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

"There are reasonable limits to the search for possible leads to evidence and the defense requests exceeded those limits," U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch said. He said the defense "failed to show prejudice from the failure of the government to produce these lead sheets before trial."

A spokesman at defense attorney Michael Tigar's law firm said the attorney was unavailable for comment.

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 said they turned over 12,000 pertinent 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 April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 people. He is serving a life sentence.

Timothy J. McVeigh, his former Army buddy, was separately convicted on murder and weapons counts. He received the death sentence, which he is appealing.