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Bombing defendants challenge federal law allowing camera coverage

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Bombing defendants challenge federal law allowing camera coverage06/17/96 COLORADO--Attorneys for Oklahoma City bombing suspects Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are…

Bombing defendants challenge federal law allowing camera coverage

06/17/96

COLORADO–Attorneys for Oklahoma City bombing suspects Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are challenging Congress’s authority to order their Denver trial to be carried on closed-circuit television for the benefit of the victim’s families.

Nichols’ attorney maintained that Congress lacked the authority to attach such a resolution onto the anti-terrorism bill recently signed into law. McVeigh’s attorney argued that televised coverage of the trial would violate his client’s right to a fair trial.

Federal District Court Judge Richard Matsch said he has not decided whether to allow the camera in his courtroom, and will await briefs from each party before making a determination.

Nichols’ attorney said that the new law passed by Congress is unconstitutional because it usurps the power of the court. The law requires close-circuit television coverage of all federal trials moved more than 350 miles from the original venue. Denver is approximately 550 miles from Oklahoma City.

McVeigh’s attorney, Amber McLaughlin, argued that the coverage would violate her client’s rights to due process and a fair trial because it would prevent the court from protecting those rights. She also argued that cameras could influence jurors and witnesses and hamper McVeigh’s ability to consult with his attorneys. (U.S. v. McVeigh)