An Ohio attorney wants to strike a deal with the Justice Department before client Cheyne Kehoe reveals details about a bombing at a federal building.
The 21-year-old former Colville man claims to have knowledge of his brother Chevie Kehoe’s “involvement in the bombing of a federal building.”
But Cheyne Kehoe won’t be offering details any time soon, his attorney, Jeff Hoskins, said Wednesday.
Hoskins said he wants the Justice Department to intervene and convince a state judge that the 24-year prison sentence he gave Cheyne Kehoe was too harsh for someone who is helping investigators.
The state judge who sentenced Kehoe for shooting at Ohio police officers could reduce the sentence, but is under no obligation to accede to requests from federal investigators.
Cheyne Kehoe’s startling revelation Tuesday was a last-ditch effort by him to convince authorities he has other valuable information, Hoskins said.
“I’ve been aware of this bombing information for some time,” Hoskins said, “and it was my hope that we wouldn’t have to use it publicly.”
“I’m in the process now of trying to broker a deal for him, in exchange for the information he has,” Hoskins said. “I’m dealing with federal prosecutors right now.”
Paula Casey, the U.S. attorney for Arkansas, did not return telephone calls.
Chris Watney, a Justice Department prosecutor in the Oklahoma City bombing case, declined comment on Kehoe’s possible involvement.
“We will follow any credible lead,” Watney told the Associated Press in Denver, where juries convicted Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in the Oklahoma City case.
In Ohio, Hoskins said he and Cheyne Kehoe had expected he would get perhaps as little as three years in state prison because he provided the FBI with information leading to Chevie Kehoe’s arrest last summer in Utah.
Hoskins said he wasn’t prepared to say what kind of prison sentence Cheyne Kehoe would accept in exchange for information about the bombing of a federal building.
He provided investigators in Arkansas with vital information about four murders, leading to a federal racketeering indictment in December.
Federal authorities were so impressed with his performance that they went to Ohio and testified as character witnesses for him during his trial.
But a jury in Wilmington, Ohio, didn’t buy Cheyne Kehoe’s explanation that he shot at police officers in self-defense when the two brothers were stopped last February.
Casey and an FBI agent from Spokane testified that Cheyne Kehoe was truthful and credible in interviews with federal investigators.
“They found his truthfulness and veracity to be excellent, and testified to that,” Hoskins said.
Federal authorities still have “no reason to disbelieve” any information from Cheyne Kehoe, his attorney said.
The FBI compiled a 140-page report on what Cheyne Kehoe told agents after he surrendered to Stevens County Sheriff Craig Thayer last June.
Hoskins was unsuccessful in attempts to get a copy of that report, but said it apparently contains no reference to the bombing of a federal building.
Hoskins said Cheyne Kehoe not only provided information leading to his brother’s arrest by the FBI, but also talked about four murders and a fifth suspected murder.
Hoskins said he was told about the federal building bombing several months ago, the first day he represented Cheyne Kehoe.
“My speculation is he wanted something to hold back, to see how things went in Ohio,” Hoskins said. “He provided the information about the murders and still got hit with 24 years in prison.”
His testimony late last year helped federal prosecutors in Little Rock, Ark., obtain a racketeering indictment against Chevie Kehoe, 24, his friend, Danny Lee, also 24, and Faron Lovelace, 40.
Chevie Kehoe pleaded innocent Wednesday when he was arraigned in Little Rock on seven federal charges, including racketeering and murder.
U.S. Magistrate Jerry Cavaneau set a March 2 trial date, but defense attorney John Wesley Hall said that likely would be postponed with various pretrial hearings.
As he was led from the courtroom, Chevie Kehoe ignored questions about his brother’s assertion.
“He denies it,” Hall told reporters outside the courthouse.
Federal prosecutors handling the Arkansas case are not likely to expand the indictment against Chevie Kehoe in light of his brother’s assertion, but authorities might expand the Oklahoma City investigation, Hall said.
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