Clinton: 'Measure Of Comfort' In Verdict
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 24) -- President Bill Clinton, reacting to Tuesday's verdict in the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Terry Nichols, praised prosecutors and investigators for bringing the case to a "successful conclusion."
"I know that no verdict in a court of law can ease the loss of a loved one," Clinton said in a statement. "But the successful prosecution of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols should offer a measure of comfort that all Americans stand with the families of Oklahoma City."
Nichols' former army buddy, Timothy McVeigh, was convicted in June on 11 counts of murder and conspiracy and sentenced to death for the April 19, 1995, explosion that killed 168 people.
Attorney General Janet Reno said Tuesday's guilty verdicts shows the Justice Department's quest for justice in the Oklahoma City bombing has been kept.
"Two-and-a-half years ago, when the Murrah Building was bombed, FBI Director Louis Freeh and I promised to follow every lead and bring those responsible to justice," Reno said. "Today that promise has been kept."
Justice Department officials privately viewed the jury's verdict in the Nichols trial as a compromise, noting they knew it was a far more difficult case than the McVeigh trial.
One senior Justice Department official said the jury found Nichols was involved in the planning of the Oklahoma City bombing, but apparently concluded "he withdrew from the plot at some point."
The jury may have concentrated on the fact that Nichols was apparently not at the site when the bomb detonated, so "they concluded he is not fully responsible," the official said.
Still, Justice officials argue, Nichols faces the prospect of the death penalty.
But Justice sources acknowledged they expected Michael Tigar, Nichols' lead attorney, to argue to the presiding judge that Nichols should not be subject to the death penalty because the jury failed to convict him of premeditated murder.
Freeh called the convictions "a tribute to the many victim families and survivors who have suffered so greatly."
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Wednesday Dec. 24, 1997
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