U.S. Supreme Court declines to consider Fortier appeal

Thursday, October 25th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The U.S. Supreme Court will not consider an appeal for a lighter sentence for a man who knew of a plot to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City but didn't tell anyone.

The high court ruled on Oct. 15 that it would not take up Michael Fortier's complaint about his 12-year prison term.

In June, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 4-2 to deny Fortier's request for the full court to reconsider a decision that upheld the prison term. That 2-1 decision made in April was by a three-judge panel of the Denver court.

Fortier wanted to be let out of prison on time served. The Kingman, Ariz., resident was challenging only his sentence. He pleaded guilty in August 1995 and already has been in federal custody more than six years.

In his guilty plea, Fortier admitted that his friend, Timothy McVeigh, had told him about the bombing plot, but that he never warned anyone. Fortier also admitted helping McVeigh move and sell stolen guns and that he lied to FBI agents after the attack that killed 168 people.

The 32-year-old testified against McVeigh and co-conspirator Terry Nichols at their federal bombing trials in Denver.

McVeigh was convicted of murder and other counts and sentenced to death. He was executed June 11. Nichols, convicted of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy, was sentenced to life in prison. He awaits trial in Oklahoma on murder counts.

Fortier was sentenced twice. The 10th Circuit decided the presiding judge had followed the wrong guidelines in sentencing him the first time.

At the resentencing, the judge imposed the same prison time _ 12 years _ but reduced the fine from $200,000 to $75,000.

Fortier's attorney argued to justices that U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Van Bebber was still too harsh.

``The bombing was simply not caused by Fortier's conduct,'' his attorney argued.