Judge Delays Release of Heinz Records Sought by 2 Papers

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(AP) A judge has delayed the unsealing of some records pertaining to the estate of U.S. Sen. H. John Heinz III, the late first husband of Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Allegheny County Judge Frank J. Lucchino, who initially ruled that the public could view 11 documents on Monday, pushed the date back to next Thursday.

Among the 11 documents are Heinz’s will and other records that were sealed the day after the 52-year-old senator and six others died when a helicopter collided with an airplane carrying Heinz on April 4, 1991. Portions of the documents, such as personal bank account information and addresses, will be redacted.

Attorneys for the Heinz estate had fought the efforts of two newspapers — the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — to unseal the records.

The estate attorneys questioned why the records should be opened nearly 14 years after the multimillionaire’s death. Media interest peaked before the presidential election, but has waned since U.S. Sen. John Kerry, the second husband of Heinz Kerry, lost to President Bush, they noted.

On Wednesday, Lucchino denied requests by the Heinz family to stay the order. The family had asked the judge to delay his order until April 14 to allow time to file a possible appeal within a 30-day deadline.

Lucchino said the extension to Thursday would allow attorneys on both sides to file appeals and take other legal steps without having to do so during the holiday weekend.

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