Ashcroft: No more delays for McVeigh
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.
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.
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