Lawyers for the

Daily News



filed court papers yesterday opposing the government's motion to keep evidence out of the public eye in the federal corruption case involving state Sen. Vince Fumo and three associates.

The feds filed court papers on March 30 asking U.S. District Senior Judge William H. Yohn Jr. for an "umbrella" protective order before they turn over to the defendants all the evidence they have amassed.

The feds already have handed over grand-jury transcripts, FBI summaries of witness interviews and three search-warrant applications that were covered by a "limited" protective order Yohn issued in December.

Prosecutors said that some of the evidence not yet turned over to the defendants contains allegations and facts of "uncharged criminal conduct" and involves witnesses who may never be charged. The feds also said if any of that were to be made public, it could be embarrassing to witnesses and potentially compromise its ongoing investigation.

Lawyers for the Philadelphia newspapers asked Yohn to deny the feds' motion because it doesn't meet the "good cause" standard established by a 1994 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Good cause means that public disclosure would result in clearly defined, specific and serious injury. *