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Bernanke excused from testifying in AIG lawsuit

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Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies on the Board's Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 17, 2012 in Washington, D.C. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/ece156942005c924bf287808247b45c7/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies on the Board's Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 17, 2012 in Washington, D.C. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been excused temporarily from testifying in court about the Fed's role in the AIG bailout, a federal court ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled the litigants, Star International Co., had not justified calling Bernanke to testify while he held his job as Fed chairman, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

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As chairman of the Fed, the court said it would require "extraordinary circumstances," to force Bernanke to testify.

"Starr's efforts to inquire into these issues have all the appearance, and vices, of a fishing expedition rather than an effort to establish legally material facts," the court said in its ruling.

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Bernanke is stepping down from his position on at the end of January, when his second term as helmsman at the Fed comes to an end. But even then, the court ruled, Star is not guaranteed he will be required to testify under oath in a courtroom.

Star is claiming the Fed's bailout of American International Group in 2008 was unconstitutional. The company is run by Maurice Greenberg, a former chief executive officer of AIG.

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"We will, as the Court of Appeals directs, seek to depose Chairman Bernanke after he leaves office early next year. Based on Chairman Bernanke's documents and public statements, and on the sworn testimony of other government officials who have already been deposed, we are confident that we can make the showing of the importance of this testimony that the court requires," Star attorney David Boies said in a statement.

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