Suit Asks Release of North Transcripts

Associated Press

A private group asked the U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday to unseal transcripts involving Iran- contra figure Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, saying that secret court orders are "repugnant to our judicial system,"

The public should not be "shut out of the administration of justice and development of the law in what is one of the most publicized and momentous matters in the criminal justice system today," said Public Citizen, a Ralph Nader group.

At North's request, the appeals court and a U.S. District Court have sealed nearly all the transcripts and legal documents in the former National Security Council aide's attempt to block the criminal investigation of the Iran-contra affair and a contempt proceeding involving him.

Seeks Numerous Documents

Public Citizen said that it is seeking tape recordings and transcripts of closed court hearings and arguments, court orders and opinions and all other papers connected with legal issues.

The group said that unsealing of the record would reveal whether independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh was "unnecessarily delaying his investigation of North while at the same time asking Congress to postpone granting immunity to North."

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