News Release ~ 03/19/2002

Report on withheld evidence in McVeigh case raises more questions than it answers

Destruction of documents compared to Enron 

Washington, DC (March 19, 2002) -- In response to the report issued today by the Justice Department''s Office of the Inspector General regarding the withholding of documents in the Timothy McVeigh case, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers President Irwin Schwartz issued the following statement:

"Enron documents were shredded at a time when subpoenas had been issued for them. In response, the Department of Justice indicted Arthur Andersen and likely will indict others. But in response to the FBI shredding documents in the Oklahoma City case, when a court order required that they be produced, the same Department of Justice absolves its star investigative agency and the personnel involved.

"Is this not a dual standard?

"When law enforcement officers shred materials that a court order required to be produced, in a case as notorious as the Oklahoma City case, we must wonder in how many other ''routine cases'' similar conduct occurred. If the Enron documents warranted prosecution, how can the same conduct by federal law enforcement officers be swept under the rug?" 

Irwin Schwartz is a criminal defense lawyer in Seattle. He can be reached at (206)623-5084 (office).

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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