Judge won’t release testimony from Rocky Flats probe
DENVER, Colorado (AP) ” A federal judge has ruled that grand jury testimony from an investigation of alleged environmental crimes at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant should remain secret, rejecting a request from some former members of the grand jury.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch on Monday released several documents and motions from the 1989 case but refused to release transcripts of testimony, which is secret by law.
Some former members of the grand jury have alleged the Justice Department may have broken the law during the probe and cut a deal with plant’s operator, Rockwell International, for an $18.5 million fine.
A list of allegations jurors made against prosecutors will also remain sealed.
Prosecutors have denied misconduct.
Rocky Flats produced more than 70,000 plutonium triggers for nuclear warheads throughout the Cold War at a site 15 miles northwest of Denver. It was raided and shuttered by federal agents for safety violations as part of the 1989 probe.
The federal government has since spent $7 billion to turn the area into a wildlife refuge.
Matsch ruled there is no current investigation that would justify disclosing certain documents under the strict rules that govern a grand jury.
Matsch had ruled in 2004 that grand jury secrecy rules prevented the release of testimony transcripts and other documents that 18 of the 23 former grand jurors want the public to see, but the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling in 2006 and sent the case back to him.
Jonathan Turley, an attorney for the former grand jurors seeking to release the testimony, called Matsch’s ruling “a small victory” because some documents were released.
“But it’s not what we’ve been fighting for since 1989 ” to tell the people of Colorado and Congress what really happened inside that grand jury room,” he said.
Turley said he hoped Colorado’s congressional delegation would hold hearing on the files and release them.
“The Colorado delegation knows sitting in the basement of the courthouse are a stack of transcripts and a detailed summary about the role of prosecutors in this case,” Turley said.
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