Volume IV, No. 10
2 March 1997

    In This Issue:



The John Doe Times is an on-line, electronic newsletter published by the 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment (Constitutional Militia) and friends, who are tonight, in a heck of a hurry. So without further ado: Sic Semper Rodentia!


The attached stories detail some of the fallout of the Dallas Morning Snooze article about the McVeigh "revelations." While we could have some fun with this relative tempest in a teapot it would be wise, we think, to remember Proverbs, Chapter 29, Verse 11:

"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."

Watch for something else on this story, perhaps on Monday. We'll have commentary then.

-- Mike Vanderboegh, Editor, The John Doe Times.


DENVER (AP) -- Timonthy McVeigh's lawyer said on Sunday he thinks he knows how The Dallas Morning News got what it said was a defense document in which McVeigh admits he was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing.

The newspaper cited a memo that said McVeigh admits driving the explosives-laden truck that demolished the Oklahoma City federal building in April 1995, and choosing a daytime attack to boost the "body count."

"I don't know everything that The Dallas Morning News knows, but this is not a legitimate defense memorandum, and I don't know exactly how they obtained it," lawyer Stephen Jones told ABC's "This Week."

"But I have a pretty good idea this morning and we will be going to the court (Monday) to inform the judge of what we know."

McVeigh's trial, scheduled to begin March 31, was moved from Oklahoma City to Denver because of pretrial publicity.

Jones said he cannot say whether the news report is true because of U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch's gag order and his own code of professional responsibility. He also said the newspaper refused to give him a copy of the memorandum.

"So the only way that I can tell you an answer to that question is to say, 'One, Mr. McVeigh has pled not guilty, and two, the defense will not present a false defense,"' Jones said.

Jones had threatened to seek to have the trial moved to Alaska or Hawaii. He said Sunday that he hasn't asked for a change of venue, but conceded the trial may have to be delayed.

Jones previously said his team talked with McVeigh about the report, and McVeigh responded, "There's a practical joker every week."

Legal experts and journalists continue to wrangle over the propriety of publishing the story.

Morning News editor Ralph Langer defended the newspaper's decision. He said the paper's top editors debated at length about what to do with the story and decided it needed to be published.

But Larry Pozner, vice president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said "What the story says is, 'We don't care about the fundamental rights of anyone if we have a story."

Pozner noted that the conversation, if it took place, is protected by attorney-client privilege and is inadmissible in court.

As for the memorandum itself, Pozner said, "The only way you could have it, if it exists, is through a violation of some other citizen's rights."

Sam Archibald, a retired professor of journalism at the University of Colorado who specializes in First Amendment issues, said the newspaper was obliged to print the story.

"If an editor decides the documents are valid he or she should publish it," Archibald said. "Editors are not in the business of withholding information. They are in the business of publishing.

"This is information that people -- some of whom will be jurors and all of whom will be participants in a democratic society -- have an interest in."

Christopher Mueller, a Colorado University law professor specializing in legal procedures and evidence, disagreed.

"The media should not have published this material at all," he said. "It is just wrong to say there is a public right to know the content of statements of a person in conversation with his lawyer."

Jim Carrigan, a retired federal judge, said it was unethical to publish the story. "This kind of conducts qualifies journalists for a place below lawyers in terms of public respect, in terms of ethics," he said.


JDT Commentary: Say it ain't so, Judge.



"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."


New York Times
March 2, 1997
Report of McVeigh's Remarks on Bomb Role Raises Fears for Fair Trial

Lawyers preparing for the Oklahoma City bombing trial and other experts following the case are concerned about the potential effect on the jury of a newspaper report that defendant Timothy McVeigh told his lawyers that he had driven the truck used in the bombing and that he had decided on a daytime attack to insure a "body count."

The article, published Saturday in The Dallas Morning News, first appeared on the newspaper's World Wide Web page Friday, the same day that questionnaires mailed two weeks ago to hundreds of prospective jurors were due at the U.S. District Court in Denver. The full text of the article also appeared Saturday in both daily newspapers in Denver.

"It's a worst-case scenario," said Jeffrey Abramson, a professor of politics and legal studies at Brandeis University and a jury specialist.

"At the witching hour, but before people have been isolated from pretrial publicity, you get explosive evidence, exactly the kind of thing that makes it very difficult for a defendant to think he hasn't already been tried in the press."

McVeigh's lawyer, Stephen Jones, visibly angry, went to federal court Friday afternoon, shortly after learning of the article, to meet with prosecutors and Judge Richard Matsch, who will begin jury selection for McVeigh's trial March 31.

McVeigh's co-defendant in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Terry Nichols, will be tried after McVeigh.

After the meeting in the judge's chambers, Jones, trying to minimize the damage, called the article a hoax and said he would wait to see what impact, if any, it would have on jury selection.

The article quoted a source from McVeigh's defense team, saying that person had interviewed McVeigh at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in Oklahoma between July and December 1995.

One of a series of incriminating statements reported in the article was a response to the view of an antigovernment activist that McVeigh would have been a hero if he had bombed the building at night, when fewer people might have been killed. As it was, 168 people died in the blast, and 800 were injured.

"xxx McVeigh looked directly into my eyes and told me: 'That would not have gotten the point across to the government.

We needed a body count to make our point,' " the defense staff member wrote in his notes of the interview, the newspaper reported.

"I think it's a bogus document," Jones said late Friday night, conceding that his staff members were still searching their computerized records to see if they could find any interview with similar contents.

"I've never heard Tim say anything like that, and no one with my office writes memos like, 'Tim McVeigh looked directly into my eyes.' "

The article also reported an incident not mentioned in the charges against McVeigh. It said McVeigh had confessed that he and Michael Fortier, who will be a witness against him, had robbed a National Guard armory in Kingman, Ariz., in 1994, seeking welding tools but taking only an ax and shovel.

Jones said he would ask Attorney General Janet Reno for an investigation by the FBI of whether the leak -- or the hoax -- might violate his client's right to a fair trial.

He also raised the possibility that the document had come from someone who was trying to point the finger solely at McVeigh and divert attention from additional or other suspects.

Jones' remarks prompted a denial from J.D. Cash, a free-lance journalist who has written for The Jubilee, a publication of the extreme right, and the The McCurtain Daily Gazette, an afternoon newspaper in Idabel, Okla., that he had been the source of the article.

In a statement Saturday morning, Cash denied being "the intermediary who set up The Dallas Morning News," but he said he was familiar with the documents described in the newspaper's accounts.

The so-called McVeigh confession, Cash said, is "a mixture of fact and fantasy."

Prosecutors had no comment on Friday's reports but were concerned about the potential effect on the jurors, sources close to the case said.

In a letter sent with the jury summons Feb.

14, Matsch told potential jurors that they would not be sequestered during the trial but should begin immediately being careful what they read, saw and heard in the news media.

Rita J. Simon, a professor at the American University Law School and School of Public Affairs, said The Dallas Morning News article could make a fair trial very difficult.

"The jurors will know there was some report about a confession," she said. "I can't imagine, no matter where you hold the trial, that the jurors will not hear about it. As soon as the trial gets under way, the story will come out afresh."

Other Places of Interest on the Web

McVeigh admitted bombing, memos say , from The Dallas Morning News

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