MCVEIGH'S attorneys billed government $147,000 for final four months

Saturday, July 21st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) _ Timothy McVeigh's defense team billed the federal government more than $147,000 for the unsuccessful battle to delay his execution and other legal work in the last four months of his life.

The expenses, released Friday, are in addition to the $13.8 million in public funds spent to defend McVeigh through his sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, who presided over McVeigh's trial, released the latest expenses in response to a request by USA Today. None of McVeigh's lawyers objected to releasing summaries of the expenses.

McVeigh, 33, was executed on June 11 in Terre Haute, Ind., for the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City. The explosion killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

The expenses released Friday were submitted between Feb. 1 and June 11 for lawyers Richard Burr and Christopher Tritico of Houston, Nathan Chambers of Denver and Robert Nigh of Tulsa, Okla.

They are primarily for court appearances, interviews with McVeigh or witnesses, and research, writing and travel.

Matsch did not release billing statements or other detailed information, saying they would remain sealed to protect attorney-client privilege and the lawyers' work-product privilege.

McVeigh originally was scheduled to die May 16, but the government postponed the execution after the FBI disclosed it had withheld nearly 4,500 pages of documents from his defense before his 1997 trial.

Defense attorneys sought an additional delay, but Matsch and an appeals court turned them down. McVeigh then decided to halt all appeals.

Chambers was out of town and unavailable for comment, and the other attorneys did not return telephone messages. A telephone operator at USA Today said no one was available to comment after business hours on Friday.

Matsch rejected the newspaper's request to release legal expenses for Terry Nichols, 46, convicted on federal charges of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the bombing.

Matsch said Nichols still faces trial on murder charges in Oklahoma and has an appeal of his federal conviction before the U.S. Supreme Court.