Terry Nichols claimed Monday he was set up by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
The new twist to his defense strategy was revealed in a court filing and at a pretrial hearing that followed jury orientation, according to the Oklahoman.
“The defense will argue that (bomber) Timothy McVeigh and his real accomplices set up Terry Nichols to take the blame,” his attorneys told the judge.
“Witnesses will be called to show that, while Mr. Nichols was at home in Kansas taking care of his family and building his business, Mr. McVeigh was actively recruiting and building a network of people who shared his violent hatred toward the federal government,” they said.
Nichols also claimed at his federal trial that others — not him — helped McVeigh blow up the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995. He was convicted in his federal case of the bombing plot.
The new attorneys for his state case plan to go a step further — claiming McVeigh cast “undue blame” on Nichols “while shielding the other conspirators.” They said, “Mr. Nichols does not intend to be bound by what was done by the defense in the federal case.”
Judge Steven Taylor said he will decide during the trial how much jurors will hear about “other suspects.” Prosecutors had asked him to set limits now. They argue such evidence is irrelevant.