Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh's attorneys headed to Terre Haute, Ind., Tuesday night — planning to meet with him Wednesday to further discuss his options after the FBI recently disclosed that they withheld several thousand documents from his trial.
The lawyers hope to arrive at the federal prison where he is being held some time in the morning and expect to meet with him for most of the day. It is expected that they may make a statement after the visit.
Not surprisingly, McVeigh has again been corresponding with members of the media after last week's startling revelation. Most recently, he has disputed recent suspicions dug up by the FBI flub that there may exist a "John Doe No. 2."
In answer to a Houston Chronicle reporter's inquiries, McVeigh penned a letter to the paper insisting an alleged bombing co-conspirator known as John Doe No. 2 never helped him blow up the Oklahoma City federal building.
Ex-McVeigh lawyer Stephen Jones has argued that his former defendant worked with several conspirators in the1995 bombing that killed 168 people. But McVeigh vehemently refuted that scenario when he wrote to the Chronicle.
"Jones has been thoroughly discredited, so I'm not going to break a sweat refuting his outlandish claims point-by-point," McVeigh said in the letter, which he mailed from the prison where he is jailed on death row. "The truth is on my side."
News of the McVeigh claim is the latest twist in the unfolding story of the FBI's missteps in the case, leading to the postponement until June 11 of his lethal-injection execution, which was scheduled to take place Wednesday.
The single-page letter was mailed on May 2, a week before the FBI disclosed that it had found 3,135 documents about the bombing investigation that the defense was never privy to during trial. The Justice Department ordered the death sentenced to be delayed for a month so that McVeigh's legal team could have time to look through the papers and decide whether or not to file an appeal.
But McVeigh, for his part, seems to want to thwart efforts to lessen his guilt.
In his recently published book, American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh & The Oklahoma City Bombing, McVeigh said convicted co-conspirator Terry Nichols helped mix the fertilizer bomb, but claimed no one else helped. McVeigh said he acted solo in carrying out the actual bombings.
"Does anyone honestly believe that if there was a John Doe 2 (there is not), that Stephen Jones would still be alive? ... Think about it," McVeigh wrote.
Jones has told the press that McVeigh is inflating his role in the terrorist attack to feed his ego. The two have been estranged since McVeigh accused Jones of misrepresenting him during trial.
"I bet he wishes now he'd followed my advice and kept his mouth shut," Jones told the newspaper. "And I bet he wishes he'd followed (appellate attorney) Nathan Chambers' advice and not dismissed those appeals."
Current McVeigh defense attorney Robert Nigh of Tulsa told the Chronicle that he couldn't comment on his client's statement or on whether it would hamper any efforts to seek a new trial based on the latest evidence of an FBI screw-up.
The search for John Doe No. 2 began when the FBI released sketches of two men it believed had rented the truck that blew up outside the federal building, based on descriptions from a worker in the rental shop.
John Doe No. 1 was McVeigh, investigators said. The heavyset John Doe No. 2 was eventually identified by authorities as an Army private who had been in the rental shop the day after McVeigh. The man was cleared by the FBI of involvement in the bombing.
Nichols has contended that John Doe No. 2 was real and that his existence sheds doubt on Nichols' purported role in the bombing. He is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether the newly released FBI documents could cast doubt on his guilt.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report