Excerpts from comments by Timothy J. McVeigh's lawyers Rob Nigh and Richard Burr on Thursday after meeting with him in the federal prison at Terre Haute, Ind.
"Mr. McVeigh has given us permission to seek a stay of execution on his behalf. This decision was not easy for Mr. McVeigh. He had prepared to die and he was ready to die on May 16 of 2001. He had previously indicated he preferred death to life in prison without the possibility of release. It is upon principle Mr. McVeigh has decided to seek court relief and it is based upon the government's failure to produce evidence in his case. He is convinced that the Department of Justice and the FBI will not otherwise be held to account unless he takes this action.
"Mr. McVeigh . . . recognizes the impact his decision may have upon his family, the victims in the Oklahoma City bombing case, the community of Terre Haute and others. His decision in no way stems from a desire to cause these people any additional pain or trauma.
"There is a very long and old doctrine that the Supreme Court has articulated periodically because it doesn't happen very often, that when a fraud upon the court has been perpetrated by one of the parties to a legal proceeding, any judgment that the court makes is void. The papers that we file today will be arguing to [U.S. District] Judge [Richard P.] Matsch that a fraud upon the court has been committed by the federal government in withholding massive numbers of documents from the defense and in continuing to withhold numbers of documents . . . .
"We don't know how massive, but we are certain and if given an opportunity by Judge Matsch we will prove that there are still critical documents about this investigation being withheld by the FBI. Some of those documents may well be being kept in other case files, but it is quite clear to us that people have been investigated carefully by the FBI and they have never produced one piece of paper concerning those people. And we must get to the bottom of this. This proceeding is designed to do that.
"Two requests will accompany these papers today.
"One is for a stay of execution pending the disposition of this entire proceeding. And the other is that the court hold an evidentiary hearing where the fraud upon the court can be examined carefully and exposed completely."
"There are some people that we are just now discovering were investigated that we did not know about. That knowledge comes from the new documents that have come since the middle of May. There are people that we have known about . . . that we had anticipated we would see paper on . . . and there is nothing."
"Certainly we want a stay of execution until it can be determined with certainty by an objective fact finder what information has been withheld by the FBI and whether it would have an impact on the integrity of the verdict."
". . . In Terry Nichols' trial . . . a witness . . . testified about seeing a Ryder truck and four other vehicles at Geary Lake state fishing park in Kansas the day before the bombing. One of the vehicles was loaded with many, many bags of what appeared to be fertilizer . . . ; in interviews after Mr. Nichols' trial many of them said, 'We decided not to sentence him to death because we believed on the basis of that one witness' testimony there were other people involved.' "
"There is nothing in the record that Judge Matsch will have to review concerning any statements by Mr. McVeigh."