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Public Records Lawsuit Against UNC by Medical Watchdog Group Investigating COVID-19 Origins Advances
U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) secured a favorable ruling at the Orange County Superior Court in a lawsuit against UNC-Chapel Hill over records which the university is declining to provide in response to a series of public records requests made by USRTK in relation to their investigation into origins of Covid-19.
According to its website, U.S. Right to Know is a “nonprofit investigative public health research and journalism group.” USRTK has been filing public records requests for over three years to collect information from public institutions relating to the possible origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. USRTK has filed a handful of public records requests with UNC-Chapel Hill, including regarding Professor Ralph Baric and his associations with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Although USRTK's public records requests to UNC resulted in over a hundred thousand pages of documents returned, a lawsuit filed by USRTK in April, 2023 under North Carolina's public records law alleges that UNC left out records which should have been included. In particular, the complaint alleges that UNC only returned six pages of records from a “critical period concerning the origins of COVID-19”, March 20th, 2019 through January 9th, 2020.
USRTK president Gary Ruskin announced today that the judge granted USRTK's request for in camera review of the withheld documents in question by a special master, rejecting UNC's argument that their own analysis of the documents as exempt “research records” was sufficient.
in camera (literally “in a chamber”) refers to a court process that takes place out of the view of the public
a “special master” is a third-party chosen by the court to carry out a specific task
Multiple batches of Dr. Ralph Baric emails which have been received by USRTK via public record request are available on the organizations website. In addition, USRTK has published several articles based on material found via these requests: