Skip to main content /LAW /LAW
find law dictionary

Ashcroft: No more delays for McVeigh

Attorney General John Ashcroft  

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (CNN) -- Attorney General John Ashcroft won't delay Timothy McVeigh's execution again, even if defense attorneys want more time to review newly found FBI records.

"We feel that ample time has been provided," Ashcroft told The Oklahoman newspaper in an interview published Sunday.

McVeigh had been scheduled to die by lethal injection on May 16, but Ashcroft on Friday delayed the execution until June 11 after news that the FBI failed to give defense attorneys more than 3,000 pages of documents in the Oklahoma City bombing case.

graphic VIDEO
Families grieve for mothers and children killed in the Murrah Federal Building bomb blast six years ago. CNN's Martin Savidge reports (May 13)

Play video
(QuickTime, Real or Windows Media)

CNN's Kelli Arena reports on an outdated computer system that the FBI blames for the missing McVeigh evidence (May 12)

Play video
(QuickTime, Real or Windows Media)
What the FBI withheld:
• About 3,100 pages of documents and pieces of evidence including "Form 302" documents that give the essence of interviews that FBI agents conducted following the Oklahoma City bombing.

FBI documents from special agent in charge (FindLaw) (PDF format)
Documents in PDF format require Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™ for viewing.
graphic ALSO
Keating: 'How can there be anything wrong?'
Previous FBI controversies
Newly revealed FBI documents prompt Nichols' appeal
More on the McVeigh execution
The Execution of Timothy McVeigh
graphic CNN ACCESS
Former McVeigh attorney: McVeigh protected others

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


McVeigh, 33, was convicted of blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in April 1995. The bombing killed 168 people, making it the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.

McVeigh had dropped his appeals and awaited execution at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. His lawyers said he may reconsider his decision after the FBI disclosure.

"He has not authorized us to go through with anything at this point, but he is willing to consider the options and willing to listen to what we have to present," attorney Robert Nigh told "Fox News Sunday."

The missing documents -- from 45 U.S. field offices of the FBI and from agents in Paris -- were not turned over to defense attorneys prior to McVeigh's 1997 trial. The error was discovered by an FBI archivist who was assembling materials used during the investigation.

McVeigh's lawyers would have to go to court to win a delay beyond June 11. Ashcroft told The Oklahoman he was thinking about the victims' families when he decided against further delays in the execution.

Authorities say the FBI documents are unlikely to affect McVeigh's 1997 conviction in the Oklahoma City bombing case. But it is the latest in a string of embarrassments for the bureau.

In the past two years, the FBI has seen senior counterintelligence agent Robert Hanssen charged with spying for Russian intelligence; the botched espionage probe of nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee, in which an FBI agent admitted giving misleading testimony to a federal court; and its belated disclosure, after years of denial, that it used pyrotechnic tear gas rounds during the 1993 siege at the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas.

The Waco siege was one of the events that fueled McVeigh's anti-government beliefs, prompting his attack on the Oklahoma City federal building.

The execution delay upset some families of the bombing victims and survivors of the attack. Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating urged patience Saturday and said McVeigh will not escape punishment.

"This individual will not be on this planet mocking us, lecturing us, and heckling us and making fun of our children that he murdered. Don't worry," Keating told CNN.

Oklahoma governor: 'Don't worry' about execution delay
May 12, 2001
Attorney says developments might cause McVeigh to fight execution
May 11, 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

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.



Back to the top