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Oklahoma Bombing Attorney Probes Neo-Nazi Conspiracy

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OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb 5, 1996) - The attorney for Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh Monday confirmed that his defense team is investigating a possible neo-Nazi conspiracy in the blast that killed 169 people last April.

Attorney Stephen Jones said he hired a London firm to investigate whether materials for the truck bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building were supplied by neo-Nazi groups operating out of the United Kingdom and Germany.

"I think it's the type of the bomb, the method of delivery, the size of it that makes activities in the U.K. of particular interest as it relates to this case," Jones said.

The London Times Sunday reported the April 19 bombing may have been planned to avenge the execution in Arkansas that same day of white supremist Richard Snell for the murder of a Jewish businessman and a black policeman. The article, quoting unnamed sources, claims key components for the bomb that destroyed the office building may have been obtained in Britain from far-right activists.

"We are investigating and pursuing that line of inquiry, along with others," Jones told Reuters.

McVeigh and U.S. Army friend Terry Nichols have been charged with bombing the building, killing 169 people including children in a day care center on the ground floor and injuring hundreds of others.

Federal prosecutors played down any links between the Oklahoma City bombing and an alleged international conspiracy. "I am unaware of any basis for that kind of speculation," said U.S. Justice Department spokesman Carl Stern.

But Jones said federal investigators are combing the same ground he is, looking for possible ties between the bombing and neo-Nazi groups. "I think both our side and the government's side are exploring those links," he said.

Copyright 1996 Reuter Information Service

December 14, 1995 From Correspondent Tony Clark

OKLAHOMA CITY (CNN) -- No sooner did new bombing trial Judge Richard Matsch arrive in Oklahoma City than he met with prosecutors and defense attorneys, canceled next spring's scheduled trial date, and left open the question of where and when the trial will be held.

Head down and with a determined gate away from the courthouse, Matsch said of his decision, "All of these things have to be determined."

It is that "take charge" attitude that has won Matsch praise in his home state of Colorado. "There couldn't be a better trial court judge to handle a case of this magnitude and complexity. He's a tough, fair, very bright, very hardworking judge," says Colorado Bar Association President Miles Cortez.

Matsch arrived Tuesday to replace Judge Wayne Alley, who was asked to step down because he was too close to the case against Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who are accused of bombing the Oklahoma City Federal Building on April 19. The devastating truck bomb explosion killed 169 men, women, and children.

A former assistant U.S. attorney, the 64-year-old Matsch was appointed to the federal bench in 1974 by President Nixon.

He's no stranger to high-profile, controversial cases.

While on the federal bench, Matsch has presided over the desegregation of Denver schools; held then-U.S. Secretary of Health Otis Bowen in contempt of court for failing to set adequate standards for the inspection of nursing homes; ruled the Ku Klux Klan could march in Denver on the Rev. Martin Luther King's birthday; and presided over the trial of four members of the white supremacist anti-Semitic group known as "The Order." They were charged in the 1984 murder of radio talk show host Alan Berg.

Colleagues say Matsch is not easily intimidated and that he is a "no- nonsense" judge.

"There won't be lengthy times when the jury is taken out of the room. There won't be unnecessary bench conferences, sidebar conferences," says federal public defender Michael Katz.

It's a case that stirs immense emotion nationwide, and all eyes will be watching intently. But those who have worked closely with Matsch say he won't let it turn into a circus. "He's got experience in handling difficult cases with a lot of publicity," says Frances Koncilja, former president of the Colorado Bar Association. "He's not going to let that happen."

McVeigh T-Shirt may become evidence

Sources have told CNN that McVeigh was wearing a T-shirt with words about shedding blood in defense of liberty on the day of the bombing.

The T-shirt reportedly featured a quote written by Thomas Jefferson in 1787, shortly after the American revolution: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

McVeigh's lawyer, Stephen Jones, brushed aside any concern when asked how incriminating the T-shirt may be.

"Well, if Thomas Jefferson said it, I would not think it would be incriminating at all," Jones said.

But sources said the T-shirt is expected to be a key piece of evidence.

"What Jefferson is saying is that it is a fact that, in order to preserve freedom, you're going to have a situation where there is violence as a wake-up call, you might say, to the leaders," Jeffersonian scholar Steve Hochman said.

November 24, 1995 From Correspondent Robert Vito

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Federal, state and local law enforcement officials will attend a memorial in Miami Friday for victims of the bombing that devastated Oklahoma City last April. As the officials mourn the dead, they'll also recognize those who helped in the rescue and investigation efforts following the tragedy. Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, the work continues, as prosecutors try to construct a solid case out of varying witness reports.

In particular, prosecutors have had more difficulty than expected in tying bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh to the Ryder truck that blew up the Oklahoma City federal building. Key witnesses have delivered a variety of stories about when and where the truck was seen and how many people may have been involved.

It seemed clear enough at first. Investigators traced the serial number on a rear axle found at the scene and said the bomb truck was rented at a Ryder outlet in Junction City, Kansas, the Monday before the attack. Ryder employees furnished a sketch of the man who rented the truck.

The owner of the Dreamland Motel then identified the sketch as McVeigh, who had stayed there four nights. But, she maintained, he brought a Ryder truck to the motel the day before the FBI says the bomb truck was rented.

"I know he was here Sunday afternoon with the Ryder truck," said Dreamland Owner Lea McGown. However, the FBI thinks McVeigh was in Oklahoma City that Easter Sunday, leaving his rusty old car there as a getaway car.

Another problem: if McVeigh did indeed drive the Ryder truck out of the lot on Monday, how did he get there in the first place? Was there someone else? Who took McVeigh to the Ryder rental place if, by then, his car was in Oklahoma City? Agents simply do not know and fall back on far too familiar words: "the investigation continues."

Another stumbling block: Tuesday at Geary Lake. This is where and when the FBI says the bomb was put together. Real estate agent Georgia Rucker drove by that morning. She said she saw a Ryder truck parked by the lake, but she reported she saw two other vehicles, as well. That could raise the ominous possibility that another party was involved as well.

Even more confusing for the FBI, Rucker said she and her son [Geary Lake] saw a truck at the lake days before the bomb truck was rented. She called this "very suspicious."

All of which means the FBI may have a long road ahead before it has anything close to an open-and-shut case against the man it thinks is responsible for the deaths of 169 people.

Copyright 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.

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