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Judds ask death investigation report to be sealed

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The family of country singer Naomi Judd filed a court petition Friday to seal police reports and recordings made during the investigation into her death.

The family filed the petition in Williamson County Chancery Court, arguing that the records contain video and audio interviews with family members immediately after Judd’s death, and that releasing those details would inflict “significant trauma and irreparable harm.” .

The petition was filed on behalf of her husband Larry Strickland and their daughters Ashley and Wynonna Judd. A representative provided a copy to The Associated Press with the family’s permission.

Judd, 76, died April 30 at his home in Tennessee. Her daughter Ashley said that her mother committed suicide, and the family indicated that she suffered from “the evil of mental illness.”

The document describes how Ashley Judd found her mother alive after she shot herself. Ashley stayed by her side for 30 minutes until help arrived.

The petition asks the court to bar the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office from releasing the records for several reasons, including that it 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 the discretion to withhold records while an investigation is underway. Once an investigation is closed, that exemption no longer applies.

Strickland and Ashley Judd filed statements outlining their concerns about the records. Strickland said in court documents that he was unaware that his interviews with law enforcement were being recorded and that he shared personal and private information to aid the investigation.

Ashley Judd said she was in “clinical shock, active trauma and acute distress” when she spoke to police and that she did not want those records, including videos, audios and photos, to remain permanently in the public domain and haunt her family for generations.

The petition says media outlets in Tennessee had already filed public records requests in her case.

Judd’s death the day before he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame has drawn intense attention from the American press on the cause of his death, but also on the filing of documents related to the will and estate.

In a statement, the family said misinformation about the Judds was being spread and that they wanted to expose the facts, while protecting their grieving process.

“Our family continues to grieve in private, togetherness and community, acknowledging our mother’s beauty and talents as a gift to the world,” the family statement said. “Misinformation has been circulating as we continue to mourn and mourn. We ask news organizations to only cover the facts. And because we recognize that other families are suffering because a loved one is facing a mental health crisis, we encourage them to seek help through NAMI: the National Alliance on Mental Illness available 24 hours a day at 800-950-6264.”

Naomi and her daughter Wynonna Judd had 14 No. 1 songs in a career that spanned nearly three decades. The redheaded duo combined traditional Appalachian bluegrass sounds with polished pop styles, scoring hit after hit in the 1980s. Wynonna led the duo with her own powerful voice, while Naomi provided her harmonies and grace on stage.

The Judds released six studio albums and one EP between 1984 and 1991 and won nine Country Music Association Awards and seven Academy of Country Music Awards. The duo received five Grammy Awards for hits like “Why Not Me” and “Give A Little Love,” and Naomi won a sixth Grammy for writing “Love Can Build a Bridge.”

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