The Associated Press
PHOENIX Ÿ Attorneys for Gov. Fife Symington and his main creditor said yesterday they are proceeding with the governor's bankruptcy case under a confidentiality agreement that has not been approved by the court.
Under the agreement, only Symington, his creditors, their lawyers and consultants are allowed to attend sessions where depositions are taken, said Symington attorney Robert Shull.
''The parties have agreed that depositions are a private matter,'' Shull told U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge George Nielsen Jr. at a hearing yesterday. The agreement also stipulates the parties can send out requests for documents without filing them in court, Shull said.
Attorney Michael Manning, who represents Symington's largest creditor Ÿ a group of union pension funds Ÿ backed Shull's comments on the agreement. He also asked Nielsen for more time to consider filing a complaint that would challenge the governor's right to have his debts dismissed.
The court has not approved the discovery agreement, but Shull said the parties were already acting under its terms.
Frank Long, an attorney for Phoenix Newspapers Inc., expressed concern with the agreement. He said the procedure in most cases is for discovery requests to be filed with the court.
''That is not being followed in this case,'' Long told Nielsen. ''I would ask the court to ask the parties to file their discoveries with the court.''
Nielsen said he would not sign any formal discovery order until a Dec. 21 hearing to address a motion to intervene filed by Phoenix television station KTVK and Phoenix Newspapers.
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