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Oklahoma-bombing judge lifts gag order but keeps records sealed

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    NMU         COLORADO         Secret Courts         Oct 29, 2001    

Oklahoma-bombing judge lifts gag order but keeps records sealed

  • A federal judge determined that an order for attorneys to keep quiet about the bombing cases no longer applied since appellate courts have upheld the convictions.

A federal judge recently honored a request from CBS News to lift gag orders imposed during the Oklahoma City bombing cases but declined to unseal all of the records from those cases.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch on Oct. 23 lifted the gag order placed upon the attorneys in the Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols trials, finding that the order no longer applied since appellate courts have upheld convictions of the two men. The lawyers are now free to express opinions about the defendants’ guilt or innocence.

Matsch, however, denied the networks request to unseal documents filed under seal. He did not give reasons why the documents should remain sealed. Lawyers opposing the unsealing argued that innocent people were mentioned in the documents.

Matsch ruled that detailed billing statements of McVeigh’s defense lawyers should remain sealed, but he did permit the release of expense vouchers submitted by McVeigh’s lawyers.

Nichols is now serving a life sentence for the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and McVeigh was executed earlier this year for his participation in the bombing.

(U.S. v. McVeigh; Media counsel: Bob Nelon, Hall Estill, Oklahoma City) AG

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