Richard Matsch, judge of Oklahoma City bombing trials in Denver, dies at 88

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DENVER — The no-nonsense federal judge who gained national respect overseeing the Oklahoma City bombing trials in Denver has died.

The clerk of Colorado’s federal court, Jeffrey Colwell, says U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch died Sunday. He was 88.

Matsch was known for a cowboy hat and his short temper with courtroom antics.

As chief judge of the federal court in Denver, Matsch oversaw the 1996 trials that led to the convictions of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols after a judge ruled neither could receive a fair trial in Oklahoma City.

Matsch imposed a gag order to prevent attorneys from trying their case outside the courthouse.

He received a liver transplant in 2001 after being diagnosed with a disorder that causes a buildup of fluid that can lead to infections.

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