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Court: Terry Nichols May Present Evidence of Wider Conspiracy

This could be good news for the Terry Nichols defense team. The judge has ruled that he may present evidence of a wider conspiracy in the Oklahoma bombing if he can back it up with specific overt acts.

Mr. Nichols is going to be allowed to present his defense," Taylor said, ruling that prosecution motions to prevent Nichols from presenting evidence of other bombing suspects were premature.

Defense attorney Mark A. Earnest said Nichols' defense team does not plan to offer the names of other conspirators. He said the defense wants to present circumstantial evidence that Timothy McVeigh conspired with others, possibly members of the Aryan Republican Army, a white supremacist group with anti-government views, to bomb the P. Murrah Federal Building. Defense attorneys say the conspiracy was set up to cast blame on Nichols and shield other conspirators.

If Nichols can establish others were involved with McVeigh, the jury might believe he had a lesser role, warranting a life sentence instead of death. The federal jury that convicted him gave him a life sentence. We still don't see how he can get a fair trial anywhere in Oklahoma, particularly in McAlester, a town filled with prison guards and munitions factory workers, but nonetheless, this is a crumb for the defense.

More than 350 potential jurors were sworn in yesterday. Jury selection (voir dire) begins March 1.

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