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Federal judge to decide if FBI must search further for surveillance video of Oklahoma City bombing

Federal government says requested video doesn’t exist.
by Nolan Clay Published: July 28, 2014
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A federal judge in Utah is set to begin hearing testimony Monday to determine if the FBI must search again for something it says doesn’t exist — a surveillance videotape showing the Oklahoma City bombing.

Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue contends in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the FBI either did not search hard enough for the videotape or is deliberately withholding it.

Trentadue for years has undertaken his own investigation into the bombing, driven by grief over his brother’s death at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center in August 1995.

He believes guards mistook his brother, a convicted bank robber, for a bombing suspect. He contends the guards killed his brother during an interrogation. The official cause of his brother’s death is listed as suicide.

The attorney is seeking a videotape that he says shows bomber Timothy McVeigh and another person delivering the truck bomb to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on the morning of April 19, 1995. He has told the FBI he suspects the other person was “an FBI operative.”

He bases his claim in part on a U.S Secret Service time line that refers to a security videotape showing “suspects” exiting the truck three minutes and six seconds before detonation. He intends to put the time line into evidence.

He also intends to put into evidence records showing that the FBI was told in October 1995 by a confidential source that an FBI agent in Los Angeles was trying to sell a videotape of McVeigh and another man exiting the bomb truck.

The source said the agent was asking “Dateline,” an NBC news show, for $1 million for the videotape, according to the records.

“What I learned growing up in the coal fields is that you fight even when you know you can’t win,” Trentadue, 67, told The Associated Press. “Because you have to make a stand on some things. Justice for my brother is certainly one of them.”

The FBI in 2009 released to Trentadue 29 surveillance video recordings from security cameras at the Oklahoma City Public Library, the U.S. Post Office, Southwestern Bell and the Regency Tower apartment building.

None show the actual explosion or anyone exiting the bomb truck. The FBI claims it did not recover any security video from the Murrah Building itself.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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