U.S. District Court Judge Robert M. Takasugi refused today to lift his order requiring 51 federal agencies, including the State Department and the CIA, to search their files for any information concerning the recent activities of John Z. De Lorean, who is charged with trafficking in drugs to save his failing car company.
Federal prosecutors immediately announced they would appeal the order, which they said could smother future federal drug prosecutions in paperwork.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Layn Phillips said Takasugi's endorsement of De Lorean's requests under the Freedom of Information Act "would bring this case to a grinding halt" and should not be allowed unless reasons were given for each request. Takasugi indicated he realized this placed a burden on the government, but felt bound by a 1977 decision of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowing such requests in criminal cases.
De Lorean's attorneys have contended that the British and U.S. governments conspired to interfere with De Lorean's attempts to seek legitimate investors for his faltering sports car company so that he would be forced to engage in a drug trafficking deal.
De Lorean attorney Donald Re noted today that at least four agencies have indicated they could not release documents for national security reasons. He said this conflicted with the government's contention the De Lorean case is a simple drug prosecution.