(30 Mar 1997) English/Nat

Jury selection begins Monday in Denver, Colorado for the trial of Timothy McVeigh – who’s accused of blowing up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, killing 168 and injuring hundreds more.

Heightened security measures and final preparations are underway for one of the biggest cases in recent American history.

UPSOUND: Denver radio host talking about the trial

Tight police presence and signs around downtown Denver suggest a major event is impending.

The case billed as the next big legal event on the media – after the O.J. Simpson murder trial – begins here Monday.

Police and federal agents are meticulously monitoring the area.

Barricades block the streets and sidewalks surrounding the courthouse, and more were put up as the weekend progressed.

Few details are known about security plans.

But a Denver Police spokesperson says enough information has been told to local residents without compromising their strategy.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
"We’ve tried to put the citizens at ease, explaining what we’ve done, not giving out every bit of information in our plans, but just to put people at ease, what we’ve looked at almost every scenario we can think of, planned for that, and we feel we’re ready to take on the trial."
SUPER CAPTION: Sergeant Mark Lewis, Denver Police Department

And if the police are ready to take on the trial, so are the media.

Hundreds of journalists lined up outside the courthouse Friday to get their credentials to cover the trial.

An estimated two-thousand news persons from across the nation and abroad have applied for credentials.

A consortium of media groups has worked for months with court and security officials ensuring the event doesn’t bear any resemblance to the media coverage surrounding the O.J. Simpson trial.

Late last week, Denver’s Mayor declared the city ready to host the trial, and willing to spend the estimated half a (m)million U-S dollars on it.

Mayor Wellington Webb says Denver is prepared to host high-security situations.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
"There is always the unknown, but we’ve tried to anticipate as much as possible. But after having the Pope here, and the emperor of Japan, and Prime Minister and Mrs.Rabin, we’re prepared as any law enforcement agency could be."
SUPER CAPTION:Wellington Webb, Mayor of Denver

Meanwhile, the citizens of Denver are preparing for the bombing trial in other ways.

The city’s largest blood bank has called out to blood donors to help boot the local supply, in anticipation of a possible incident after the trial begins.

Officials with Bonfils Blood say they want to build extra reserves, at least 25-hundred extra units, by the time McVeigh goes on trial.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
"We don’t want to panic people, but we do want to educate people on the importance of a blood center and the role that we play in the community whenever we have a large volume of people that come into an isolated area, we have to be prepared for any type of scenario, if that’s a plane crash, a car accident, if a national disaster happens, we have to be ready and prepared and have our systems in place to meet the needs of the community."
SUPER CAPTION:Zane DeHerrera, Director of Communications, Bonfils Blood Center

Everyone involved in this trial, from local officials, federal authorities, and victims of the bombing in Oklahoma, say this Denver Community has been extraordinarily helpful in helping ensure everything goes smoothly.

he hopes that the most appropriate memorial will be a fair trial in which justice is seen to be done.

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Author: admin