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Prosecutors, in turn Prince research files to family members

FILE – In this Feb. 4, 2007, file photo, Prince performs during the halftime show of the Super Bowl XLI football game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami. Carver County prosecutors have pledged to take care of Prince’s brothers and sisters with documents associated with their investigation into his death. John Goetz, an attorney for Prince brothers and sisters, says he expected the officers of justice will be the medical examiner’s autopsy investigation this week and the other research files next week. (AP Photo/Chris O’meara, File)

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The prosecutors in the province where the Prince was found dead have agreed to his brothers and sisters, with research documents, so that the family can determine whether civil litigation is justified, according to a stipulation filed with the court Wednesday.

The siblings and their lawyers must keep the information confidential, or could be held in contempt of court, the agreement says. A judge has not yet signed, according to court records, but that is usually a formality when both parties agree.

The prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator on his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Search warrants released about a year later showed authorities were looking for him at home, mobile phone records of associates and e-mail accounts to try to determine how he the drug. The authorities found a variety of pills in various containers around the Prince home, including a number of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl. But the source of these funds has not yet been established.

Lawyers of the Prince’s brothers and sisters filed motions earlier this year to the research data, including the medical examiner’s examination, so that they can determine whether lawsuits were earned, before the time expires to file civil claims. The prescription can be for up to two years in some cases.

“That is why we need the records,” said John Goetz, an attorney for Prince brothers and sisters. “They give us some guidelines on who might be culpable in his death.”

Carver County Attorney Mark Metz gave a statement last month said that he would object to the disclosure of the data, citing the ongoing investigation. Metz does not return a text message seeking comment Wednesday, but the agreement is filed in Anoka County, where the autopsy was done, bears his signature.

Goetz said he expects to receive from the medical examiner’s autopsy investigation this week. He said he expects that a similar agreement be reached next week on the rest of the research files.

“We are very happy that we finally have all the facts and determine what progress we might be able to pursue for our customers for the loss of their brother,” he said.

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