U.S. must explain Lockheed secrecy


A federal judge in Washington has issued a harshly worded order requiring the Justice Department to explain in detail why it wants to keep secret thousands of documents in its antitrust case against Lockheed Martin Corp.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan called the department's filing "woefully abysmal" and warned that his demand for a full explanation by 9 a.m. Monday was firm.

"There will be no extension of time," he said in his ruling, issued late Thursday and made public yesterday. Sullivan noted caustically that the government's explanations "do not comply with precedent of long standing that the government is well aware of."

The government has challenged Lockheed Martin Corp.'s proposed $11 billion acquisition of Northrop Grumman Corp. as a violation of antitrust laws.

Both sides submitted briefs arguing the merits of keeping the 2,193 documents private. "Specific, detailed proof of privilege must be provided for each document for which the government asserts a privilege," Sullivan said in his ruling. "The Court finds the log [of documents] to be woefully abysmal."

Pub Date: 5/02/98

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