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Judge Rules FBI’s Unisys Affidavits Will Remain Sealed

August 18, 1988

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ A federal judge has declined newspaper requests for immediate full access to search warrants and supporting FBI affidavits about FBI searches of Unisys Corp. offices in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, Minn.

The FBI obtained warrants in mid-June to search offices in three Unisys buildings in Eagan as part of the nationwide investigation into alleged defense contractor fraud.

Unisys, based in Detroit, is a major defense contractor. It was formed in November 1986 by the merger of Sperry Corp. and Burroughs Corp. Unisys has been mentioned in the Pentagon fraud investigation although no charges have been filed against it.

Requests to unseal the information, made by the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch, were turned down earlier by U.S. Magistrate J. Earl Cudd. His decision then was appealed to U.S. District Judge Diana Murphy.

On Wednesday, Murphy did order unsealed small portions of the documents, mostly information the U.S. attorney’s office said it did not mind revealing. That included the names of FBI agents Joseph Glover and Phyllis Sciacca, whose affidavits provided reasons for the warrants, and the exact locations searched.

Murphy also opened parts that provide information identical to what already has been unsealed in a similar case in Dallas.

The information is expected to be made vailable Friday. Remaining under seal are details of what led the FBI to search the Unisys offices, what information the government was looking for and any potential targets of prosecution. Cudd’s original order sealing that information until Sept. 14 remains in effect.

The newspapers argued that much information about the Pentagon investigation already has become public and that potential targets of the probe already know about it.

The U.S. attorney’s office, however, said information specific to the Minnesota searches has yet to be known publicly and that disclosure could prompt targets to destroy documents and otherwise avoid scrutiny.

The FBI conducted dozens of searches throughout the nation in mid-June, seeking information about alleged bribery of Defense Department officials by defense consultants and the use by defense contractors of improperly obtained contract information.

In a separate development Wednesday, a company spokesman said Unisys will plead guilty in federal court to three counts of labor mischarging on a $9.2 million Army contract in Arizona.

The contract involves administrative and computer work for the Army Information Systems Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. The case is not related to the Pentagon bribery investigation.

The Unisys-Army probe is one of three federal investigations, outside of the Pentagon case, made public in a July 19 letter from Unisys Chairman W. Michael Blumenthal to employees.

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