S&P demands unredacted versions of documents in U.S. fraud lawsuit

Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:17pm EDT

Aug 13 (Reuters) - Standard and Poor's (S&P) on Tuesday filed a motion demanding the United States and former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner produce unredacted versions of documents relating to the ratings agency's claim that the United States sued it in retaliation for downgrading government debt.

The government argued that portions of the documents were withheld because they were work product between attorneys and protected.

A federal judge ruled in May that Geithner must hand over documents relating to the claim to Standard and Poor's.

The U.S. Department of Justice brought a civil fraud lawsuit against S&P in 2013, accusing it of inflating ratings to win more fees from issuers, and then failing to downgrade debt backed by deteriorating mortgage-backed securities fast enough.

The ratings agency, which wants the case to be dismissed, has claimed the lawsuit was filed in retaliation for the downgrade.

S&P, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc, also wants the United States to find and produce all documents in the case that involve communications with a White House official, unless it can demonstrate presidential privilege.

McGraw Hill lawyer Floyd Abrams and the Department of Justice could not immediately be reached for a comment.

The case is U.S. v. McGraw-Hill Cos et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 13-00779. (Reporting by Kanika Sikka in Bangalore; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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