Lawyers in a federal lawsuit that has governed how the New York Police Department investigates political and religious groups for more than 25 years asked a judge on Monday to let them collect information to see if the department had violated his orders in how they monitor Muslim communities.

In papers filed in federal court, the lawyers cited a series of recent news articles that detailed the use of undercover officers and informants to gather and maintain information about political activity among Muslims in circumstances in which there was no indication that crimes had occurred.

"These accounts, if true, suggest that the N.Y.P.D. is conducting surveillance and maintaining records of such surveillance in violation of the terms of the Modified Handschu Guidelines," the lawyers wrote, referring to the court-ordered guidelines in effect as a result of the class-action lawsuit. The guidelines were first set forth in a 1985 consent decree and significantly loosened in 2003 after the Police Department asked that they be thoroughly revamped because of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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