McVeigh lawyers ask dismissal of charges Conduct of prosecutors and grand jury member questioned in motion

October 14, 1995|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

Lawyers for Timothy McVeigh sought dismissal yesterday of his indictment in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, charging misconduct by prosecutors and a breach of grand jury secrecy by at least one member of the panel.

Their motion contending the indictment was "fatally flawed" revolved largely around an interview given by one of the members of the grand jury to Media Bypass magazine. In the interview, the unnamed juror described his unhappiness with the way the grand jury hearings were conducted.

Although grand jury proceedings are secret under law, the juror said he had discussed aspects of the testimony with an Oklahoma City newspaper, the Daily Oklahoman, his representative in Congress and several other people as well as Media Bypass, a small independent magazine. An article about the interview is published in the magazine's current issue, dated November.

The juror contended that prosecutors intimidated the jurors and pressed them to confine the investigation to the activities of Mr. McVeigh and the other defendant in the case, Terry Nichols, to meet a deadline set by federal guidelines on providing speedy trials.

The juror charged that efforts to inquire after a possible "John Doe No. 2," or to look into other aspects of the case, were curtailed.

Mr. McVeigh and Mr. Nichols have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, bombing and murder charges in connection with the April 19 blast, which killed 168 people.

Mr. McVeigh's lawyers, Steven Jones and Richard Burr, said in their motion that "the government attempted to prevent the grand jurors from acting as a free and independent body" and "discouraged or precluded grand juror requests for presentation evidence, and discouraged relevant questions."

The motion continued, "Because of feelings of intimidation, coercion and lack of independence, members of the grand jury began to contact at least three and possibly more outside media sources, members of the legislature and other persons who had experience in law enforcement in order to voice their complaints."

Mr. Jones, in a telephone interview, said the juror's complaints showed that the government "circumscribed grand jury independence by limiting the scope of its inquiry, withholding anything that might indicate a broader conspiracy or a different conspiracy."

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