A Manhattan federal judge on Tuesday ordered the unsealing of 1950 grand jury testimony of David Greenglass, the brother of Ethel Rosenberg and long a controversial figure in the notorious atomic spying case.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that with Greenglass now deceased, historical interest in his testimony -- and answering lingering questions about whether he lied about his sister to protect his wife -- outweighed opposition from his family.

"The requested records are critical pieces of an important moment in our nation's history," Hellerstein wrote. "The time for the public to guess what they contain should end."

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were charged with spying for the Soviet Union and executed in 1953. Hellerstein acted on a petition by a coalition of historical groups, historians and journalists.

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