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A federal judge Monday refused to grant Terry L. Nichols a new trial in the Oklahoma City bombing, rejecting arguments that Nichols unfairly was denied the opportunity to follow up leads developed by the FBI.

U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch said the request exceeded "reasonable limits" on searches for evidence.

Defense attorney Michael E. Tigar told Matsch at a July hearing that the government has refused to turn over about 43,000 documents to the defense that he believed could contain enough information to justify a new trial for Nichols.

Prosecutors countered that they turned over 12,000 FBI files and that the other information would not have changed the verdict.

Nichols, 44, was convicted in 1997 of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 people. He is serving a life sentence. He faces a state trial in Oklahoma City on 160 state murder counts.

Timothy J. McVeigh, his former Army friend who was raised in Pendleton, N.Y., was convicted separately of murder and weapons counts and sentenced to die.

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