Treason

Citing history in spy case, NYC judge orders release of testimony by Ethel Rosenberg's brother

  • FILE- In this April 6, 1951 file photo, a handcuffed David Greenglass is escorted by U.S. Deputy Marshall Eugene Fitzgerald from Federal Courthouse in New York City after being sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to spy for the Soviet Union. Greenglass, whose grand jury testimony helped send his sister and brother-in-law, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, to the electric chair in 1953, has said in interviews that prosecutors pressured him to falsify information about his sister.  (AP Photo)

    FILE- In this April 6, 1951 file photo, a handcuffed David Greenglass is escorted by U.S. Deputy Marshall Eugene Fitzgerald from Federal Courthouse in New York City after being sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to spy for the Soviet Union. Greenglass, whose grand jury testimony helped send his sister and brother-in-law, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, to the electric chair in 1953, has said in interviews that prosecutors pressured him to falsify information about his sister. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this April 26, 1956, file photo, David Greenglass sits beside Deputy U.S. Marshal Joseph Oreto, left, in Washington. A federal judge in New York ordered the release of Greenglass’s grand jury testimony from 1950, saying that it can be released because Greenglass died in 2014 at age 92. The ruling may give new fuel to suspicions that Greenglass’ sister, Ethel Rosenberg, was unjustly convicted of espionage and put to death in 1953 for conspiring to give nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.  (AP Photo/Henry Griffin, File)

    FILE - In this April 26, 1956, file photo, David Greenglass sits beside Deputy U.S. Marshal Joseph Oreto, left, in Washington. A federal judge in New York ordered the release of Greenglass’s grand jury testimony from 1950, saying that it can be released because Greenglass died in 2014 at age 92. The ruling may give new fuel to suspicions that Greenglass’ sister, Ethel Rosenberg, was unjustly convicted of espionage and put to death in 1953 for conspiring to give nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Henry Griffin, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE- In this March 12, 1951 file photo, David Greenglass, one-time Los Alamos atom bomb project employee, is shown in Federal Court in New York in handcuffs. He testified against his sister and two others accused of passing atomic secrets to Russia. A New York judge has ordered the release of Greenglass’s grand jury testimony from 1950, that may give new fuel to suspicions that his sister, Ethel Rosenberg, was unjustly convicted of espionage and put to death for conspiring to give nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Tom Fitzsimmons, File)

    FILE- In this March 12, 1951 file photo, David Greenglass, one-time Los Alamos atom bomb project employee, is shown in Federal Court in New York in handcuffs. He testified against his sister and two others accused of passing atomic secrets to Russia. A New York judge has ordered the release of Greenglass’s grand jury testimony from 1950, that may give new fuel to suspicions that his sister, Ethel Rosenberg, was unjustly convicted of espionage and put to death for conspiring to give nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Tom Fitzsimmons, File)  (The Associated Press)

A New York judge has ordered the release of key grand jury testimony from 1950 that may give new fuel to suspicions that Ethel Rosenberg was unjustly convicted of espionage and put to death for conspiring to give nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.

Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein said testimony from Rosenberg's brother, David Greenglass, can be released because he died last year at 92.

The government could still appeal the order. A government spokeswoman declined to comment.

In a ruling this week, Hellerstein said Greenglass' testimony was a critical piece of an important moment in U.S. history. Ethel and her husband, Julius, were executed in 1953 for espionage conspiracy convictions.

Hellerstein noted Greenglass has said in interviews that prosecutors pressured him to falsify information about his sister.