For the first time, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is asking a federal judge to end 25 years of strict oversight intended to root out corruption and alleged Mafia influence in the union's highest ranks.

"The union's rank-and-file members and duly elected officers should be allowed to reclaim control of their union's affairs," Teamsters lawyer Viet Dinh wrote in a June 4 letter to Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Federal prosecutors indicated in their response that they would support scaling back government control over the union but not eliminating the measures.

"Corrupt and undemocratic practices persist at all levels of the union," Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara La Morte wrote in a June 12 letter to the judge.

A union spokesman disagreed with that assertion.

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