SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were involved in the 1995 attack.
Additional searches for videos that Salt Lake City lawyer Jesse Trentadue believes are being withheld would be burdensome and fruitless, FBI attorney Kathryn Wyer argued during the first day of a bench trial.
Trentadue says the agency is refusing to release videos that show a second person was with Timothy McVeigh when he parked a truck outside the Oklahoma City federal building and detonated a bomb that killed 168 people. The government says McVeigh was alone.
The 30 video recordings the FBI has released don't show the explosion or McVeigh's arrival in a rental truck.
"The plaintiff has refused to accept that the 30 tapes he got are the only tapes," Wyer said.
The FBI already has provided videos and paper documents that correspond with Trentadue's Freedom of Information Act request, she said.
But unsatisfied by the FBI's previous explanations and citing the public importance of the tapes, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups has ordered the agency to explain why it can't find videos that are mentioned in evidence logs.
Linda Vernon, a longtime FBI employee who became the point person for the collection of evidence after the bombing, said she is "completely confident" the agency has found every video of the bombing that exists.
The trial continues Tuesday and will run at least through Wednesday before the judge makes a ruling. He could wait until a later date to decide.
If Trentadue wins at trial, he hopes to be able to search for the tapes himself rather than having to accept the FBI's answer that they don't exist.
Trentadue believes the presence of a second suspect explains why his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, was flown to Oklahoma several months after the bombing, where he died in a federal holding cell. Kenneth Trentadue bore a striking resemblance to a police sketch based on witness descriptions of the enigmatic suspect "John Doe No. 2," who was never identified.
Trentadue is acting as his own attorney and tried to show that the FBI has not adequately followed up on information that could lead to the discovery of other videos.
He asked Monica Mitchell of the FBI about why the agency had not done more to search for a tape mentioned in a Secret Service log. It describes security video footage of suspects — in plural — exiting the truck three minutes before the bomb went off.
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