TAMPA - In a forceful pronouncement of press and public rights, a federal magistrate has recommended that four sealed Church of Scientology case files be opened.
Scientology lawyer Paul Johnson said the church ``respectfully disagrees`` with U.S. Magistrate Paul Game Jr.'s report, and will ask a federal judge to review the magistrate's findings.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich sealed the files in 1986, over the objections of Walt Logan, a St. Petersburg lawyer who represented several parties in the suits. The files were sealed without following federal rules for closure that allow 10 days for response, Game said. Logan's clients, who included former Clearwater Mayor Gabe Cazares, had subsequently tried - unsuccessfully - to unseal the files. But when the Times filed a motion to intervene last November, Kovachevich asked Game to review the matter. The Times argued that even though the lawsuits were resolved, the case files contained new and newsworthy information on ongoing proceedings.
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