By lifting a suspension on her previous order, a federal judge has cleared the way for Microsoft to relinquish customer emails stored in a data center in Ireland to U.S. prosecutors.  But Microsoft said it will hold on to the emails during an appeal of the ruling, according to a report by Reuters.

After hearing arguments from Microsoft and the federal government, Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan on July 31 upheld a lower court ruling compelling Microsoft to give up the records, but stayed a government search warrant until Microsoft could appeal.

Last Friday's action came after prosecutors said, from a legal standpoint, the stay didn't need to be enforced since Microsoft had not been held in contempt and the judge's order to Microsoft to turn over the emails was not a “final, appealable order.”