ST. PAUL,  (AP) - A federal judge has issued a sweeping order allowing either party in fired aide Michael Brodkorb's lawsuit against the Minnesota Senate to designate materials or witness depositions as confidential.

The information seal relates to pre-trial discovery in the case headed for trial next year. Brodkorb is suing over his dismissal, which followed disclosures of an affair he was having with then-Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.

U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan issued the order Thursday. It comes as depositions of former lawmakers and others are nearing. Brodkorb claims that his affair was handled differently than those of similarly situated employees. He is seeking a six-figure award.

Senate lawyers have said Brodkorb was an at-will employee who could be fired at any time.

The Senate has accumulated more than $200,000 in legal costs fighting the lawsuit.