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A Missouri bankruptcy court must unseal a list of attorneys who loaned a total of nearly $36,000 over eight years to former Kansas City, Mo., Municipal Judge Deborah A. Neal, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held. The Kansas City Star won its fight for access to the list of Neal’s creditors. The 8th Circuit noted that both U.S. Supreme Court precedent and the Bankruptcy Code establish a strong presumption in favor of opening bankruptcy records. Neal, a municipal court judge from 1996 until her November 2004 resignation, received a 28-month sentence in Kansas City federal court last September after pleading guilty to mail fraud. The U.S. attorney’s office said Neal gave favorable treatment to several of at least 17 attorneys who made loans to her ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, currently under disciplinary investigation. In re Neal, No. 06-1878 (8th Cir. 2006).

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