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Release of oil firms' papers in price-fixing suit to go ahead

The Supreme Court refused Monday to lift an order forcing the release next Friday to the Wall Street Journal of sealed court documents filed by nine major oil companies charged with illegal price-fixing.

In a seven-year-old antitrust lawsuit pending before a US district court in Los Angeles, five states contend that the oil companies conspired to fix prices of crude oil or petroleum products.

The Wall Street Journal sought the sealed documents, asserting that material produced during the court-supervised process should be presumed to be open to the public under both the Constitution's First Amendment and the nation's tradition of open trials.

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