CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Enquirer has sued to open a court hearing on tea party claims of bias against the IRS.

Several tea party groups previously sued the IRS over its handling of applications for tax-exempt status. Court filings show two IRS officials told a federal judge in Cincinnati their lives would be endangered if they testified in open court.

The judge has sealed some court filings in the case and closed a scheduled hearing on Friday to the public.

The Enquirer filed its lawsuit Tuesday. A lawyer for the newspaper says preventing public access to the court proceedings “will add to the suspicion and mistrust already raised by the allegations.”

Lawyers for the tea party groups tell the Enquirer ( ) the public’s right to know outweighs the IRS officials’ concerns.

Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer,

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