While much of the prosecution’s case against Oklahoma bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh is already known, TIME has obtained information about a key piece of evidence that has not been publicly discussed. When officials searched McVeigh’s car shortly after the bombing, they found an envelope containing about a dozen documents, among them a copy of the Declaration of Independence and a quotation from John Locke copied in McVeigh’s handwriting. According to sources familiar with the envelope’s contents, a photocopy of a passage from The Turner Diaries was glued onto one of the pages in the envelope.

The Turner Diaries is a white-supremacist novel considered a classic by right-wing extremists, and McVeigh is said to have been obsessed with it. The book describes how members of a group known as the Organization blow up fbi headquarters in Washington. In the particular passage found in McVeigh’s alleged getaway car, the narrator explains that the bombing was necessary to wake up America. The prosecution will use this item to demonstrate the motive and the purpose of the bombing.

McVeigh’s defense team has been understandably chagrined by the recent spate of negative stories. Says his lead lawyer, Stephen Jones: “I feel like I’ve been in the ring with Joe Louis. But I’m still on my feet. It’s been a character-building experience.” Nevertheless, sources say, members of his team feel the media disclosures have made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for McVeigh to get an acquittal. Still, Jones will press on. This week he will raise questions about a wider conspiracy by asking the government to hand over all evidence pertaining to Carol Howe, a former atf informant at Elohim City, an Oklahoma retreat of the radical Christian Identity movement. McVeigh phoned Elohim City two weeks before the bombing.

–By Patrick E. Cole/Denver

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