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Monday, June 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Defense Loses Round In Bomb Trial Judge Rejects Several Motions Made In Response To Leaked Information

By Associated Press

The judge in the Oklahoma City bombing trial refused Tuesday to give transcripts of grand jury testimony to the defense or allow its experts to attend the exhumation of one victim.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch heard arguments on more than a dozen motions, most seeking to dismiss the indictment of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. He ruled on several and deferred decisions on others.

He also ordered McVeigh and Nichols moved to a prison in Colorado in preparation for the trial. Deputy U.S. Marshal James Murphy said it had not been decided when or precisely where they would be moved.

A date has not been set for the trial, which was moved to Denver. McVeigh and Nichols are the only ones charged in the April 19 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 169 people and injured more than 500.

Both could face the death penalty if convicted on federal murder and conspiracy charges.

Defense lawyers had asked Matsch to unseal the grand jury testimony to punish the prosecution for government leaks about the case. He denied a motion to dismiss the indictment based on the accusation, saying he was not convinced the leaked material came from the grand jury.

In another motion, the defense said the indictments should be dismissed because of prosecutorial misconduct and because one grand juror violated his secrecy oath by talking to a reporter from a magazine with ties to right-wing militias.

Amber McLaughlin, McVeigh’s lawyer, said a transcript of the interview shows prosecutors intimidated the grand jury and quashed the panel’s attempts to call and question some witnesses.

Matsch agreed to review the instructions given to the grand jury but said that he was not convinced the issue merited much further review.

He refused to order prosecutors to allow defense experts to witness the exhumation of Lakesha Levy, who was killed in the bombing. Her body is to be disinterred soon so officials can examine a leg that was buried with her. Her severed leg was found in the demolished federal building, but only recently matched with her DNA and footprints.

Defense attorneys wanted to be present during the exhumation to monitor government investigators. Prosecutors said Levy’s family did not want the defense present.

Matsch also denied a defense motion to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that it charges multiple conspiracies.

Also, a school custodian was arrested Monday on charges he lied about being injured in the bombing to collect workers’ compensation insurance benefits. Eugene Bernard Triplet, 26, was charged with perjury, fraud and filing a false insurance claim. He remained jailed Tuesday.

“It is bad enough to try to cheat the workers’ compensation system, but to lie about sustaining an injury in the bombing is particularly disgusting,” Attorney General Drew Edmondson said.

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