King & Spalding and the U.S. Justice Department are locked in a dispute in Washington over whether a trial judge has the power to order the government to destroy or return copies of billing records that the law firm submitted as part of its request for attorney fees in a public records lawsuit.

King & Spalding withdrew its request for $665,000 in legal fees after a federal judge said the firm could not keep certain records sealed on the public docket showing the billing rates of partners and others who had worked on the case. The firm has urged the judge, Amit Mehta, to order the government to destroy or return its hard copies of the disputed records.

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