A 1946 mob lynching puts court focus on grand jury secrecy

ATLANTA (AP) — A historian’s quest for the truth about a gruesome mob lynching of two black couples decades ago is prompting a U.S. appeals court to consider whether federal judges can order grand jury records unsealed in cases with historical significance.

The lynching happened at Moore’s Ford Bridge in July 1946. FBI agents identified dozens of possible suspects, but a federal grand jury failed to indict anyone.

A federal judge in 2017 granted a request from historian Anthony Pitch to unseal the transcripts. But the government appealed , citing the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling. But the court’s judges voted to have the full court rehear the case.

Oral arguments are set for Tuesday.

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