Newspaper Fights for Mug Shots, Sues Justice Department

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(AP) A newspaper has sued the U.S. Department of Justice for the mug shots of two men scheduled to be sentenced in federal court this month for their roles in a real estate scam.

The Justice Department has refused the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal’s request for the photos, arguing that releasing them would be “an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

The newspaper’s claim, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Akron, says the Justice Department’s stance violates federal public records laws.

The Beacon Journal asks for the photos of defendants Gregory J. Geig and David A. Watson, along with attorney fees to cover the cost of its lawsuit. The case was assigned to Judge David Dowd.

Geig and Watson have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in a scheme in which houses were bought cheaply and resold at inflated prices. They also helped buyers get mortgages by falsifying paperwork, according to their plea agreements with the U.S. attorney.

They are scheduled to be sentenced May 27.

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