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Judge Unseals Testimony of Ethel Rosenberg’s Brother

A federal judge has ordered the opening of grand jury testimony in the 1950 case of convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein of New York last week ordered the unsealing of the testimony of Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, David Greenglass, who implicated his sister as a spy.

Greenglass recanted his testimony seven years after he gave it, saying that he gave false testimony after prosecutors threatened him by saying they would go after his wife, who may have assisted Julius Rosenberg.

The judge said the testimony now could be unsealed because Greenglass died last year at the age of 92, though he fought to the end of his life to keep it permanently sealed, according to the Associated Press.

“The requested records are critical pieces of an important moment in our nation’s history,” Hellerstein wrote May 19. “The time for the public to guess what they contain should end.”

The Rosenbergs, who were Jewish, were convicted of espionage for passing atomic bomb secrets to the Soviets, and were executed in 1953. Declassified Soviet cables show that Julius Rosenberg worked for Moscow, but that his wife’s involvement was never proven, the judge confirmed.

The government could appeal the ruling, however.

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