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Former McVeigh attorney: McVeigh protected others

Stephen Jones  

ENID, Oklahoma (CNN) -- Stephen Jones, Timothy McVeigh's one-time lead attorney, is convinced that his former client exaggerated his own guilt to shield others from prosecution in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Thursday's revelation that the FBI failed to hand over hundreds of pages of documents to McVeigh's defense was something of a "vindication" for Jones, who had long contended that the attorneys had not seen all the evidence.

Jones spoke with CNN's Carol Lin from Enid, Oklahoma, on Friday morning.

Lin: What was your reaction when you heard yesterday (Thursday) that the FBI came up with some 3,000 different pieces of paper, tapes and photographs?

The Execution of Timothy McVeigh
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McVeigh prosecutor Patrick Ryan says he doubts there will be a stay of execution due to the unseen evidence (May 11)

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Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating tells CNN's Greta Van Susteren he's 'puzzled and concerned' about the withheld McVeigh evidence (May 10)

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CNN's Major Garrett reports on a U.S. Department of Justice statement on the withheld McVeigh evidence (May 10)

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CNN's Susan Candiotti reports on the type of evidence that might have been withheld in the McVeigh trial (May 10)

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Lesson Plan: Oklahoma City remembers

Jones: I think my first reaction was, I felt a certain degree of vindication since I have maintained from the very beginning that the government had not given us everything that they said and told the court they had given us. Number two, I really wasn't surprised. But number three, I'm not sure it makes any difference.

I mean, Tim McVeigh has said publicly that he committed the crime. And though I think he's exaggerated his guilt, if he says he's guilty, then how could these documents make any difference?

Lin: What can he accomplish (in light of these documents)?

Jones: There's not much he can accomplish because, unfortunately, against his lawyers' advice, he went public and said, "I did it." Now, once he says that, then it's kind of hard for him to come back and say, "Well, these documents may exonerate me," because he's pulled the rug out from under that argument.

Lin: I realize you weren't there in the prison cell or in the jail when Timothy McVeigh was told about this evidence. But you do know him.

Jones: Yes.

Lin: What do you think his reaction was when he was told?

Jones: My guess is that he was elated, because it is embarrassing to the government. It does, in effect, sort of defeat the government. And there is the egg on the face of the FBI this morning, although one has to admit that they are also the same people that came forward and said: We found this. So it could be nothing more than a 24-hour news item.

Lin: He did admit sole responsibility in this crime. But you argued in your book that he overstated his guilt to protect other people. Do you still believe that?

Jones: Absolutely.

Lin: What does he gain by protecting anybody else?

Jones: As he once told me -- and I can only tell you this because he waived the attorney/client privilege -- so the revolution can continue. Not everybody is locked up. There are others still out there.

FBI says it withheld evidence from McVeigh lawyers
May 10, 2001
McVeigh attorney to witness execution
May 10, 2001
McVeigh execution witness list climbs to 300
May 2, 2001
Oklahoma City remembers
April 19, 2001
U.S. wants McVeigh webcast lawsuit dismissed
April 12, 2001
Bill Press: McVeigh to die on television
April 13, 2001
Ashcroft OKs closed TV feed of McVeigh execution
April 11, 2001
FBI: McVeigh knew children would be killed in OKC blast
March 29, 2001
McVeigh autopsy deal says no 'invasive procedure'
March 18, 2001
McVeigh scheduled to die by lethal injection May 16
January 16, 2001
Judge says McVeigh can drop appeals
December 28, 2000

Federal Bureau of Investigation
U.S. Department of Justice
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Oklahoma State Government
Death Penalty Information Center
US Federal Bureau of Prisons

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