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McVeigh prosecutor: Newly disclosed documents won't prompt new trial


On Thursday, the FBI announced it had discovered about 3,000 documents related to the investigation of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh that had not been released to prosecutors or McVeigh's defense attorneys during his 1997 trial.

A federal prosecutor in the case, Patrick Ryan, spoke to CNN's Carol Lin about the documents on Friday morning from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Lin: What was your reaction when you heard about this disclosure of documents?

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From decorated veteran to mass murderer
graphic VIDEO
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
WESH, Orlando
  • North Florida man to witness McVeigh execution

KMGH, Denver
  • Lawyer: McVeigh won't ask for stay of execution


Ryan: I was disappointed. It's very unfortunate. One of the things that has been said over and over again since yesterday (Thursday) afternoon is that the government failed to turn these materials over to the defense, and the point has not been made that the FBI didn't turn the materials over to the prosecution, either. These are not materials that we're familiar with either.

Lin: How does this make the FBI look?

Ryan: Like I say, it's very unfortunate. You have to take, I think, into context that we had over a billion documents that we were reviewing and analyzing in connection with this case, so if you look at 3,000 documents not having been produced, you're talking three for every 1 million. People make mistakes; I think that's what it was.

Lin: Are you concerned that there is evidence in this pile of documents that creates reasonable doubt possibly leading to another trial?

Ryan: Not at all. We had a very clear, concise case of absolute responsibility on McVeigh's part for this bombing. He's since admitted that he took his part in delivering the bomb to the Oklahoma City Murrah Building, where the people were killed. I don't think there's any chance at all for any evidence in these documents that will be favorable to the defense or provide any type of defense.

Lin: How do you know what's in the pile of documents?

Ryan: I have talked to Sean Connelly, the lawyer in Denver who was our legal scholar and who handled all the research and writing in oral presentations of matters such as this, and he's reviewed the documents and believes there's nothing that provides a defense.

Lin: What is in there, then?

Ryan: It's just miscellaneous, haphazard information, more John Doe 2 was my brother-in-law, in New Hampshire, and John Doe 2 was my uncle in Vermont. That's the kind of information. There's no single category or grouping of documents that would indicate any type of defense.

Lin: John Doe 2 being the person whom nobody actually found but was suspected and cited by one of the witness as being with Timothy McVeigh that day.

Ryan: We believe we know who John Doe 2 is. We believe that's Todd Bunting, and he's totally uninvolved in this event. Todd Bunting and Michael Hertig rented the Ryder truck from Elliot's Body Shop in Junction City (Kansas), the day after Tim McVeigh rented his truck. Michael Hertig looks just as much like John Doe 1 as Timothy McVeigh does. Todd Bunting looks exactly like the pictures of John Doe No. 2.

Lin: I didn't mean for you to relive those long days at the trial.

Ryan: That's all right.

Lin: But I do want to ask you something. You are in Oklahoma City. Have you talked to any of these families? What are you going to say to them?

Ryan: Well, I have not talked to the families. I think that, for the most part, they will understand that, unfortunately, mistakes are made, and in this case, the FBI did not, apparently, gather up all the materials and provide them to the prosecution, so that we could, in turn, provide them to the defense.

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March 29, 2001
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March 18, 2001
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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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