Judge asked to reconsider Web site closing

Feb. 27, 2008 at 2:20 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge in San Francisco is being asked to reconsider his order to shut down a Web site that publishes leaked documents.

Lawyers for a coalition of media and public interest organizations said orders issued by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White against wikileaks.org amount to prior restraint of speech, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

White issued the orders in response to a lawsuit filed Feb. 6 by Julius Baer & Co., a Swiss bank that claimed a disgruntled employee had posted internal documents on wikileaks.org accusing the bank's Cayman Islands branch of money-laundering and tax evasion.

Last week White issued a temporary restraining order barring Wikileaks from posting the bank documents on the Internet. He also issued a permanent injunction ordering the Web site's domain name registrar to disable its domain name, effectively blocking access to the site.

Laura Handman, a Washington attorney representing several news organizations, likens the order to shutting down an entire newspaper because of one article, the Times said.

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