Key Players: The Trial
Joseph Hartzler, lead prosecutor
Hartzler, 46 at the time of the trial, graduated summa cum laude from American University's Washington College of Law in 1978. He became assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago in 1979. He left government work in 1989 for private practice, but returned in 1991 as assistant U.S. attorney in Illinois.
Hartlzer was afflicted with multiple sclerosis nearly nine years ago and uses a wheelchair.
Stephen Jones, McVeigh lead attorney
Jones, 56 at the time of the trial, is known as an attorney who takes on unpopular cases. Jones is also active in litigation involving individual liberties and human rights, including free speech. He succeeded in having Oklahoma's campaign-finance law, which used tax money to finance party headquarters and partisan candidates, declared unconstitutional. Jones also worked for the ACLU.
As a special prosecutor, he obtained the death penalty against a state banking examiner who murdered an 11-year-old boy. In 1990, Jones lost a bid to be the Republican nominee for Senate seat from Oklahoma.
Robert R. Nigh, Jr., McVeigh attorney
Robert Nigh has been sole practitioner in his Tulsa practice since 1996.
He previously served as assistant federal defender with the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Nigh was an attorney with Jones, Bryant & Nigh from 1986 to 1989, with a practice in civil and criminal cases in federal, state and municipal courts. His criminal practice included federal criminal defense and general state court felony defense. Nigh is a graduate of William Jewell College, in Liberty, Missouri, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and business administration. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1985 with a juris doctorate. Nigh served as a member of the board of directors for the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association from 1991 to 1994.
Judge Richard P. Matsch
The jurist, 66 at the time of the trial, has overseen tense, controversial trials with a methodical, scholarly, no-nonsense attitude.
Matsch ordered busing for desegregation in Denver 20 years ago, presided over political corruption trials, drug cases and the federal trials of several members of The Order, the militant, anti-Semitic organization responsible for the assassination of Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg in 1984. Like defense attorney Jones, Matsch has ties to Richard Nixon, who made him a federal judge.