Oklahoma City bombing prosecutor reflects on event, ties to nominee for Attorney General in week of insurrection

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol brought heartbreak and shock, it also brought feelings all too familiar to Oklahomans.

The Oklahoma City Bombing was 25 years ago but those feelings are still fresh.

KFOR spoke with a representatives from the Memorial Museum and a prosecutor who was in the courtroom after the bombing about the ties to this week’s events and the newly-appointed U.S. Attorney General for the incoming administration.

“Who would have ever expected a terrorist attack would happen in Oklahoma City, one of the most peaceful communities in the world?” said Pat Ryan.

Ryan was sworn in to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office two weeks after the bombing. He spent a year and a half meeting with the families of victims before the trials.

“By the time you do that all day long for a year or so and you’re going be emotionally scarred,” Ryan said. “Twenty-five years later, you should be beyond this, but it is what it is.”

Strong feelings reemerged this week at the Oklahoma City National Memorial as a mob stormed its way into the U.S. Capitol.

“People were taking part in a law-abiding way of taking part in government as we saw here 25 years ago at the Capitol [Wednesday], and yet terrorists – domestic terrorists – decided they would go and change lives for all of us,” said Kari Watkins, Executive Director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum.

Federal lawmakers have called for those rioters to face criminal charges, something that will likely happen under the next U.S. Attorney General.

President-elect Joe Biden announced his nominee this week, Judge Merrick Garland, a man with strong ties to the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.

Biden called Garland “a man of impeccable integrity.”

Garland’s time in Janet Reno’s office made him no stranger to major events on U.S. soil.

“You had the Unabomber thing that was going on during that same time. You had the Oklahoma City Bombing, Waco and Randy Weaver and all this stuff,” said Ryan.

Ryan worked closely with Garland and says he’s fit for this moment of division.

“I have no idea how you prosecute – I don’t know how many people were involved in the storming of the Capitol – but if anybody can sort through it, he’ll be able to do it fairly,” Ryan said. “You won’t need to worry whether he’s going to make some kind of a political decision as Attorney General. He won’t.”

Biden says Garland will work independently, loyally to the Constitution not to him.

Garland says he wouldn’t have agreed to be considered for Attorney General under any other condition.

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