Judge in Bursey case says some secret documents may be disclosed - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Judge in Bursey case says some secret documents may be disclosed

(Columbia-AP) Sept. 19, 2003 - A federal judge says attorneys for a protester who was arrested almost a year ago may be allowed to see some security documents detailing President Bush's visit.

US District Judge Bristow Marchant filed an order Thursday that gives the federal government five days to show him a reason the documents should not be disclosed. Marchant ordered US Attorney John Barton and the Secret Service last month to deliver all documents relating to Bush's visit in October so he could review them and determine if activist Brett Bursey could use them in his defense.

Bursey, 54, faces a seldom-used federal charge of entering a restricted area around the president of the United States. He faces up to six months in prison and a $5000 fine if convicted.

Bursey says he was told he was in a restricted area at Columbia Metropolitan Airport and had to drop his sign that said "No War for Oil" moments before the president arrived and go about a half-mile away to what authorities called a free-speech zone. He was originally was arrested by local police for trespassing during Bush's visit, but those charges were dropped.

The leader of the South Carolina Progressive Network says the Secret Service should "zone free speech." Supporters say Bursey's free speech rights were violated, because agents allowed people that supported Bush to stay in the area.

Bursey's attorneys have asked the judge to dismiss the case. If the case is not dismissed, a trial will be held November 12th.

Updated 10:06am by BrettWitt

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