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Treasury must release Freddie and Fannie documents to investors, court says

A 2008 file photo shows the Freddie Mac headquarters in McLean, Virginia.
A 2008 file photo shows the Freddie Mac headquarters in McLean, Virginia. AP

A federal appeals court sided mostly with a Miami-based mutual fund and other investors suing the United States over government-backed mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

The ruling is a key decision in a case that could shape the future of America’s housing market, which depends on home buyers having easy access to credit, the plaintiffs say.

In an order released Monday, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said the U.S. Treasury Department must disclose 48 of 56 documents it sought to keep secret on privilege grounds. The investors, including Miami’s Fairholme Fund, say the documents and others that remain secret could help their case in a lawsuit filed against the government in 2013 over profits from Freddie and Fannie.

The Treasury Department has claimed the companies’ profits since 2012, a move shareholders like Fairholme say was illegal.

"We are confident that many of these documents will further discredit the government's defense narrative," said the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Charles Cooper, in a statement released to the New York Times.

The government had appealed an earlier ruling from a lower court judge ordering the release of the documents.

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