Judge sets hearing on Wichita wiretap interceptions


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A federal judge wants to hear oral arguments on a newspaper’s request to disclose the federal government’s reasons for putting wiretaps on the phone communications of a former state legislator, a Wichita businessman and others.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren set a hearing for Tuesday in federal court on the motion filed by The Wichita Eagle. Five of the paper’s current or former employees were notified their calls with Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell and businessman Brandon Steven had been intercepted.

The U.S. attorney’s office says disclosing the information would jeopardize its investigation. The government contends no one has been charged and no evidence has been introduced in any civil or criminal proceedings. It calls the request a “thinly veiled First Amendment argument” to obtain access to sealed documents.

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