Bob Saget’s family seeks to block release of autopsy records

Author: Mike Schneider / AP
FILE – Bob Saget arrives at a screening of “MacGruber” on Dec. 8, 2021, in Los Angeles. Saget’s family has released a statement on the cause of his death last month in Florida, citing authorities saying the actor-comedian died from an accidental blow to the head. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

The family of comedian Bob Saget wants a Florida judge to prohibit the release of any photos, video or other records related to the investigation into his death, saying that doing so would cause them irreparable pain.

Saget’s wife, Kelly Rizzo, and his three daughters filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in Orlando, Florida, asking a state judge for a ruling that would prohibit the release of any records from the local medical examiner’s office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office involving the probe into Saget’s death.

Saget, 65, was found dead on Jan. 9 in a room at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando. He had performed in the area the night before as part of a stand-up tour.

The medical examiner said last week that Saget had died from an accidental blow to the head, likely from a backward fall. An autopsy report showed that Saget had an abrasion on his scalp, a fracture at the base of his skull, fractures around his eye sockets, bleeding between the brain and tissue covering the brain as well as bruises to the brain. A toxicology analysis didn’t show any illicit drugs or toxins in Saget’s body.

During the course of the autopsy and death investigation, the medical examiner’s office and sheriff’s office created graphic videos and photos of Saget’s body, as well as audio recordings. Such records are prohibited by state law from being released publicly, but some media outlets have already filed requests for them, according to the family’s lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm in the form of extreme mental pain, anguish, and emotional distress if Defendants release the Records in response to public records requests or otherwise disseminate the records for any other reason or purpose,” their complaint said.

Under a Florida law passed following the death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt two decades ago, records related to autopsies are required to be kept confidential, with only surviving family members or a government agency as part of its official duties allowed to view them.

However, “upon a showing of good cause,” a court can allow the records to be viewed or copied under the supervision of the records’ custodian. In allowing the records to be viewed, a judge must consider whether it’s necessary to evaluate governmental performance and the seriousness of the intrusion into the family’s privacy, among other criteria, according to the law.

“No legitimate public interest would be served by the release or dissemination of the records to the public,” said the lawsuit by Saget’s family.

Saget was best known for his role as beloved single dad Danny Tanner on the sitcom “Full House” and as the wisecracking host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” He was buried in Los Angeles.

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