Former McVeigh attorney: McVeigh protected others
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?
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.
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?
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
Federal Bureau of Investigation
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