Judge Chides Burning Man, County, But Deal Intact

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - A federal judge who refused to affirm a settlement agreement between a Nevada county and Burning Man organizers because he says it is illegal has issued a new ruling declaring the county the winner in a First Amendment fight that both sides insist was over long ago.

Lawyers for Burning Man's Black Rock City LLC and Pershing County say they settled their differences in October over a proposed ordinance governing the counterculture festival. They've been asking U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones since then to give their agreement his blessing.

Both sides tell The Associated Press they believe the deal intended to head off a legal showdown over constitutional limits on obscenity remains intact without Jones' endorsement.

The judge acknowledged in the new written ruling this week he lacks jurisdiction to void the contract.