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Okla. City Bombing Judge Returns

November 1, 2001

DENVER (AP) _ U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, who presided over the main Oklahoma City bombing trials, was back on the bench barely six weeks after receiving a liver transplant.

The 71-year-old judge resumed his duties Wednesday without mentioning his health, his absence from the bench or anything else related to his liver transplant.

Matsch, who presided over the Denver trials of Timothy McVeigh and co-defendant Terry Nichols in 1997, had been working in his chambers and at home for weeks. Court officials revealed he had briefly returned last week for a criminal hearing.

Matsch had spent about a year on a waiting list for a liver transplant and was at the top of the list when he was hospitalized at University Hospital in Denver in August. A month later, he got the transplant.

The judge had battled primary sclerosing cholangitis, an inflammatory condition that restricts bile ducts, causing a buildup of fluid that can lead to infections.

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