Court Restricts Document Access in Nuclear Spy Case

A U.S. federal court on Tuesday restricted public access to some documents in the criminal case against a one-time Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist suspected of attempting to sell U.S. nuclear-weapon secrets to Venezuela, the Albuquerque Journal reported (see GSN, Jan. 10).

Physicist Leonardo Mascheroni and his wife Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni are accused of supplying classified weapons information to a federal agent posing as a Venezuelan operative. The two have entered not guilty pleas to all charges.

Nuclear-weapon documentation involved in the case was of particular concern, said U.S. District Judge Bruce Black, who instructed the defense and prosecution to cooperatively select what information should remain confidential out of about 5,000 pages of potential evidence. No need exists to extend such protection to records of Internet and credit card use, he said.

"It'll be a long ride on a tired horse if we have to go document-by-document in this case," Black said. "Tell me what the kernel of any real dispute is and I'll deal with them as I have to."

Federal prosecutors sought to guard all of the documents against public scrutiny and permit only attorneys and other case participants to handle the material. "Merely because material is not officially marked as classified information, of course, does not mean that it may not still be sensitive," the prosecution said in its protective order motion.

All materials accepted as evidence during trial would be made openly available, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales (Phil Parker, Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 23).

February 24, 2011
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A U.S. federal court on Tuesday restricted public access to some documents in the criminal case against a one-time Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist suspected of attempting to sell U.S. nuclear-weapon secrets to Venezuela, the Albuquerque Journal reported (see GSN, Jan. 10).