What We Know About The Decision To Permanently Seal Bob Saget's Autopsy Records

A circuit judge in Orlando, Florida, ruled to permanently seal comedian Bob Saget's autopsy records, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Judge Vincent Chiu made permanent the temporary order already in place to prohibit the release of certain records — including photos and videos — relating to the investigation into Saget's death.

Saget, 65, the well-known star of such shows as "Full House" and "America's Funniest Home Videos," was on a stand-up comedy tour when he was found dead on January 9, 2022, in a Ritz-Carlton hotel room in Orlando. According to the medical examiner, Saget's cause of death was an accidental blow to the back of the head, likely from a fall. Over the course of the autopsy, the medical examiner's office and the Orange County Sheriff's office created photo, video, and sound recordings graphically detailing Saget's injuries. Saget's widow, Kelly Rizzo, and his three daughters filed a lawsuit in February seeking to stop both offices from releasing these autopsy records.

Privacy vs. tranparency

Noting that the records detailing Bob Saget's injuries were graphic, the lawsuit stated that the release of such records would cause the family "irreparable harm in the form of extreme mental pain, anguish, and emotional distress," according to ABC News. Citing the family's need for privacy, the lawsuit further stated that no "legitimate public interest would be served" by releasing such documents. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the records in question were already prohibited from public release by state law, though some news outlets requested them.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office argued by way of a written statement that though it appreciated the need for privacy, "that must be balanced with our commitment to transparency, compliance with the law, and the public's right to know," according to ABC News. The medical examiner's office did not comment on the lawsuit except to offer "condolences to the family and loved ones of Robert Saget."

'The healing process can continue to go forward'

"It's very simple," a lawyer of Bob Saget's family told CNN. "From a human and legal standpoint, the Saget family's privacy rights outweigh any public interest in disclosure of this sensitive information." Judge Vincent Chiu ultimately agreed with this argument, first issuing a temporary stay on the release of certain records, then ruling to make the decision permanent. The final ruling came approximately one month after the lawsuit was filed.

"The entire Saget family is grateful that the judge granted their request for an injunction to preserve Bob's dignity, as well as their privacy rights, especially after suffering this unexpected and tragic loss," the family's attorney Brian Bieber said in a statement via CNN. "We are pleased this issue has been resolved, and the healing process can continue to move forward."

The cause of death was determined to be blunt trauma to the head, and the manner was determined to be accidental, according to the final report issued by the Orange County Sheriff's Office (via CNN). No evidence of foul play or drug or alcohol use was found.