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The State

January 21, 1987

The Sacramento Bee, battling a libel suit by former U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt of Nevada, won a second chance to obtain FBI files the paper says will support its claim that Laxalt's associates had ties to organized crime. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a 3-0 ruling, said a federal district court "applied an erroneous legal standard" in dismissing efforts by McClatchy Newspapers to obtain the documents. The appeals court ordered the judge to reconsider the matter, taking into account both the newspaper's right to information in its defense and the privacy of individuals involved. No trial date has been set for the $250-million libel suit. Laxalt, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, sued the California newspaper chain over two stories written by The Bee in 1983.

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