OKC BOMBING FALLOUT
Network: Remove gag
from terror witnesses
CBS asks court to release papers, allow parties to speak about attack
Lawyers for CBS Broadcasting Inc. have filed a motion in U.S. district court asking a federal judge to vacate an earlier order prohibiting parties associated with the Oklahoma City bombing case from talking to the press or releasing documents pertaining to it, WorldNetDaily has learned.
"Time has passed; circumstances have changed; the fair trials considerations properly taken into account by the court in entering the non-disclosure order in 1996 no longer apply," the motion said, according to The McCurtain Daily Gazette newspaper, which first published details yesterday.
The Oklahoma City-based law firm of Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden and Nelon is handling the case for CBS, according to the motion. Robert Nelon is the attorney coordinating the case; a spokeswoman in his office confirmed to WND that the case was filed Wednesday.
"As a result of the non-disclosure order, the information available to the public about the Oklahoma City bombing has generally been limited to the public record or developed through enterprise journalism from sources not participating in these criminal proceedings," said the motion, filed with U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch in Denver, the judge who issued the non-disclosure ruling and who presided over the OKC bombing trials.
Even though "[Timothy] McVeigh and [Terry] Nichols" – the only two persons charged and convicted in the OKC bombing incident – "have been tried and convicted," CBS believes "there is much that is not yet public about the bombing and the course and result of the government's investigation of it."
McVeigh was executed June 11.
"CBS seeks to lift the barrier that prevents those willing to discuss the bombing from doing so or those in possession of documents about the bombing from disclosing them," said the motion.
"Whatever questions may linger" about OKC, the motion continued, "and whatever the court's view may be of the wisdom of asking them, there is no longer any reason to require the non-disclosure of information as ordered on June 13, 1996."
The paper said a ruling by Matsch is expected soon.
Meanwhile, a similar legal battle has begun for evidence in the OKC bombing case in another federal courtroom in Oklahoma City.
The McCurtain paper said there is controversy between "a freelance journalist and the FBI" over access to "unpublished details and evidence involving the bombing – details the FBI admits it has withheld for years."
"Contained in declarations filed by attorneys for the FBI, the agency concedes it has located at least 300 documents containing some 1,400 pages of interagency memoranda involving bombing-related matters that have never been released to anyone – not even the defendant's attorneys or officials in the state of Oklahoma," said the paper.
Analysts told the paper that the motion filed by CBS could ultimately affect a number of Freedom of Information Act requests that have been filed by several news organizations seeking more information about the bombing.
"CBS and other media cannot effectively report in depth on issues of public concern like that Oklahoma City bombing if sources of information are prohibited from speaking," said the Denver district court motion. "The non-disclosure order necessarily impedes the ability of CBS to gather information – an interest of CBS protected by the First Amendment."
The network produces a number of news programs, including "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather"; "60 Minutes"; "60 Minutes II"; and "48 Hours."
Get complete up-to-date coverage on the OKC bombing by visiting WND's Oklahoma City bombing page.
Jon E. Dougherty is a staff reporter and columnist for WorldNetDaily, and author of the special report, "Election 2000: How the Military Vote Was Suppressed."
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