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This is sort of unfortunate, but not really. A federal appeals court today decided the news media will not be permitted access to the wiretaps that were used to bust Emperors Club VIP, the escort agency that employed Ms. Ashley Dupre and brought Eliot Spitzer's political career to a messy end last March.

Several newspapers, including the Times, Post, and Daily News had requested the materials over the past year—not because they salivated at the idea they'd sell lots of newspapers thanks to all the salacious bits they'd come across. But because the First Amendment matters. First they start denying the media access to hooker-madam chit-chat and the next thing you know the government is hiding its plans to torture civilians in violation of international law!

The Times ended up taking the matter to court and won the first legal challenge earlier this year. Today, however, a three-judge panel overturned the lower court's ruling and said the Times hasn't demonstrated the good cause legally required to unseal them.

It doesn't really make a difference either way. While the wiretaps contain the names of six dozen other clients of the escort service—the only one we know about for sure is Client No. 9, obviously—the Times had already compromised by vowing to redact all the names prior to reporting on them.

And what fun would that have been?

Bid To Access Emperors Club Wiretap Documents Denied [WSJ]