Oklahoma suspect cashes in

US/ McVeigh 'the next OJ'

THE MAN charged with the Oklahoma City bombing, Timothy McVeigh, looks as if he is preparing to follow OJ Simpson's example and transform his notoriety into profit.

He took the first step last week by granting an interview to Newsweek, which featured him in soulful close-up on the cover. Tutored by his lawyer, Stephen Jones, he transformed himself from stony-faced mass-murderer to all-American boy next door.

McVeigh portrayed himself as a wholesome young man with a firm handshake who played sports as a kid; helped dad in the vegetable garden; worked in a fast-food outlet; fought in Desert Storm.

Mr Jones, anxious not to blow his chance of wealth and fame, went so far as to call him a "wonder boy". Teasingly, Jones said his client had not quite made up his mind which celebrity anchor would land the coveted first TV interview.

Once that happens the book, the movie, the T-shirts, the bumper stickers, the plastic McVeigh doll in camouflage dress will not be far behind. The money made from the Simpson trial had exceeded the gross national product of Grenada by March, according to the Wall Street Journal.

At least 15 Simpson-related books have been published so far, including his own I want to tell you and one by Kato Kaelin, the famously inane prosecution witness, which has so far sold 800,000 copies.

There is no reason why McVeigh should not get on the gravy train. And there's every reason to believe that's where Stephen Jones wishes to put him.

McVeigh already fulfils the first requirement for success in the American bazaar: instant fame. Best of all, he is an enigma, possibly a mass-murdering enigma, who according to the FBI hit upon a particularly perverse device to realise the American dream of rising from middle class obscurity to the status of an overnight celebrity, a household name.

His autobiography, however banal, would net a fortune. As would books by his father, sister, mother, best friend - and lawyer.

As for the actual business of providing McVeigh with a decent defence, here again Jones is aping the example of his more celebrated Simpson trial peers. OJ's lawyers, Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran et al, went out of their way before the trial began to spread the idea of their client's innocence as far and wide as is the reach of the American media. For a potential juror to have missed the onslaught he would have had to be away on Mars or, at any rate, in the Amazon jungle.

Jones followed up the Newsweek interview by releasing to the press at large 13 pleasingly well-lit cover-boy photographs of McVeigh and a video for use on the nation's TV networks. Already he has planted a seed of doubt that did not exist in the American public following what the lawyer called the "Niagara Falls of vilification" from the FBI.

And he has put down his first deposit on what should turn out to be one of the year's better showbiz investments.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst

£400 - £500 per day: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Logistics/WMS - Immedia...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000

£34000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Bus...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - eCommerce - OTE £100k

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning digital age...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable