WHSV’s parent company among 13 media organizations sues Governor Glenn Youngkin over ‘counseling line’ emails

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) — More than a dozen media organizations, including WHSV’s parent company, Gray Television, are suing Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin over documents.

The documents we hope to obtain are emails sent to the new governor’s inquiry line where he encouraged parents to share any concerns about potential violations of students’ “basic rights” and any other perceived “dividing practices” in schools. Virginia schools.

The lawsuit brought by 13 media organizations, including Associated Press, CNN, WHSV and its sister stations in Richmond, Charlottesville and Roanoke, alleges that Youngkin violated the Freedom of Information Act by withholding publication of the emails sent to the tip double.

“The legal process has now been launched, so it’s now up to the court in Youngkin’s office and their office to say, ‘Hey, we have an argument that supports our reasoning,'” NBC29 legal analyst AC Rieman said. .

The Youngkin administration’s justification for not delivering the emails when requested is that they are “working papers”.

“The law defines working papers as anything prepared by or for a public official,” Rieman said.

But in the lawsuit, the media organizations say the emails cannot be working papers. On the one hand, they accuse the emails of being shared with people outside of Youngkin’s office, including the American Enterprise Institute.

“The argument that it’s a working paper because it was prepared by or for a public official doesn’t seem to quite fit the definition that’s in the Virginia Code,” Rieman said. .

The lawsuit, filed in Richmond Circuit Court, could set a new precedent. Media organizations cite several previous FOIA cases, but Rieman said there has never been one quite like this.

“It deserves to have its day in court so the public can have access to these records, or we can kind of get to the bottom of this whistleblower line,” Rieman said.

We have contacted Governor Youngkin’s office for comment on the lawsuit. We haven’t had a response.

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