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News media allowed to join lawsuit over Florida COVID data, judge rules

A judge ruled Monday to allow a group of national and state news media — including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Associated Press — to join a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Health over its decision to withhold detailed data on the COVID-19 pandemic from the public.

Judge John Cooper of the Second Judicial Circuit in Tallahassee issued the ruling over the objections of the state’s legal counsel, Rick Figlio, who suggested that doing so would turn the case into “unmanageable political theater” — a claim the judge disputed.

Cooper set the case for trial on Sept. 29-30, rejecting a request from Figlio to postpone the matter for at least 40 days.

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