OKC Prosecution Could Rest Next Week

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DENVER: After two weeks of testimony from 80 witnesses in the trial of Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh, sources tell TIME's Patrick Cole that the government could rest its case as early as next Friday. Originally, prosecutors had said it would take six to eight weeks to present their evidence from a line-up of 327 witnesses. "Prosecutors now feel they don't need to overprove this case," Cole says. "They don't want to bog down the jury with unnecessary details." The prosecution strongly believes that they are winning over jurors with the often powerfully emotional testimony presented so far, coupled with upcoming forensic evidence and testimony from Michael Fortier. "They are relying on the jury to use their common sense and connect the dots," Cole says. Friday's witnesses were a case in point. A Chinese food restaurant owner told the jury that four days before the bombing, a man named Robert Kling ordered delivery to the Dreamland Motel's room 25 - the same room that a motel clerk had testified earlier that McVeigh was staying in at the time. But on cross-examination, the restaurant owner acknowledged she could not prove that Kling was McVeigh as prosecutors allege; she never saw the man who called in the order, and the delivery driver didn't get a good look at him. Also Friday, jurors saw a videotape from a McDonald's security camera of Timothy McVeigh holding a fruit pie and checking his watch just before he allegedly walked to a body shop and rented the truck used in the Oklahoma City bombing. But again, the tape was just another piece of circumstantial evidence - not proof that McVeigh bombed the federal building. Says Cole: "While the government has done a masterful job at presenting the evidence at hand, prosecutors have yet to document McVeigh physically making the bomb. This is a key element that must be satisfied by the law." Another potential problem: Because the government has no witnesses placing McVeigh and no one else but McVeigh at the scene of the crime, prosecutors may have to rely on the accumulation of circumstantial evidence alone.