“You need to know that Eric Holder…played a key role in covering up the torture-murder death of my brother, Kenneth Michael Trentadue.”
This is what Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue wrote in December 2008 to prospective incoming chairman of the Senate Justice Committee, Patrick Leahy. The newly elected Barack Obama had made Holder his choice for Attorney General and Trentadue was going to do everything in his power to stop this shameful appointment from going forward.
Kenneth Trentadue was killed in Oklahoma City on August 21, 1995, four months after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building. He had been taken into custody by the FBI and placed in an isolation cell at a federal facility in El Reno, Oklahoma.
The official government report on cause of death presented to Trentadue’s family stated that Kenneth had hanged himself in his cell. But massive bruises and lacerations all over his body compelled even the Oklahoma City medical examiner to state “very likely he was murdered.”
Unable to get satisfactory information from government officials on what had happened to his brother, in 1997 Jesse Trentadue filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the Department of Justice. In it, Trentadue made the extraordinary claim that the Department had hidden and “destroyed evidence that would have exposed my brother’s murderers.”
As a result of that lawsuit, in 2001 the Trentadue family was awarded $1.1 million, and the federal judge indeed later ruled that “the FBI had lied in court…and destroyed evidence.”