PITTSBURGH – The public can see some records regarding the estate of the late Sen. H. John Heinz III (search), but others will remain sealed to protect the privacy and security of his widow, Teresa Heinz Kerry (search), and her family, a judge ruled.
Attorneys for the Heinz estate had fought the efforts of two newspapers -- the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- to unseal the estate documents.
The newspapers argued the records could shed light on Heinz Kerry's charitable activities and whether she used some of her inheritance to help the White House campaign of her second husband, Sen. John Kerry (search).
Allegheny County Judge Frank J. Lucchino ruled Tuesday that 11 documents can be made public in 20 days. But portions of the documents, such as personal bank account information and addresses, will be edited out, Lucchino said.
Heinz, the heir to the Heinz ketchup (search) fortune, died in a helicopter crash nearly 14 years ago. His widow took control of the family fortune, estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. She married Kerry in 1995.
An attorney for the Tribune-Review, Ronald Barber, said of the ruling: "It looks like a significant victory for the press. But we won't know how close we got to the target until we see the records."
Paul Bschorr, representing the executors of the estate, said he was pleased that the court "recognized the importance of protecting the security and privacy of the Heinz family."