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Keating: 'How can there be anything wrong?'

Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating
Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating  

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (CNN) -- Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating spoke to CNN on Saturday about the postponement of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh's execution.

Many of the survivors and relatives of those killed in the 1995 attack on the city's Alfred P. Murrah federal building had been prepared to view McVeigh's execution this coming Wednesday. But Thursday's revelation that the FBI failed to hand over more than 3,000 pages of documents to McVeigh's defense prompted the execution to be stayed until June 11.

Keating spoke with CNN National Correspondent Gary Tuchman on Saturday morning.

TUCHMAN: Were you shocked? Surprised? How did you feel when you heard this news?

graphic DOCUMENT
FBI documents from special agent in charge (FindLaw) (PDF format)
Documents in PDF format require Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™ for viewing.
graphic ALSO
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


KEATING: We had just arrived at a celebration - "we" meaning this community, down at Bricktown, the canal downtown, to celebrate our Central Hockey League Oklahoma Blazers when all of a sudden people started whispering, "Did you hear something's wrong with the McVeigh case?" To which everyone said, "How can there be anything wrong with the McVeigh case?" This guy confessed, this guy waived all his appeals ... So there was a lot of puzzlement, concern and surprise.

TUCHMAN: There was much discussion about you possibly being attorney general of the United States. Of course, John Ashcroft is now the attorney general. But if you were the attorney general, would you have made the same decision as John Ashcroft?

KEATING: Absolutely. He did the right thing. It's important not only to have this case seen to its appropriate conclusion, and if there's a question raised about the availability of evidence and the sharing of evidence under a discovery agreement between the parties, it ought to be resolved.

But there's a larger question, as the attorney general said, and that's the process itself. There shouldn't be an opportunity for conspiracy theorists to say, "Look, you rushed to judgment, there was material that perhaps would have suggested fewer people were involved, more people were involved, the government's covering things up." It just would not be a good thing to do.

So for the attorney general to step back and say, "Look, this process is going to be seen to its appropriate, due-process conclusion, there's no reason to rush on this, another 30 days isn't inappropriate" -- It was the right thing. I know there are a lot of frustrated family members, but it was the right thing to do.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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