COURT receives request for Oklahoma City bombing files

Thursday, August 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) _ A man seeking release of documents in the Oklahoma City bombing case filed a brief Wednesday asking the U.S. District Court to cancel an order that has kept several files secret.

The request by David Hoffman contended a 1996 order by U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch intended to ensure fair trials for Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols is no longer needed. Matsch presided over the trials.

A federal jury in Denver convicted McVeigh and sentenced him to die for the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. McVeigh, 33, was executed on June 11 at a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind.

Nichols, 46, was convicted on federal charges in the bombing and sentenced to life in prison. He faces possible state charges in Oklahoma.

At this point, Hoffman argued in his brief, the public's right to know as much as possible about the bombing outweighs the need to keep government documents secret.

His request for the FBI's investigative files under the federal Freedom of Information Act is pending in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma, where Judge Wayne Alley postponed action on the Justice Department's motion for a summary judgment.

In a June 14 opinion, Alley called the government's response to Hoffman's request disappointing.

``Defendants must supply sufficient information to permit judicial review of the agency's decision to withhold records from disclosure,'' Alley wrote.

Hoffman's attorney did not return a call seeking comment.