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D.C. Circuit temporarily prevents release of Blackwater papers

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  1. Court Access
A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., has temporarily blocked the release of sealed court documents in the government's case…

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., has temporarily blocked the release of sealed court documents in the government’s case against Blackwater security guards charged with killing Iraqi civilians, The BLT reported.

Judge Ricardo Urbina had ordered the release of transcripts, which detailed the closed-door hearings that led to the charges against the five guards being dismissed. The hearings detailed the prosecutorial misuse of statements guards made to State Department investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

The Justice Department filed a motion to stay the order to release the papers, arguing it would jeopardize the fairness and integrity of future trials on the issue.  David Schulz, counsel for The Washington Post and The Associated Press, responded that the government’s argument about the potential risk of tainting jurors and witnesses was speculative.

The release had been scheduled for today. The appellate court did not announce when it would make a final decision.