PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A federal judge in Rhode Island has ruled that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration must release thousands of pages of exhibits used by federal prosecutors in the trial of a doctor convicted of running an Ohio pill mill.

Providence-based freelance journalist Phil Eil (EYEL’) was seeking records in the 2011 trial of Paul Volkman in Cincinnati. The Chicago doctor was convicted of causing the death of four patients who overdosed, and was sentenced to four life terms.

Eil requested the exhibits under the Freedom of Information Act, but the DEA refused to release most of them, citing patients’ privacy.

U.S. District Judge Jack McConnell on Friday ruled disclosure is in the public interest. He said patients’ privacy can be protected by redacting their personal information.