Judge temporarily blocks release of records from Bob Saget's death investigation

The comedian's family filed a lawsuit Tuesday to prevent any public release.

February 16, 2022, 2:40 PM

A Florida judge has granted the family of Bob Saget a temporary injunction to block the release of records from the investigation of his sudden death, court documents show.

The comedian and actor, who was most famous for his role as Danny Tanner in the sitcom "Full House," was found dead in his Florida hotel room on Jan. 9, authorities said. Saget, 65, died from head trauma, his family said last week. The chief medical examiner for Orange and Osceola counties said that the manner of death was an accident.

On Tuesday, Saget's wife, Kelly Rizzo, and three daughters filed a lawsuit against the medical examiner's office and the Orange County sheriff seeking injunctive relief to prevent the release of any records -- including photographs, video and audio recordings, and "statutorily protected autopsy information" -- related to his death.

"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," the lawsuit stated.

PHOTO: Bob Saget attends Wheelhouse and Rally's celebrity and content-creator private fundraiser event in Los Angeles, Oct. 13, 2021.
Bob Saget attends Wheelhouse and Rally's celebrity and content-creator private fundraiser event in Los Angeles, Oct. 13, 2021.
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images, FILE

The family's complaint contends that media outlets have filed or plan to file public records requests seeking the release of the records and argues that no "legitimate public interest would be served" by their release.

Citing "legitimate privacy interests," the family is seeking to block the release of the records to the public, and that they only be released to his spouse and daughters.

On Wednesday, Circuit Court Judge Vincent Chiu granted the temporary injunction that bars the sheriff and medical examiner's office from releasing any of Saget’s death records. The injunction will remain in effect until a future court decision on the family's request.

The court found that the family has a "clear legal right or interest" in the records, Chiu wrote in his order, "and that the public interest is served by the entry of a temporary injunction to allow the Court adequate opportunity to weigh Plaintiffs' legitimate privacy interest against the public's claim for disclosure."

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Wednesday that while it is "sensitive" to the privacy concerns, "that must be balanced with our commitment to transparency, compliance with the law, and the public’s right to know."

The medical examiner's office said in a statement it had no comment on the litigation and "continues to offer our condolences to the family and loved ones of Robert Saget."

The night before he died, Saget did a show at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall in Jacksonville, Florida. He was found unresponsive in his room at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando "in a supine [face upward] position on his bed," according to a police report.

A preliminary autopsy showed "no evidence of drug use or foul play," medical examiner Dr. Joshua Stephany said.

In an update last week, Stephany said it was his opinion that Saget died from blunt head trauma.

"His injuries were most likely incurred from an unwitnessed fall," he said in a statement.

Saget had several blunt force injuries of the head, according to the medical examiner's autopsy report obtained by ABC News, including a fracture at the base of his skull and fractures involving the frontal bone.

Saget's family shared the findings in their own statement, saying the authorities' investigation "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, his family said.

"As we continue to mourn together, we ask everyone to remember the love and laughter that Bob brought to this world, and the lessons he taught us all: to be kind to everyone, to let the people you love know you love them, and to face difficult times with hugs and laughter," his family said.

ABC News' Will Gretsky, Ben Stein and Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

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