Federal judge asks why anthrax lawsuit records should be sealed

A federal judge is asking why the records should stay sealed in a soon-to-be-settled lawsuit over the death of a Florida man in the anthrax attacks of 2001.
U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley said in court papers that typically the public has access rights to such documents. The records that are sealed include personnel records of Army scientist Bruce Ivins, who has been blamed by the FBI for the attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, the Associated Press reports.
Additional sealed documents involve security procedures at the Maryland Army lab where Ivins worked.
Maureen Stevens, whose husband died in the attacks, agreed to settle the $50 million lawsuit against the government in late October. Jason Weisser, Stevens' attorney, said that there was no reason to keep the documents sealed. Lawyers for the Justice Department have not yet responded.
While Weisser is prohibited from revealing much of what he learned during the case, he said he was stunned by the lack of security at the lab where Ivins worked, the Palm Beach Post reports. Ivins' former co-workers testified that the scientists didn't have the equipment, time or know-how to produce the deadly weaponized bacteria. The lawyers for the government argued that it is not responsible for the actions of a rogue employee.
The terms of the settlement will not be divulged until it is officially approved by the U.S. Justice Department.