McVeigh attorney says Nichols hasn't sought interview with co-conspirator

Friday, March 30th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Terry Nichols' defense attorneys have not sought an interview with Timothy McVeigh about published comments in which McVeigh admits his role in the Oklahoma City bombing, McVeigh's attorney said Thursday.

Attorney Nathan Chambers of Denver said that neither Nichols' defense attorneys nor Oklahoma prosecutors who have charged Nichols with 160 counts of first-degree murder have asked to question McVeigh about his statements.

``I have not heard that there is any effort by anyone involved in that case to preserve his testimony,'' Chambers said.

Nichols, sentenced to life in prison on federal conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter charges for the bombing, faces a possible death sentence if convicted on state murder charges.

Nichols, 45, is awaiting a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to hold him for trial on state bombing charges. No preliminary hearing date has been set.

McVeigh, 32, was convicted of federal murder charges and sentenced to death. He is scheduled to be executed on May 16.

In the book, ``American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing,'' McVeigh discusses his motives for the bombing for the first time publicly and said he was the sole architect of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 people.

McVeigh also says that he threatened Nichols' family to secure Nichols' help in the bombing.

Oklahoma law permits a potential witness in a criminal case who may not be available to testify at a trial to offer testimony in a deposition that can be introduced at trial.

The deposition can take place as long as the witness can be questioned by both prosecutors and defense attorneys.

But Chambers said there has been no effort by either side in Nichols' state case to interview McVeigh.

Chambers said the FBI, which investigated the bombing, has requested an interview with McVeigh.

``At this point, he hasn't agreed to one,'' Chambers said.

Nichols' lead attorney, Brian Hermanson of Ponca City, declined comment.

``I am under a gag order,'' Hermanson said.

Nichols' chief prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney John Jacobsen, did not return a telephone call by the Associated Press to the Oklahoma County district attorney's office.

Nichols' federal conviction involved the deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers. The state charges cover the 160 other people who died in the bombing.