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Judge: Ruling About Revels' Photos Does Not Apply To Other Case

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ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. — Miss North Carolina 2003 heads to Atlantic City, N.J. next week for preliminary competition in the Miss America pageant. A former Miss North Carolina took center stage Tuesday in a Robeson County courtroom with continued efforts to keep topless pictures of herself private.

Rebekah Revels said she never wanted topless pictures of herself to be taken and she does not want them to be seen by anyone now.

"It is my constitutional right to keep my body private," she said.

In a lawsuit last year against her former fiance, Tosh Welch, a judge ordered the photos remain private.The Miss North Carolina pageant wants to see the pictures.

"Not to disclose them to the press or to appear on the morning talk shows, not to do anything but properly defend the claims," said Ken Carlson, an attorney for the Miss North Carolina pageant.

Revels said pageant leaders forced her to resign over the photos and she is suing for breach of contract. Her attorney, Barry Nakell, has refused to turn over the pictures to the pageant, citing the protective order issued in the Welch case last year.

In a ruling Tuesday, Judge Gary Locklear said his order in the Welch case does not control how they are used in another case. Locklear said he has no authority over other courts, includingan arbitration judge who had told Revels to produce the picturesbeing kept by her attorney.

While the ruling clears the way for the pictures to be used in arbitration between Revels and the pageant,Miss North Carolina pageant officials may still not see the pictures.

Nakell said he made a promise to his client to keep the photos private and is not that willing to break that pledge.

"Could you take photographs of this wonderful woman and turn them over? I made a commitment to her that I would do everything in my power to recover these photographs and prevent them from being shown to any other person," he said.

Miss North Carolina pageant attorneys said they believe in Revels' dignity and will protect the photos from circulation.Nakell said he will likely appeal the ruling.

Revels, who won the state pageant in June 2002, gave up the title after Welch sent an e-mail to Miss America pageant officials about the photos. The lawsuit to reclaim her title from MistyClymer, the first runner-up, continues. Clymer represented thestate in the Miss America pageant last year.

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