The petition was filed in Williamson County Chancery Court, outside of Nashville, on behalf of Naomi Judd's husband, Larry Strickland, and her daughters Ashley Judd and Wynonna Judd. The petition states records from the investigation include video and audio interviews from immediately after Judd's death, which would cause "significant trauma and irreparable harm" upon release.
In addition to the video and audio records, the family requested all investigative materials be kept confidential.
Tennessee public records law typically allows local law enforcement records to be released, but police have the discretion to hold records while an investigation is ongoing. When an investigation is closed, that exemption does not apply. Records from closed investigations are regularly released to the media and others.
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The petition said multiple media outlets, including the Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network, have submitted records requests for the documents created during the investigation, including toxicology and autopsy reports.
According to the lawsuit, toxicological and autopsy reports are exempt from the family's request for privacy because they are constituted by Tennessee open records laws as public records.
The court filing, written by attorney J. Michael Shipman argues the records are "private, incredibly sensitive and do nothing more than re-open the fresh wounds of Naomi Judd's death."
Judd, 76, died on April 30 at her home in Leiper's Fork, Tenn. Ashley Judd previously said her mother killed herself, and the family said she was lost to “the disease of mental illness.”
The court filing included statements from Strickland, Wynonna Judd and Ashley Judd attesting the release of records would cause the family anguish and distress.
The petition also included details about how Ashley Judd found her mother alive and stayed by her side for 30 minutes until help arrived.
Ashley Judd said in her statement that she was not informed she was being recorded during interviews with police and did not know the resulting recordings would be available to the public
"I think Naomi Judd should be remembered for the way she lived and not in the matter in which she died," said each statement from family.
The motion is scheduled to be heard in Williamson County Chancery Court at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 12.
Contributing: Associated Press.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Naomi Judd's family sues to prevent release of death records