Potential Release of Kurt Cobain Death Scene Photos To Be Argued in Seattle Court
Today (July 31) a Seattle judge will hear arguments on whether or not to proceed with a trial that may result in the release of graphic photos of Kurt Cobain's death. Though the official cause of Cobain's 1994 death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, conspiracy theorist Richard Lee is suing the city in an attempt to have the Nirvana frontman's death photos released to prove that there was actually no gunshot wound.
Though it's been 21 years since Kurt Cobain's passing, photos of the musician dead in his home have never been seen by the public. Last year, photos emerged of the scene, but not of Cobain's body itself. Both Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, and his daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, are fighting to keep it that way.
Alternative Nation recently published official declarations from both Courtney and Frances Bean which will be used in today's court hearing. "I once saw mock photos depicting my father’s body," Frances' declaration reads. "That experience irreparably scarred me. I cried for days afterward. Those horrible images still haunt me. I cannot imagine how terrible it would be knowing that the photographs that Mr. Lee seeks were public, and that I or any of my loved ones, including my father’s mother and sisters, might inadvertently see them. Release and publication of the photographs would shock me and exacerbate the post traumatic stress that I have suffered since childhood."
Frances' statement continues, "Releasing the photographs would physically endanger me and my mother. My mother and I both receive a constant stream of death threats from very disturbed individuals who are obsessed with my father. Once, a stalker broke into my home while I was on vacation, and laid in wait for three days. This person’s twisted explanation was that he was meant to be with me because my father’s soul had entered my body."
Courtney Love's declaration reads, "I am routinely called a murderer and receive death threats by conspiracy-theory obsessed individuals who believe I was somehow involved in my husband’s death, and the public release of these images would only exacerbate such activity and further endanger my safety."
Richard Lee, 51, runs a public-access TV show called Now See it Person to Person: Kurt Cobain Was Murdered. He's now suing the city and the Seattle police department for the records and photos from Cobain's death scene under the state Public Records Act. Alternative Nation also published Lee's official declaration, which sites the public's free access to photos of Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy postmortem.
“(The Public Records Act) does not provide a forum, as Lee would have it, for litigating personal theories about Kurt Cobain’s death,” Assistant City Attorney Mary Perry wrote in the request for dismissal or summary judgment. “Allegations concerning the adequacy of an investigation do not warrant disclosure of information that would violate an individual’s right to privacy.” [via Seattle Times]
Despite this, Lee remains optimistic and is even acting as his own lawyer in this case. “These are the intricacies of civil law and this is a technical challenge,” Lee says. “My understanding is that I will clear this hurdle.” Stay tuned for updates on this story as news breaks.
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