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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The North Carolina state Supreme Court has sided with legislative leaders who withheld certain information received from state-funded private attorneys about redistricting maps in 2011, ruling that those documents are confidential.

Most of the justices agreed Friday with lawmakers and their lawyers who argued that their correspondence leading to final approval of the maps falls under attorney-client privilege and did not have to be given to people suing over the election districts.

Those challenging the maps cited state law requiring the release of all emails and documents between legislative mapmakers and their attorneys once the maps are approved.

Justice Barbara Jackson wrote that the Legislature did not expressly waive that privilege in the law.

The case now returns to a three-judge panel that is deciding whether the maps are legal.

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