NASHVILLE, TN — The family of country singer Naomi Judd filed an amended lawsuit on Friday to seal police reports and tapes made during the inquest into her death.
The family filed the motion in Williamson County Chancery Court, saying the recordings contain video and audio interviews with loved ones immediately following Judd’s death and that disclosure of these details would inflict “significant trauma and distress.” irreparable harm”.
The petition was filed on behalf of the singer’s husband Larry Strickland and daughters Ashley and Wynonna Judd and was a more detailed follow-up to an earlier request made by the family last week. A representative provided it to The Associated Press with the family’s permission.
Judd, 76, died April 30 at her home in Tennessee. Her daughter Ashley previously said her mother took her own life, and the family said she was lost to “the disease of mental illness”.
Friday’s court filing also included details of how Ashley Judd found her mother alive after shooting herself. Ashley stayed by her mother’s side, waiting 30 minutes until help arrived.
The motion asks the court to prohibit the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office from releasing the records for several reasons, including that the release would include his medical records and that the family has a right to privacy.
Tennessee public records law generally allows local law enforcement records to be released, but police have discretion to retain records while an investigation is ongoing. Once an investigation is closed, this exemption no longer applies. The AP left a message for the sheriff on Friday seeking comment.
Strickland, Wynonna and Ashley Judd submitted statements outlining their concerns about the records. Strickland said in the court filing that he was unaware his interviews with law enforcement were being recorded, adding that he shared personal and private information to help with the investigation.
Ashley Judd said she was in “clinical shock, active trauma and acute distress” when she spoke to law enforcement and did not want these records, including the video, l audio and photos remain permanently in the public domain and haunt the family for generations.
The petition said the Tennessee media had previously filed public records requests in her case.
Judd’s death the day before his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame brought national media attention to the cause of his death, but also to the filing of the estate and testamentary documents.
A family statement said misinformation about the Judds was being spread and they wanted to state the facts, while protecting their privacy during the grieving process.
“Our family continues to grieve together in private, unity and community, acknowledging our mother’s beauty and talents as a gift to the world,” the statement read. “Misinformation has been circulating as we continue to mourn and we regret it. We ask news organizations to report only the facts. And as we recognize that other families struggling as a loved one faces mental health crises, we encourage them to seek help through NAMI: The National Alliance on Mental Illness at 800-950-6264 or call 988 available 24 hours a day.”
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