Images of whale trainer's death debated

March 16, 2010 at 12:18 PM

ORLANDO, Fla., March 16 (UPI) -- The family of a SeaWorld Orlando trainer killed by a whale is seeking to keep videos and photos of the incident from public view, Florida officials said.

Circuit Judge Lawrence Kirkwood Monday granted a temporary restraining order against release of the images and was to consider the issue further at a hearing March 24, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Videos taken by SeaWorld cameras show the killer whale drowning Dawn Brancheau Feb. 24. Photos taken by Orange County deputies after the drowning show her body.

In an affidavit, Brancheau's husband, Scott Brancheau, said release of the images "which graphically depict the circumstances of the death of my wife ... will cause me untold anguish, grief and pain."

State law stipulates that materials collected by the sheriff's office during an investigation become public record when the case is closed.

Media groups, including the Sentinel, have requested access to all public records in the case.

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