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P3N: PRESS RELEASE: February 7, 2000
FEDERAL JUDGE RESERVES DECISION ON UFO GROUP'S REQUEST
In a precedent setting hearing today, a federal judge has decided to consider a UFO group's claims that the government failed to conduct an adequate search for information about a very unusual aerial object.
In the Phoenix, Arizona federal lawsuit, Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) vs. the Department of Defense, Chief Judge Stephen M. McNamee, once again ignored the government's plea to dismiss the case, and instead took under advisement the group's claims that the government was guilty of bad faith in its search for information about a very unusual triangular aerial object.
Though CAUS, which had brought the lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act in 1999, submitted numerous affidavits from witnesses who had observed the aerial object, the Department of Defense continued to maintain in Court, that it could find no information confirming the existence of this object.
During the 30 minute hearing before a standing-room-only audience of UFO enthusiasts, Peter A. Gersten, attorney for the UFO activist organization, Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) argued that the government's search lacked the necessary element of "good faith." He claimed that the Department of Defense's mishandling of the initial request raised an "inference of indifference" on the agency's part and tainted any subsequent search.
Gersten, holding up a Department of Defense form which initially indicated that documents had been found, only to be later changed to "Not Found," argued that the form was more than mere sloppiness on the government's part, it was evidence of bad faith and even possibly a "signal" from agency insiders in favor of disclosure, that documents were located.
With the Judge's tacit approval, Gersten berated the Defense Department for failing to provide his client with the specifics of its search and in a surprise move, Gersten asked the Judge to reserve decision on the government's motion to dismiss for ninety days in order to allow his client to "assist the Department of Defense in locating its own documents" by permitting CAUS to conduct limited discovery procedures including depositions and interrogatories of both military and civilian personnel.
Judge McNamee, who appeared receptive to Gersten's arguments, stated that he would take the CAUS request under advisement and issue a written opinion shortly.
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