by Bill Johnson
OKLAHOMA CITY --
its one-year anniversary in June after hearing from more than 100 witnesses, the county
grand jury investigating the federal building bombing has told the lawyer who defended Timothy McVeigh that he will be summoned to testify.
"I will challenge it first on the basis of lawyer-client privilege," Stephen Jones said in an interview last Sunday.
Lawyers are protected by that privilege from having to divulge anything they were told by a client. Jones was McVeigh's lawyer when the former soldier was sentenced to death for the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.
McVeigh has since lashed out at Jones and fired him as his attorney.
Jones also said he would challenge the grand jury's subpoena under the state's so-called Shield Law, which is designed to protect journalists.
Asked whether the Shield Law also could apply to lawyers, Jones said, "It does to me. I served as a commentator after the trial and I am writing a book."
Jones has said his book will not deal with any revelations from McVeigh concerning the bombing but with the role of the government.
"I don't think people will look at their government in the same way" after they read the book, Jones has said.
Jones also made a similar statement early in McVeigh's trial, saying once he presented his evidence, no one would look at the government the same way. He did not follow though with any proof.
Jones said several weeks ago he anticipated he would be called before the grand jury because he had defended McVeigh. He was turned down, however, when he asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for money with which to hire an attorney to defend him against the expected subpoena.
Jones said Sunday he did not know when he would be called, "but it probably will be in May or June."
theorists believe there were more people involved in
the bombing than the two brought to trial. In addition to McVeigh, Terry
Nichols was convicted of helping to plan the bombing and of eight counts
of involuntary manslaughter. He is awaiting sentencing.
Some also believe the federal government at least knew in advance that the bombing was going to take place and, at worst, actually participated.
State Rep. Charles Key (R - Oklahoma City), saying he wanted to get to the bottom of any conspiracy, circulated the petitions that resulted in the Oklahoma County grand jury that is investigating the bombing.
Key said recently that regardless of whether the grand jury returns any indictments, he now wants a congressional investigation of the bombing.
Key has said he was not out to push a conspiracy theory, even though he is selling a video tape outlining some conspiracy theories and has traveled extensively to speak before various organizations.
The Daily Oklahoman reported last month that, in one week, Key missed 96 votes that were taken in the state House of Representatives. Key said he was in Washington, D.C., gathering information he wanted to present to the grand jury.
Key has said that he has met with some members of Congress to discuss a congressional investigation. He declined to name those members.
While saying he would push for a congressional investigation regardless of what the grand jury does, Key did say he was worried that the grand jury might not return any indictments.
Key said that could come to pass should there be a "hostile juror" who was "influenced by ideology or the federal government" and did not want to vote for indictments. That one juror could influence three or four others, which would eliminate the chance for any indictments, he said.
Key added that he had no information there was any "hostile juror."
Oklahoma City police Lt. Bill Martin ppeared before the grand jury last month and denied he ever told a publication that additional explosives were found in the building.
Martin was quoted in Relevance, which is found on the Internet, as saying a month after the bombing that containers of mercury fulminate were found in the building after the truck bomb went off.
"What they attributed to me is a complete falsehood," Martin told reporters after appearing before the grand jury. "I never heard of mercury fulminate before that article came out."
was Melissa Erhard, a bindery worker at the
Journal Record building less than a block from the federal building. She
said she was sitting and smoking a cigarette on the south side of the
Journal Record when the bomb went off.
Another person who was outside at the time was Gary Lewis, a printer at the Journal Record. Key has said Lewis saw McVeigh in a car and that there was a passenger with him.
Lewis, who testified earlier, said the FBI showed him a picture of the car McVeigh was driving, and it was not the car he saw.
Erhard said she did not see either McVeigh or the car.
Other recent documents given to the grand jury were the records of 911 emergency calls the Police Department received the day of the bombing. They were taken to the jury by police Sgt. Joe Hill, a records keeper for the 911 communications unit, who spent about 75 minutes with the grand jury.
The 911 documents became an issue after Key told the grand jury that a 911 operator had received a call saying he had overheard plans being made to bomb a federal building.
Calena Flo Groves, the 911 operator who received the call, appeared before the grand jury last month. She said afterward she testified that the person who called did not mention the federal building in reporting the alleged threat. She said the call was received 10 days before the bombing.
Groves, who now works at police headquarters, said she contacted Key and his Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee about the call.
Several other police officers also have testified about the phone call.
the latest grand jury witnesses was Lana Tyree, an Oklahoma
City lawyer, who asked to appear to counter testimony from another
witness, Reserve Deputy Sheriff Don Hammons.
Hammons said he told the grand jury that Tyree had told him she visited the bomb site with U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Oklahoma), and that Istook told her the federal government had advance knowledge of the bombing.
Another reserve deputy, David Kochendorfer, told the grand jury Istook told him there was advance knowledge. Istook also appeared before the grand jury to deny the allegation.
Tyree, who spent nearly three hours with the grand jury, said she didn't even visit the bomb site with Istook.
"Neither one of those deputy sheriffs had any conversation with me," Tyree said.
Also appearing recently was Dale Birchfield, an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent, who denied he had given any information to freelance writer J.D. Cash of Idabel. Cash told the grand jury that Birchfield was one of the sources for the bombing articles he wrote for The McCurtain Daily Gazette.
witnesses said they saw McVeigh in Oklahoma City at the
time the government said he was elsewhere gathering supplies for the bomb.
Among them was Arlene Blanchard, a former Army recruiter. She said she
shared an elevator with McVeigh in the federal building several months
before the bombing.
Claude Criss, a private investigator working with attorneys in civil lawsuits filed by bombing victims, said he told the grand jury he saw bomb-sniffing dogs working with their handlers near the federal building about an hour before the bombing.
Criss said he also saw what he thought was an unusually high number of law enforcement officers attending the annual prayer breakfast, which ended an hour before the bomb went off. The prayer breakfast was held at the Myriad convention center several blocks from the federal building.
Paul Heath, a licensed psychologist with the Veterans Affairs Office in the federal building, said he told the grand jury a man identifying himself as McVeigh came to his office about 30 days before the bombing in search of a construction job. Heath has said the Veterans Administration has no records of a person named McVeigh visiting the office.
Heath said the man was accompanied by two other men. He described one of them as being "half-Mexican, half-American, possibly a South American or foreign national." The FBI and county investigators also have questioned Heath.
Albion Monitor May 2, 1998 (http://www.monitor.net/monitor)
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