- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2001

The government yesterday asked a federal judge to deny any further delay of Mondays scheduled execution of Timothy McVeigh, saying nothing in more than 4,000 pages of newly released FBI documents has any bearing on his conviction or death sentence.
Reiterating statements last week by Attorney General John Ashcroft that he would "vigorously oppose" any further postponement of the execution, the Justice Department told U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch that McVeigh made no effort to deny his guilt or to challenge the death sentence in a pending motion seeking the delay.
"Timothy McVeigh does not and could not suggest he is actually innocent of the charges of which the jury convicted him. He does not and could not suggest the death penalty is unwarranted for his exceptionally aggravated crimes," wrote Sean Connelly, a criminal division lawyer and appeals litigation expert who was assigned to the McVeigh case in 1995.
"There is no jurisdictional or substantive basis for granting the relief requested by McVeigh," Mr. Connelly said. "Accordingly, this court should deny a stay of execution."
Judge Matsch has scheduled a hearing for his Denver courtroom tomorrow for arguments on McVeighs motion to delay the execution to allow his attorneys to further review the more than 4,000 documents the FBI failed to turn over under a discovery agreement in the case.
In the motion, McVeigh accused the government of withholding evidence that denied him a fair trial, saying prosecutors committed a "fraud upon the court."
But Mr. Connelly argued in his strongly worded 25-page motion that under the anti-terrorism law used to prosecute and convict McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber has to produce evidence establishing some reasonable doubt about his guilt in order to win a new trial.
He said the motion failed to show any credible evidence contradicting the guilty verdict, adding that of more than 1,000 items submitted to the court by the defense, only nine were described by the lawyers as having the potential to have been helpful to the defense during trial.
But, Mr. Connelly said, none of those nine documents offered any evidence to suggest McVeigh may be innocent.
"No one, much less an 'enemy of the constitution … is entitled to use the federal courts to advance his personal agenda — regardless of whether that agenda is to 'promote the integrity of the criminal justice system (as his lawyers characterize it) or to continue a self-declared war against the government," Mr. Connelly wrote.
"Nor is McVeigh entitled to a stay of execution so his attorneys can continue a post-conviction, publicly-funded investigation that contradicts McVeighs own recent admissions that he and [convicted co-conspirator] Terry Nichols acted alone to cause the Oklahoma City bombing," he wrote.
Mr. Connelly also challenged McVeighs motives in the pending motion.
"Rather than answer for his own proven and admitted murderous conduct, McVeigh would like to put the federal government on trial," he wrote. "McVeigh is undeniably guilty, and there is no case in which the death penalty sentence can be more appropriate than this one."
McVeigh was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to die for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 persons, including 19 children. More than 500 people were injured in the blast. He is being held at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., where he faces death by injection.
The 33-year-old former soldier has admitted being responsible for the Oklahoma City explosion, saying it was an act of retribution for the governments role in the 1993 standoff at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. More than 80 Branch Davidians died when a fire erupted as the FBI moved against the compound.
Nichols, 46, was convicted of conspiracy in the Oklahoma City explosion and sentenced to life in prison. He has appealed the case to the Supreme Court, based on the FBIs failure to turn over the documents. He also faces trial in separate murder charges by state prosecutors, where he faces the death penalty.
One of McVeighs defense attorneys, Richard Burr, said last week that his client decided to seek the delay because he was "deeply concerned about the overreaching of federal law enforcement authorities."
Mr. Burr said McVeigh believed an FBI admission that it had failed to turn over the documents as required under the discovery agreement overrode earlier decisions not to seek an appeal.


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