A North Carolina company has accused assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Lambert of "grand jury abuse" because it believes Lambert had a conflict of interest when he presented evidence to the grand jury that indicted the company.

P.H.E., a company indicted for mailing pornographic catalogs to Utah males, has filed a motion in U.S. District Court seeking to have the indictments dropped because of Lambert's "alleged conduct." The company also requested to review portions of the grand jury proceedings conducted by Lambert.U.S. Magistrate Ronald N. Boyce ordered the government to make the grand jury records available to P.H.E.

P.H.E. says Lambert's conflict of interest stems from a suit the company filed against Lambert in 1986.

In his ruling, Boyce said, "there is a rational and significant argument that Lambert may, consciously or unconsciously, have acted to overcome the grand jury's independence."

The company, which also does business as Adam and Eve, sued Lambert and other U.S. Department of Justice officials who were investigating it, the motion said.

The suit accused the officials of trying to coerce P.H.E. into ceasing the distribution of certain sexually oriented materials that would not be considered obscene.

P.H.E. claimed one coercion tactic was to threaten prosecution of the company in several jurisdictions. A District of Columbia judge ruled that P.H.E. could only be prosecuted in one jurisdiction. Utah opted to prosecute the company. A Utah grand jury has handed down 11 indictments against P.H.E. for material it distributed in 1986.