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GOP Convention Papers Ordered Opened

Saturday May 05, 2007 

NEW YORK — The city cannot prevent the public from seeing documents describing intelligence that police gathered to help them create policies for arrests at the 2004 Republican National Convention, a judge said Friday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV made the ruling regarding documents about information the New York Police Department says it used.

The city had contended that the documents should remain confidential, saying opening them would jeopardize the city's rights to a fair trial. Lawsuits allege that the city violated constitutional rights when it arrested more than 1,800 people at the convention.

The judge stayed his ruling for 10 days. Peter Farrell, a city lawyer, said the city is considering an appeal.

"The decision is a vindication for the public's right to know and a total rebuff of the Police Department's effort to hide behind the cloak of secrecy when it comes to its surveillance activities," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which sued on behalf of some of those arrested.

The convention was policed by as many as 10,000 officers from the 36,500-member department, the nation's largest. They were assigned to protect the city from terrorism threats and to cope with tens of thousands of demonstrators.

More than 1,800 people were arrested at the four-day convention at Madison Square Garden, where President Bush accepted his party's nomination for a second term in office.



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