The move may even prohibit certain discussion of the weapon in court hearings.
Prosecutors pushed to restrict details on what they called a deadly X-ray weapon, as its alleged inventor faces trial, the Schenectady Daily Gazette reports.
Federal prosecutors in New York urged a judge to place the weapon's design under seal, limiting the crucial details to participants in the trial of 49-year-old Glendon Scott Crawford, the newspaper reported on Thursday. The move may even restrict discussion of the weapon in court hearings, though some specialists have questioned the feasibility of the mobile gun said to be capable of poisoning victims with radiation rays.
"Limiting dissemination of details of the weaponized, mobilized and remotely controlled radiation-emitting device designed to kill or seriously injure unsuspecting human targets ... has underlying reasons that are readily apparent -- protecting public safety and reducing the likelihood of similar attempts by others," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a motion filed with U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe.
Crawford's trial is scheduled to begin on April 29. An FBI sting netted the possible Ku Klux Klan member, who allegedly drafted a design and gathered components for a weapon believed capable of harming and possibly killing its targets.
Some observers, though, voiced skepticism about the usefulness of a gun they said would have huge power requirements and a weight capable of smashing automobiles. In addition, defense lawyers have contended that neither Crawford nor Eric Feight, an alleged co-conspirator, had the expert knowledge necessary to create a viable X-ray gun.
Crawford faces charges of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to produce and use a radiological dispersal device, and distributing WMD information. Feight pleaded guilty in January and could receive up to 15 years prison time in his May 22 sentencing.