Report: Prosecutors seeking to use Nichols' writings in case
Sunday, December 21st 2003, 12:00 am
News On 6
Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols' words could be used against him at trial, according to a published report.
Oklahoma County prosecutors want to use evidence that was banned in Nichols' federal case in his state trial on 161 counts of first-degree murder, The Oklahoman reported in Sunday's editions.
Most of the evidence involves Nichols' ``anti-government'' writings before the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which left 168 dead.
In a March 1994 complaint, he referred to the federal government as a ``fraudulent, usurping octopus,'' according to the story. An April 1994 letter to the Internal Revenue Service and his August 1992 demand to be removed from Michigan voter rolls also were included.
In civil lawsuits in Michigan over more than $31,500 in debts, Nichols commented that lawyers were ``bloodsucking parasites'' and he yelled in court at a judge.
Nichols' trial is scheduled to begin March 1 in McAlester, where the case was moved. Defense attorneys are expected to object to admission of the evidence.
The Oklahoman did a weeklong analysis of prosecutors' 414-name witness list to find the information.
The witnesses include five public officials who received Nichols' written statements and the Michigan judge and two attorneys in the civil cases.
Prosecutors and Nichols' attorneys cannot comment on their plans outside of court because of a judicial gag order.
But defense lawyers wrote in a legal filing that even though Nichols was a tax protester who disagreed with various governmental policies, ``he did not advocate the use of violence to secure political change.''
Federal prosecutors sought to use the evidence to prove Nichols' motive for the attack, arguing that in the March 1994 document Nichols was ``basically revoking (his) citizenship.''
Defense attorneys argued in the federal case that nothing in the evidence ``suggests in any way an endorsement of violence, revolution, of any kind.''
U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch sided with Nichols' lawyers and barred the evidence.
Federal jurors heard some testimony about Nichols' beliefs. Kansas rancher Tim Donahue, Nichols' former employer, testified that Nichols had said ``it was our duty to overthrow the government'' when it got too big and too powerful.
A federal jury convicted Nichols, 48, of the bombing conspiracy and the involuntary manslaughter of eight federal agents.
His state murder case focuses on the 160 others who died as a result of the attack and one victim's fetus.