SALT LAKE CITY — The trial over evidence and conspiracy theories from the Oklahoma City bombing wrapped up in Salt Lake City, with a shocking twist.
According to KSTU, the trial is over documents and a videotape the FBI allegedly had from the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people ended on Thursday.
Jesse Trentadue, who claims his brother was killed in an interrogation by federal agents when he was mistaken for a bombing co-conspirator, is suing for the records.
The Salt Lake City man says his requests under the Freedom of Information Act for surveillance tapes from around the bomb site have not been fulfilled.
He claims there is a videotape which shows a Ryder truck pulling up to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on the morning of April 19, 1995, pulling into a stall and two people walking away from it.
Three minutes later, Trentadue claims, the bomb goes off.
“It shows two people at the scene and the government says it only shows one,” Trentadue said. “McVeigh and one suspect. That second suspect may be one of their undercover guys.”
The FBI insists the videotape simply does not exist. Today they called three retired FBI agents who worked the Oklahoma City bombing investigation to the witness stand. Each of them insisted no such tape existed.
To bolster his case, Trentadue introduced into evidence an FBI lead sheet that had been heavily redacted. It claims that the ATF and FBI had “prior knowledge of the bomb” and the agencies had attempted to set up a “sting operation and did not take the bomb threat seriously.”
The trial stems from Trentadue’s overall case against the government over the death of his brother, Kenneth.
In 1995, Kenneth was picked up in Oklahoma on a parole violation. Jesse Trentadue alleges his brother was mistaken for an Oklahoma City bombing co-conspirator and beaten to death during an interrogation.
However, the FBI insists Kenneth Trentadue hung himself in his prison cell.
The FBI claims they have provided Jesse Trentadue with everything he has asked for and everything they have.
During the trial, Trentadue claimed one of his witnesses had been told not to show up – or else.
Trentadue said John Matthews, whom he claimed worked as an undercover government operative in the militia movement in the 1990s, had been contacted by an FBI agent and told “it would be best if he didn’t show up to testify.”
“He was told he should take a vacation and that if he did testify he should suffer from a case of the ‘I don’t remembers,’” Trentadue told U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups.
Trentadue told KSTU that Matthews had known convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh and had worked for the government in an operation targeting the patriot militia movement known as “PATCOM.”
“He was part of an operation the FBI ran for a decade during the ’90s where they would infiltrate, and it’s questionable whether they incited the right wing,” he told KSTU.
FBI lawyers denied the allegation and said it was Matthews who had contacted them asking how he could get out of testifying. Lawyers told the judge Matthews could not be located to testify.
“This is a serious accusation,” Judge Waddoups said.
The judge ordered the FBI agent who spoke with Matthews to appear before him next month in a hearing to ferret out the truth.
“The government spent 20 years and who knows how much money to cover up this ugly story,” Jesse Trentadue told KSTU. “And the ugly story is there is no doubt the FBI knew at least four months in advance the Murrah Building was going to be bombed and didn’t stop it.”
Judge Waddoups took Jesse Trentadue’s FOIA lawsuit under advisement. A ruling is expected by the end of the year.