Federal Judge denies release of Blagojevich wiretaps

A federal judge says he will deny most requests for sealed documents and audio tapes related to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s political corruption case.

FBI wiretaps recorded a number of Blagojevich's phone conversations made before his December arrest. The former governor is accused of scheming to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama, and of illegally squeezing campaign donations from business executives.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel says he’ll deny nearly all media requests for the materials because their release would compromise on-going investigations and could implicate innocent third-parties. Zagel says constitutional arguments about public access to court documents are mostly confined to what happens in open court. The judge, however, says he does not believe the release of these documents would have tainted the jury pool.