigh’s lawyers Tuesday asked the appeals court to overrule U S. District Judge Richard Matsch, who is presiding over the Denver trial.

Matsch has turned down repeated defense requests that the government give it intelligence information about terrorism.

The defense contends the government has information showing that foreign and domestic terrorists were behind the Oklahoma City bombing and that McVeigh at most was a pawn in a plot masterminded by others.

Prosecutors say no such information exists.

On Wednesday, McVeigh’s lawyers again asked the appeals court to delay the trial, this time until a hearing can be held on the constitutionality of a new federal law allowing bombing victims to attend the trial and still testify at a sentencing phase following a conviction.

Eleventh-hour defense requests such as McVeigh’s are common in federal appeals courts.

Jury selection is expected to take several weeks. That gives the appellate judges time to decide the issues before the prosecution begins presenting evidence.

If McVeigh’s lawyers lose this round, they can appeal to the full 10th Circuit bench - the same judges who eventually would hear an appeal of any McVeigh conviction and death sentence.

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