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Judge Blocks Release of Smart Investigation Documents

Judge Blocks Release of Smart Investigation Documents


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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- A judge has blocked the release of documents related to the investigation of the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart.

The order by Third District Judge Judith Atherton, says the risk of "harassment, abuse and undue invasion of the witnesses and victims' privacy" outweighs both the public and government rights to access documents in the case. It was issued last week.

The judge cited concerns about Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, the couple charged in the abduction, getting a fair trial and also pointed to "extraordinary media coverage" and the "actions of others not associated with this matter."

A Salt Lake Tribune request for police documents related to a former suspect in the case was also denied. The newspaper is considering an appeal.

The judge issued the order at the request of prosecutors and defense attorneys. Police have objected to releasing any documents, and Salt Lake County Attorney David Yocom said Thursday he felt a release of any documents could hamper the case.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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