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Judge Says He Is Unlikely to Close Auto Emissions Hearing

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The federal judge presiding in a Vermont-based case involving automobile emissions has indicated a reluctance to close portions of the trial. Auto industry lawyers have asked that significant parts of the trial, as well as evidence submitted to the court, be kept secret. But District Judge William Sessions wrote that, “any request to close a courtroom for a portion of a trial challenges one of the most vital principles upon which our judicial system is founded: the presumption of public access.” He added, “Only in the most extraordinary situation will this court justify closing a trial to the public and the press.” (3/26/07)