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McVeigh attorneys argue for stay of execution

Timothy McVeigh
Attorney Robert Nigh talks with McVeigh in 1995.  

DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- Attorneys for Timothy McVeigh are in court to ask a federal judge to grant a stay of the convicted Oklahoma City bomber's execution.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, the judge who presided over McVeigh's trial, will consider the request.

McVeigh is scheduled to die Monday, June 11, by lethal injection for the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, that killed 168 people and wounded hundreds more.

His execution was scheduled for May 16, but U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered a 30-day delay after hundreds of pages of FBI documents were turned over to McVeigh's attorneys just days before his execution date.

McVeigh's attorneys said they need more time to evaluate the more than 4,400 pages of documents from the FBI's investigation.

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CNN's Susan Candiotti profiles the judge who will be hearing the McVeigh appeal (June 5)

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Execution of Timothy McVeigh
Oklahoma City Bombing
Read documents in the McVeigh case (FindLaw) (PDF)

McVeigh's reply to U.S. brief opposing stay

McVeigh's petition for stay

U.S. brief opposing stay of execution

Order setting time to respond

Supplement to petition for stay

McVeigh's response to motion to clarify
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In its motion for a stay, McVeigh's legal team argued the Justice Department committed a "fraud on the court" by failing to hand the documents over in time for McVeigh's trial.

They said the government's violation of its discovery rules for turning over evidence violated McVeigh's right to a fair trial and sentencing.

The latest paperwork was brought to the court by Chris Tritico, one of several attorneys for McVeigh. Tritico told CNN the question facing Matsch is not whether his client is innocent or guilty, but whether the Constitution was upheld and the government followed the orders of the court.

"If they didn't, then Mr. McVeigh may and probably is entitled to some relief. Then, after we have a ruling on that issue, we'll worry abut what the relief is."

Ashcroft has said he will oppose vigorously any attempt to further delay McVeigh's execution.

Federal prosecutors argued in papers filed with the court Monday that McVeigh had not shown that the newly discovered documents could prove "actual innocence" as required under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

"Timothy McVeigh does not, and could not, suggest that he is actually innocent of the charges of which the jury convicted him," prosecutor Sean Connelly wrote. "He does not, and could not suggest that the death penalty is unwarranted for his exceptionally aggravated crimes."

The government said it turned over more documents than required and that the failure to hand over the missing documents was an oversight, not intentional wrongdoing.

Connelly said McVeigh's attorneys had identified only about 20 pages of the new documents that could help the defense and that the information in those documents was duplicated.


• U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
• Federal Bureau of Investigation

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