The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 14, 1997 · Page 6
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 6

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 14, 1997
Page 6
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AB WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 1997 T OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING TRIAL NATION THE SALINA JOURNAL Fortier calm in face of scathing cross-examination The Associated Press Michael Fortier answers questions Tuesday from defense attorney Stephen Jones. T TWA EXPLOSION Defense attorney accuses star witness of changing his story By KAREN ABBOTT Script's Howard News Service DENVER — Stephen Jones wrapped up a scathing cross-examination of Michael Fortier Tuesday by accusing the star Oklahoma bombing case witness of changing his story to please prosecutors and save his own skin. The 28-year-old Fortier, an admitted drug dealer and thief who told jurors Monday he knew about Timothy McVeigh's bomb plot in advance, tried to blunt Jones' searing questions with patient, matter-of-fact answers. A calm "No sir," was Fortier's most common response to Jones in the second day of a cross-examination that lasted longer than his direct testimony Monday against his former Army buddy. Jones quizzed Fortier about his testimony Monday that he thought McVeigh planned to go to Colorado to join a radical white supremacist group. Jones said the FBI's interview records didn't show Fortier ever told government agents about that. He hinted Fortier made it up after the case moved to Colorado. "Is that something you just remembered," Jones asked, "to kind of prejudice us with the jury?" "No sir," Fortier said. McVeigh is on trial in federal court here in the April 19, 1995, bombing of Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Dressed in a gray suit, a blue button-down shirt and a blue-and- gray tie, Fortier denied changing his story, hairstyle, attire or way of speaking to impress the jury. "I've always spoken this way, my speech hasn't changed," he said. Jones reminded him that government microphones hidden in his trailer home after the bombing recorded him using foul language. "Of course, I'm curbing my language," Fortier said. "I'm not going to sit here and curse in front of all these people." Jones produced forms Fortier had filled out in 1994 to buy a se- mi-automatic pistol, a rifle and a revolver. On all of them, Fortier swore falsely that he wasn't a drug user — a felony, according to warnings on the forms. Fortier's matter-of-fact acknowledgment: "I've committed this crime." Jones read Fortier the transcript of a conversation Fortier had with his wife, Lori, in their Kingman, Ariz., home. Secret government microphones recorded the conversation, which took place before the Fortiers testified against McVeigh before an Oklahoma grand jury. In that conversation, Michael Fortier expressed his fears about testifying. "If you say one little thing that doesn't correspond — " he said. "Well, correspond it all," Lori Fortier told him. When he asked how, she laughed. Michael Fortier denied Tuesday that they were planning to tailor- make their stories. Jones suggested that each Fortier was willing to sacrifice the other to escape a death penalty for the bombing. He read FBI reports on an interview with the couple a month after the bombing, in which agents twice left them alone to talk privately. When the agents returned, they asked the Fortiers if they wanted to correct their previous statements, in which they had denied all knowledge of the bombing. Salinger renews claim that missile downed TWA plane Journalist calls for congressional probe of TWA Flight 800 By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Pierre Salinger called for a congressional investigation Tuesday into questions he has raised about the explosion of TWA Flight 800. Salinger spoke at a news conference with author James Sanders, promoting Sanders' book. The book contends the disaster last July, SALINGER which killed all 230 people aboard the Paris-bound flight, resulted from a missile strike. Salinger and Sanders repeated their belief that a mystery blip on the official radar tape of the sky just before the plane exploded could be a missile. FBI chief investigator James Kallstrom has ridiculed that claim, saying the radar blip was an unarmed Navy plane passing 7,000 feet above the jetliner. Glen Schulze, an aviation investigator, asserted that Kallstrom had misinterpreted the symbols on the radar image. "What they're (the FBI) saying is wrong, what we're saying is "The evidence as we have developed it today, and particularly the evidence that we have not found, would lead the inquiry toward the conclusion that this was a catastrophic mechanical failure." Louis Freeh FBI director right," Salinger said. "The Senate Intelligence Committee should have hearings and bring in people who have been hidden away by the government," said Salinger, insisting that there has been a conspiracy to cover up involvement of a Navy missile in the disaster. The group did not address how such a massive coverup could have continued for 10 months after a disaster that has been investigated by both the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board and has drawn widespread media and public scrutiny. Sanders' book, "The Downing of TWA Flight 800," contends that federal officials informed the White House a missile was in- Limited selection IAROLE LITTLE [• DANI MAX • CLIO • DRESSES •BIG & TALL MENSWEAR 'GREETING CARDS (limited selection) 1 MENS & 1 LADIES PRIVATE LABEL WOMENS PLUS-SIZE SPORTSWEAR k fromMair& Dept. Stores 2501 Market Place 1 Block South of Magnolia & 9th (Across From Mid State Mall) Now Closed Every TUESDAYI New Merchandise 10 A.M. WED. KITCHENS! 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"The evidence as we have developed it today, and particularly the evidence that we have not found, would lead the inquiry toward the conclusion that this was a catastrophic mechanical failure," Freeh said. He said the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board hope to release their final report on the crash by mid- or late summer. Salinger served briefly as a senator from California. HAIL DAMAGE? SAVE MONEY • SAVE TIME • SAVE FACTORY PAINT In Business Since 1991 • Insurance Approved NO PAINT! NOBONDO! SAME DAY SERVICE IN MOST CASES! FREE ESTIMATE Stop By Today! Cft) Member Chamber of Commerce ated At Royal Tire Co. rd & Broadway Streets (913)820-0300 Cellular In Bloom. ansas OFF FEE MOTOROLA 'nfflB it 9T, .FROM OFF The Kansas Cellular gardens are in bloom and everything's coming up cellular! And nobody knows how to grow cellular better than Kansas Cellular. Only Kansas Cellular provides you with ONE statewide supersystem that's grown to 113 towers covering 95 counties. 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