A collection of racist, misogynist and otherwise inappropriate emails sent by a former federal judge in Montana will remain secret after two journalists who sued for access to the emails dropped their case.

The suit was pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after a California district judge dismissed it in February. A lawyer for the journalists, Larry Organ of the California Civil Rights Law Group, said they decided to end the fight on Aug. 26 after he was warned by lawyers who specialize in the First Amendment — he declined to name those lawyers — that it could lead to a decision narrowing the press’ right to public records.

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