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S P E C I A L The Terry Nichols Trial

Nichols defense rests in Oklahoma City bombing trial

Nichols December 11, 1997
Web posted at: 2:39 p.m. EST (1939 GMT)

DENVER (CNN) -- Defense attorneys rested their case on behalf of Oklahoma City bombing suspect Terry Nichols on Thursday after eight days of testimony in which they tried to show he was not involved in the deadly plot.

Nichols' wife, Marife Nichols, was the last witness to take the stand on Thursday. The judge also read statements from witnesses who were unwilling or unable to testify, a procedure that was also carried out earlier for some prosecution witnesses.

Under direct examination a day earlier, Mrs. Nichols told jurors that as they drove to a Herington, Kansas, police station two days after the bombing Nichols denied any role in the plot to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

"I asked him, 'Are you involved in the bombing?' and he said no," she said. "And I told him, 'calm down.'"

Mrs. Nichols, a native of the Philippines, said that in early 1995 she forced her husband to stop doing business with Timothy McVeigh as a condition of her returning to the United States.

Marife Nichols
Marife Nichols on the stand Wednesday   

Mrs. Nichols' testimony supported the defense contention that Nichols placed distance between himself and McVeigh in the months before the bombing, and that suspicious items found in Nichols' home were part of a business he was building, not evidence of a bomb.

The government says Nichols helped McVeigh plan the April 19, 1995 bombing that killed 168 people. McVeigh has already been convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection.

Upon the defense resting, the prosecution immediately began presenting a brief rebuttal.

Closing arguments are likely to begin on Monday, with jury deliberations starting by late Monday or early Tuesday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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