U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced at a Friday afternoon press conference in Washington that the execution of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, scheduled for next Wednesday, will be delayed for 30 days, until June 11. "As painful as that may be to our nation," Ashcroft said of his decision, "it is my responsibility and duty to promote and to protect the integrity of our system of justice." The announcement came one day after the FBI disclosed that it had failed to turn over more than 3,000 documents to McVeigh's defense during the discovery phase of his trial. The Bureau has said that the documents do not in any way contradict McVeigh's guilt, a fact Ashcroft underscored. But he said the delay would allow McVeigh's attorneys "to take any action they deem appropriate." In the recently published book "American Terrorist" by Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, McVeigh claimed sole responsibility for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 people and injured hundreds. Since December, when he first asked to end his appeals, McVeigh, 33, has not shown any interest in fighting his conviction or death sentence. On Friday, immediately before Ashcroft's announcement, McVeigh's former attorney, Christopher Tritico, told CNN that McVeigh, who is now on death row at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., is "miffed" about the recent turn of events, because he is ready to die.
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