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Judge temporarily seals records from Bob Saget’s death investigation at family’s request

Bob Saget, who was also the original host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” was found dead in a hotel room in Orlando on Jan. 9 at the age of 65. (Video: Julie Yoon/The Washington Post)
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A Florida judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked the release of certain records related to comedian Bob Saget’s death and the ensuing investigation.

Circuit Judge Vincent Chiu found that Saget’s wife, Kelly Rizzo, and his three daughters would “suffer irreparable harm in the form of severe mental pain, anguish, and emotional distress if the requested temporary injunction is not granted.” The temporary motion applies to “any photographs, video recordings, audio recordings” and some protected autopsy information.

Brian Bieber, an attorney representing the Saget family, said in a statement, “We are pleased that the Court focused on the human elements here.”

Saget, 65, was found dead in an Orlando hotel room on Jan. 9. His family announced last week that the autopsy determined Saget died of accidental head trauma.

“They 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,” the family said in a statement.

Actor and comedian Bob Saget dies at 65

Saget’s family filed a lawsuit Tuesday requesting the temporary block. It named the Orange County, Fla., sheriff and the medical examiner’s office. The family stated that releasing certain records would violate their right to privacy.

The lawsuit came as news outlets began filing public-records requests to obtain documentation from the investigation, which includes photographs, video and audio recordings, and autopsy information, according to court documents. But Saget’s family argued in their lawsuit that “no legitimate public interest would be served by the release or dissemination of the Records to the public.”

In a statement to The Post, Bieber said his clients were mainly concerned about photos or videos of Saget being released.

“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,” Bieber said. “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.”

Bob Saget died of head trauma, family says

The lawsuit said the records “graphically depict Mr. Saget” and claimed that releasing the documentation would violate the family’s constitutional right to privacy.

“The Records are confidential and exempt from disclosure under Florida law,” the lawsuit said, “… any release or dissemination of the Records by Defendants would violate such rights.”

The family argued that if the documents were released, they would immediately be shared on the Internet and published by print and television media outlets, further violating their privacy.

Saget, best known for his role in “Full House” and as the host of the original “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” was on a stand-up tour when hotel security found him dead in his room at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Hours before his death, Saget tweeted about being “happily addicted” to being back on the road.

“Loved tonight’s show,” he wrote. “… I had no idea I did a 2 hr set tonight.”

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The medical examiner on Thursday stated that there were no illegal drugs in Saget’s system and that his “injuries were most likely incurred from an unwitnessed fall.” The autopsy report also said he was positive for the coronavirus and that he had an enlarged heart, the New York Times reported. But neither contributed to his death, the medical examiner said.

Saget’s death led to an outpouring of tweets and Instagram posts from his co-stars, fellow comedians and celebrity friends.

“I am broken. I am gutted. I am in complete and utter shock. I will never ever have another friend like him. I love you so much Bobby,” John Stamos, Saget’s “Full House” co-star, tweeted.

“Bob Saget was the kindest, warmest male comic there was,” comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted. “I loved it whenever I saw him, or heard from him. He was the guy that everyone loved. Love you, Bob Saget. You will be missed and loved for a long time.”

Sonia Rao contributed to this report.