Government’s star witness in Oklahoma bombing gets 12 years

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Michael Fortier, the government’s star witness in the Oklahoma City bombing case, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday after apologizing for not warning anyone as the deadly plot took shape.
Fortier, 29, had pleaded guilty to failing to tell anyone about the plot, lying to the FBI afterward, hiding evidence and trafficking in guns that were stolen to help pay for the April 19, 1995, attack on the Oklahoma City federal building that killed 168 people.
U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Van Bebber imposed the sentence after hearing pleas from victims’ relatives that he give Fortier the maximum for doing nothing to save their loved ones’ lives. The judge previously said he would start with a sentence of 14 to 17 years before taking into consideration Fortier’s cooperation with prosecutors.
The judge also fined Fortier $200,000 and ordered him to repay $4,001 to an Arkansas gun dealer whose weapons were stolen.
Fortier’s lawyers had argued that he deserved a big break for being “the mailman who delivered the evidence” against McVeigh and Terry Nichols. The defense asked for less than four years in prison; Fortier has already served nearly three.
Prosecutors had asked that the judge start with a sentence of 11 to 14 years and then give Fortier a “significant” break for his cooperation, but they did not say how much.
Fortier testified for the government at both Oklahoma City bombing trials.
He testified about hearing McVeigh talk of his hatred for the government and his plans to blow up the federal building because he believed the orders for the government siege at the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, were issued there.
Fortier’s wife testified that McVeigh explained his plans in their living room, using soup cans to show how to arrange the bomb for maximum damage.
Fortier also testified that he knew that explosives were being gathered and that McVeigh planned to park a getaway car to shield him from the blast.
McVeigh was sentenced to death. Nichols will be sentenced June 4 and could get life in prison.