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Judge Says He Can't Sentence Fortier

Nation IN BRIEF : OKLAHOMA

September 23, 1997|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A federal judge withdrew from the sentencing of Michael Fortier, a witness in the Oklahoma City bombing trials, because he thought his impartiality might be questioned. Chief U.S. District Judge David L. Russell has held on to the case since Fortier pleaded guilty in August 1995 to four felonies tied to the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. But Russell stepped down after reviewing a 1995 federal appeals court ruling barring Oklahoma judges from handling the case against Timothy McVeigh, who was sentenced to death for the 1995 bombing. Fortier pleaded guilty to conspiring with McVeigh to take stolen guns from Kansas to Arizona in 1994.

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