A private audio tape of Naomi Judd recorded right before she committed suicide – along with handwritten Post-It notes — are at the center of the Judd Family’s court battle to block records from being released.
As previously reported, Naomi’s husband Larry Strickland and her daughters Ashley and Wynonna rushed to court in August claiming the release of the records — which included photos, videos, and audios interviews — would cause “significant trauma and irreparable harm” if released.
The family said they were aware multiple media outlets had requested the file including Naomi’s toxicology and autopsy reports.
In the petition, the family lawyer revealed Ashley found her mom after she had shot herself in the head. The actress stayed with her mother for 30 minutes before help arrived.
At the hearing, the Judd family argued that it would be traumatic and cause them irreparable harm if the file was released. Their lawyer said the family was still grieving the loss of their mother.
“We want to have this stuff — these materials never released,” the Judd family attorney said. The lawyer said he he did not believe the news outlets — who were present for the hearing — would release the graphic death photos.
However, he told the court he feared other “sordid news organizations” would. He pointed out they weren’t only fighting over death photos but also “more personal things, such as video and pictures of the incident itself, as well as the immediate reaction of family members still on the scene.”
The lawyer for the county said they believed the majority of the records should be public.
They revealed that after Naomi’s death they received calls from her husband’s business manager and then from a variety of lawyers fairly soon later.
They said they shared some of the contents with the previous lawyers involved. The lawyer for the county said they reviewed the body cam footage and said there are 3 cameras worn that day.
The lawyer also revealed one piece of evidence at issue is an audio recording Naomi made.
The judge asked if it was the 911 call, but the lawyer said it was not.
The lawyer said it “was an audio recording that was made, apparently, by a friend, and then provided to Mr. Stickland, and then provided to the detectives at a time when Ms. Judd was in distress, before she shot herself.”
When asked if the audio was recorded the day of Naomi’s death, the lawyer said, “I believe it was relatively temporally close. But I can’t say as I stand here right now if it was the same day or not.”
During the hearing, the lawyers also mentioned handwritten Post-It notes that Naomi left behind.
The judge in the case ended the hearing indicating he believed the majority of the records should be public — however, the Judd family has since filed an appeal and the matter is still being fought over in court.
As previously reported, Naomi’s death was ruled a suicide according to the official autopsy report.
“She had an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and was transported to Williamson Medical Center where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival,” the report read.
“Per family, the decedent has had prior suicidal ideations and recent life stressors,” the report added. “A weapon and a note with suicidal connotations were found near the decedent at the scene.”
The report noted that Naomi had struggled with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, chronic idiopathic pneumonitis, hepatitis C, hypertension and hypothyroidism.
Naomi had a variety of drugs in her system at the time of her death used to treat Parkinson’s disease, depression and seizures.