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Branch Davidians attorney critical of Reno's deposition

March 28, 2000
Web posted at: 5:54 p.m. EST (2254 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The lead attorney representing the Branch Davidians in a wrongful death lawsuit against the government said he believes Attorney General Janet Reno was "less than candid" in a portion of her two-hour deposition Tuesday.

The lawsuit stems from the deadly 1993 Waco, Texas, siege, and attorney Michael Caddell told reporters he questioned Reno's testimony on whether the government had intended to demolish the Branch Davidians' compound at the facility they called Mount Carmel.

"The only issue where we really felt she was less than candid was on the demolition issue," Caddell said. "And, I think the problem she's got is she testified to Congress in 1995 that the damage done to the building was the result of tear gas insertion, and I think it's very difficult for her to back off of that testimony," he said.

 Waco investigation

Caddell claims the testimony is at odds with what he calls "video of a tank going in and in and in and in".

David Koresh and some 80 followers died on April 19, 1993, after a 51-day standoff; some from the fire, others from gunshot wounds. The government has long insisted the Davidians died by their own hand.

U.S. Attorney rejects allegation

U.S. Attorney Michael Bradford, who is defending the government in the case, rejected Caddell's assertion.

compound fire
Koresh and about 80 followers died in the fire at the compound on April 19, 1993  

"We would strongly disagree with his characterization. The attorney general was forthright and candid and answered all the questions fully," said Bradford, who also attended the deposition.

Caddell told reporters he does not believe Reno was negligent in the Waco siege, but said he believes Reno's testimony helps confirm his argument that FBI tactical field commanders exceeded their authority in the case.

Bradford declined to comment on specifics of the deposition, citing a court order which he believes prohibits such discussion.

The deposition is expected to be used in the civil trial, which is scheduled to begin in mid-May in Waco.

CNN's Terry Frieden contributed to this report.

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Documents: FBI wanted clearance to shoot unarmed Branch Davidians
October 8, 1999
Six years later, Waco's horror is still hazy
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Hatch proposes special congressional panel to investigate Justice Department
September 21, 1999
Report: Rifle shell casings found in federal outpost at Waco
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September 9, 1999
Lawmakers divided over blaming Reno or FBI for Waco
September 5, 1999

Federal Bureau of Investigation
United States Attorney's Office, Central District of California
Branch Davidian Revelations According To Prophecy

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