Writer embroils himself in Okla. City bomb probe

Balto. native indicted for jury tampering

January 19, 1999|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

Baltimore native David Hoffman wrote a book called "The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror." Now he's involved in the politics of turmoil.

"I've become the subject of a political prosecution," the 38-year-old author said in a phone interview yesterday from Colorado. "This is a classic case of killing the messenger."

Hoffman said he will turn himself over to Oklahoma City authorities today to answer charges of tampering with a county grand jury that recently met in Oklahoma to investigate the fatal 1995 explosion. The charges have put the little-known writer into the national spotlight.

The grand jury alleges he tried to influence panel members by sending them notes and a copy of his book, which alleges a government cover-up in the bombing. Hoffman also claims government "agent provocateurs" may have aided in the fatal conspiracy by planting military explosives inside the federal building. The same grand jury hearing evidence in the bombing indicted Hoffman.

"It's a much more complex case than the government is letting on," said Hoffman, a 1978 graduate of Pikesville Senior High School who runs an alternative San Francisco-based newspaper, the Haight-Ashbury Free Press. "A lot of people are upset with me because I've been in their face about this issue."

Hoffman is charged with two counts of jury tampering and faces up to two years in jail if convicted. Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy, one of the many people Hoffman alleges is involved in a government conspiracy, couldn't be reached to comment about the grand jury's charges.

Among the allegations Hoffman makes in his book is that the FBI conspired to murder a police officer -- whose death was officially ruled a suicide -- because the officer knew too much about the bombing.

He also claims he discovered links between the U.S. government and Middle Eastern terrorist organizations, who he said have conspired to bring former Iraqi soldiers into the United States.

Hoffman claims the government either had advance warning about the bombing and did nothing about it or was directly involved in its execution. The reason, he said, is that rogue elements of the U.S. intelligence establishment have an interest in quashing all forms of political dissidence, including that presented by the so-called patriot militia movement.

"The government feels it has got to stop political dissidence," he said. "It will do anything to reinforce the image to the American public that the militia movement is dangerous."

Hoffman is the only person indicted by the Oklahoma County grand jury, which for the past 18 months has reinvestigated the bombing that killed 168 people. The panel concluded there was no wider conspiracy in the case.

The charges aren't stopping Hoffman from planning his next major project, an investigation into the July 6, 1997, killings at a Georgetown Starbucks coffee shop that claimed the lives of Mary Caitrin Mahoney, a Baltimore native, and two others. The 25-year-old woman was shot repeatedly, and the case remains unsolved.

Hoffman says he believes there is a White House connection to the killings and plans to call the book "Murdergate: The Presidency and the Politics of Murder." Mahoney, he said, went to Baltimore's McDonogh School, as he once did.

"I went there for nine years and decided to get out," he said. "They had no girls [at the time] and no drugs."

Pub Date: 1/19/99

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