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Judge allows confidentiality of pre-trial matters in Brodkorb suit

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A federal judge will allow either party in Michael Brodkorb's lawsuit against the Minnesota Senate to keep pre-trial matters confidential, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan issued the protective order Thursday.

Brodkorb had been a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch but was fired in December 2011, after it was revealed that he and Koch had an affair. Koch stepped down from her position.

Brodkorb argues that he was discriminated against in his firing, noting that other staffers have had affairs with lawmakers, but were not fired. Senate officials have denied such claims.

Brodkorb set out to prove his case by deposing current and former state senators, three of whom were among those who confronted Koch about the affair.

Brodkorb tells the Star Tribune that the order could allow much more sweeping protections of information regarding the Senate's dealing with him.

"I think the public has a right to know," he told the newspaper. "Because, ultimately, the taxpayers are paying the legal bills."

On the other hand, Brodkorb also admitted that he believes that "private aspects" of public officials and staff's lives should be kept from the public eye.

He's seeking $600,000 in damages from the state Senate.

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Judge orders settlement talks for Senate, Brodkorb

The state of Minnesota and former Republican Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb on Thursday were ordered into confidential settlement talks by U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan, the Star Tribune reports. The sessions are to begin Sept. 24. The judge asked both sides to submit confidential letters that summarize their settlement positions, and he put a gag order on both sides to prevent them from talking to the media, the newspaper says.