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Feds seek protective order in Mascheroni case

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By Tim Korte

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to restrict lawyers from releasing sensitive information in the case of a former Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist accused of trying to help Venezuela develop a nuclear weapon.

A motion seeks to require prosecutors and defense lawyers to use materials strictly for litigation as both sides begin sharing evidence.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales said his office filed the request because of the nature of the charges.

"The order I am proposing applies equally to all parties, including the United States, and allows the parties to freely use discovery materials for any legitimate litigation purpose," Gonzales said.

U.S. District Judge Bruce Black made no immediate ruling.

Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni and his wife, Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, are accused of offering to help develop a nuclear weapon for Venezuela through dealings with an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a representative of the Venezuelan government.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

The U.S. government is not alleging Venezuela or anyone working for that nation sought U.S. secrets.

Defense attorneys had no immediate comment on the government's motion.