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Bob Saget’s family sues Florida officials to block release of death records

Bob Saget attends "The Big Short" New York premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on November 23, 2015 in New York City. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

The family of comedian and actor Bob Saget has filed a lawsuit to block Florida officials from publicly releasing photographs and other records from an investigation into his death last month, court documents showed.

Citing privacy concerns, Saget’s wife and other family members said photos, videos and other recordings stemming from Orange County Sheriff’s investigation into the comedian’s death should only be released to the family.

Saget, 65, best known as the jovial dad on the television sitcom Full House, was found dead in an Orlando, Florida, hotel room last month. His family previously said the cause was head trauma that occurred when he accidentally hit his head.

Various news outlets have been seeking access to the investigative records.

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“In the process of these investigations, Defendants created records which include photographs, video recordings, audio recordings, statutorily protected autopsy information, and all other statutorily protected information,” reads the lawsuit. “Upon information and belief, some of these Records graphically depict Mr. Saget, his likeness or features, or parts of him, and were made by Defendants during Defendants’ investigations.”

“Release of the records to the public would cause immediate and widespread dissemination of the Records to the internet, as well as print and television media outlets, which would cause irreparable harm in the form of extreme mental pain, anguish, and emotional distress,” Saget’s wife Kelly Rizzo and other relatives said in the court filing.

Brian Bieber, a lawyer for the Saget family, said the move is about protecting privacy.

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“The facts of the investigation should be made public, but these materials should remain private out of respect for the dignity of Mr. Saget and his family. It’s very simple — from a human and legal standpoint, the Saget family’s privacy rights outweigh any public interest in disclosure of this sensitive information.”

The comedian and Full House star was found dead Jan. 9 in a Florida hotel room. He’d performed in the area the night before as part of a stand-up tour.

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A toxicology analysis didn’t show any illicit drugs or toxins in Saget’s body, according to a statement from Medical Examiner Joshua Stephany in Orlando.

An autopsy report released later Thursday 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.

Saget was also positive for COVID-19 but had no inflammation in his respiratory system, according to the report.

The medical examiner’s conclusion was first announced by Saget’s family on Wednesday.

“The authorities have determined that Bob passed from head trauma,” their statement said. “They have concluded that he accidentally hit the back of his head on something, thought nothing of it and went to sleep. No drugs or alcohol were involved.”

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The autopsy report said that he was taking the prescription drug clonazepam, which treats anxiety, panic disorders and seizures.

According to the report, Saget also had cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart), and showed aortic atherosclerosis (plaque build-up inside the wall of the aorta) and coronary artery atherosclerosis (damage/disease in the heart’s major blood vessels).

The 65-year-old entertainer was found on his hotel bed at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando. A hotel security officer entered the room after Saget failed to check out, and called 911. There were no signs of foul play, authorities said last month.

Representatives for the Orange County Sheriff’s office and Florida’s District Nine Medical Examiner’s Office, both named in the lawsuit, could not be immediately reached for comment on the filing, first reported by USA Today.

With files from Global News’ Chris Jancelewicz and The Associated Press

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