MIAMI BEACH — A Miami-Dade County circuit court judge has ordered the Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission to release an unredacted version of its investigative report on the death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.
The same judge, Lisa Walsh, also ordered surveillance footage from inside the last Miami Beach bar visited by Fernandez before the DUI-related boat crash that also claimed the lives of two of his friends to be used only by the lawyers involved in a lawsuit against Fernandez’s estate.
By the same token Walsh decided the public, including thousands of Fernandez fans, will be barred from viewing both the report and the video.
The documents have been requested by lawyers defending Fernandez’s estate from a lawsuit brought by the families of the other men killed in the September 2016 crash, Emilio Macias and Eduardo Rivero.
They want millions in damages because, the redacted FWC report shows, Fernandez was piloting the fast boat with a blood alcohol level three times the DUI limit and cocaine in his system when it crashed into a jetty in Miami Beach.
Since the lawsuit was filed in February, the Fernandez family lawyers have been blasting the FWC investigation as flawed and claiming Fernandez may have ingested cocaine inadvertently while drinking at American Social, the Miami Beach bar last visited by Fernandez.
They believe the unredacted FWC report could unveil more inaccuracies and mitigating circumstances, and that footage could show someone slipping cocaine into Fernandez’s drinks.
So Walsh last month ordered the state agency to release the report with the dozens of missing narrative points but ordered the lawyers to keep the documents out of the public realm.
Two weeks ago, Walsh allowed the use of the footage from American Social for the purpose of the lawsuit only.
While one source close to the case said the footage shows people, including Fernandez and his friends, drinking and partying in a public place, Walsh deemed the video “sensitive.”
She failed to explain what was so “sensitive” about folks partying and wrote a six-page order to seal it from public eyes.
Walsh failed to respond to a request for comment.