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Randy Travis Files Federal Lawsuit to Block 2012 Naked DWI Arrest Video Release

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Randy Travis has taken the next step in his long quest to block the release of a police video that documents his 2012 DWI arrest, filing a lawsuit in federal court on Sunday (Sept. 10) to prevent the footage from going public.

The American Statesman in Austin reports that Travis’ lawyers are asking U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks to forbid the release of the arrest video. Travis’ filing argues that the video’s release to the public would violate federal medical privacy and disability laws.

The arrest depicted in the footage took place on Aug. 7, 2012, in Tioga, Texas, after police responded to the scene of a one-car accident and found the country legend drunk and incoherent. Travis also faced charges of retaliation and obstruction after officers alleged he “verbally threatened” one of the responders.

The singer, whose hits include “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “On the Other Hand,” “I Told You So,” “Diggin’ up Bones” and “Three Wooden Crosses,” was reportedly naked when he was arrested just before midnight. New reporting from the Statesman indicates Travis was unaware that he was naked and tried to bless responding officers, then prayed for their deaths.

Travis accepted a plea bargain and pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in exchange for authorities dropping the retaliation and obstruction charges.

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He filed suit to prevent the video from going public after requests were made for his arrest video under the Freedom of Information Act, but a judge sided with the Texas Attorney General ‘s office, which decided the video was a matter of public interest. Travis appealed the case all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, with his attorneys further arguing that he can no longer speak to defend himself or explain what happened in the wake of a stroke he suffered in 2013, saying, “The judgment permits the release of information at a patently unfair time, and a patently unfair manner.”

In 2017, A Texas Supreme Court judge let stand2016 ruling by the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals finding that the dashboard camera video is a public record and must be released. That ruling would have allowed the release of Travis’ arrest video redacted from the waist down.

Travis’ new filing repeats the previous claims that releasing the footage would compromise privacy laws and is unfair in light of his medical condition, arguing that most of his actions that night have been revealed publicly.

“What is not known, and should remain private, are how his compromised medical condition and mental state affected his physical actions, mannerisms and words,” the suit states. “The (ordered) release of such highly embarrassing information to the media was inappropriate in light of the fact he can no longer speak cogently and is not even in the position to discuss, let alone defend, his previous actions.”

No court date has been reported yet for Travis’ hearing in his new lawsuit.

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