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Court Blocks McVeigh Videotaping

June 8, 2001

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A federal appeals court on Friday overturned a judge’s order that Timothy McVeigh’s execution be videotaped.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Maurice B. Cohill had granted the request to videotape McVeigh’s execution, set for Monday. The request came from lawyers in an unrelated case who are trying to show that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

It was the second action on the request in the court Friday. Before the full court ruled, 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Joseph Weis Jr. had blocked the videotaping order until a panel of three circuit judges in Philadelphia could consider it.

The Justice Department is fighting against any videotaping, citing a federal regulation that prohibits any photographic, visual or audio recording of executions.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said on CNN that the prohibition ``is the right policy and we will do everything in our power to sustain that regulation.″

McVeigh’s execution by injection in Terre Haute, Ind., will be the first federal application of the death penalty since 1963.

McVeigh lawyer Chris Tritico said that a defense attorney in the Pennsylvania case contacted him to ask if McVeigh would mind the videotaping.

``I discussed it with my client,″ Tritico said on CNN. ``He said he would not oppose the videotaping or the use of it in that case.″

The ruling by Cohill involves a federal death penalty case against Joseph Minerd, who was charged with rigging the pipe bomb that killed his ex-girlfriend and her daughter. Minerd was charged under the federal arson and bombing law that was also used in the Oklahoma City bombing case.

Weis said the tape would be used as a record that would potentially be shown to a jury, but would not be distributed.

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