Judge Won’t Release FBI’s Hoffa Files, Says Charges Are Still Possible
DETROIT (AP) _ A federal judge has denied a newspaper’s request to open FBI files on former Teamsters union President Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance, saying the 16- year-old probe still could yield charges.
Releasing the files would allow suspects to destroy evidence, fabricate alibis or intimidate witnesses, U.S. District Court Judge George LaPlata said Monday.
The judge said he ″is satisfied beyond any doubt that the investigation ... is active and continuing, with a clear direction of future criminal proceedings.″
Hoffa last was seen July 30, 1975, at a restaurant in a Detroit suburb.
The Detroit Free Press had sued for access to the files under the Freedom of Information Act. The newspaper claimed the time elapsed since Hoffa’s disappearance eliminated the chance of prosecution.
″After 16 years with no indictment and no prosecution, the government’s claim that this is an active investigation rings hollow,″ said Free Press Executive Editor Heath Meriwether. He said the newspaper will ask LaPlata to reconsider.
LaPlata’s decision was based on documents selected and submitted to him by the FBI.
Herschel Fink, the newspaper’s attorney, criticized LaPlata for basing his ruling on the FBI’s ″own handpicked documents.″
Hoffa’s daughter, Barbara Crancer, an administrative law judge in St. Louis, is seeking release of the files in a separate court case.