U.S. judge hears dispute tied to Oklahoma City blastA Utah attorney who contends unreleased video and other records from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing will show more people were involved in the attack has asked a judge to decide if the FBI has complied with his federal freedom of information inquiry.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah attorney who contends unreleased video and other records from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing will show more people were involved in the attack has asked a judge to decide if the FBI has complied with his federal freedom of information inquiry.
Jesse Trentadue sued the FBI and the CIA in 2008 seeking release of tapes and records from the fatal bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building.
The lawsuit came two years after Trentadue first sought the information.
In papers filed in U.S. District Court, Trentadue contends the FBI's efforts to locate the information he wants have been inadequate, and he argues the bureau has failed to meet the requirements of the law that directs the release of government records.
A hearing was set for Wednesday in Salt Lake City before U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups.
Department of Justice attorneys have argued the case should be dismissed. They contend the relevant tapes and records either do not exist, have already been provided, can't be located or are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
In court filings, government attorneys say the bureau has met FOIA's requirements and even conducted a manual search last year through evidence from the bombing that is stored in an Oklahoma City warehouse.
“No additional responsive records were found,” the government states in a January court filing.
Specifically, Trentadue is seeking surveillance tapes taken the morning of the bombing from exterior cameras on the Murrah building and dashboard camera video from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol's arrest of Timothy McVeigh, who was later convicted of and executed for the bombing.
Trentadue asserts that the videos exist and will expose that others were involved in the terrorist attack that left 168 people dead.
“FBI defendants do no present the court with any proof that these tapes do not exist,” Trentadue wrote in court papers.
Trentadue's inquiry into the bombing was prompted by the death of his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center in August of that year. Trentadue claims his brother, a convicted bank robber, was mistaken for a bombing suspect and beaten during an interrogation by officers.
Officially, Kenneth Trentadue's death is considered a suicide, but his body had 41 wounds and bruises that his brother believes were the result of a beating. A judge awarded the Trentadue family $1.1 million in damages for extreme emotional distress in the government's handling of the death.
The CIA portion of Trentadue's case, which also included requests for possible involvement of foreign nationals in the bombing, was dismissed by Judge Waddoups in March 2010. The agency declined to provide the records, citing information act exemptions and national security concerns, but provided the judge with affidavits summarizing their contents.
In his ruling, the judge said the CIA had provided credible evidence of why the information met the exemptions. The case was the first public acknowledgement the CIA played a role in the bombing investigation.