Local News

Beauty Queen Continues Fight To Keep Photos Private

Posted March 12, 2004 3:59 a.m. EST

— Former Miss North Carolina Rebekah Revels went before a Wake County judge Friday, asking to reinstate her lawsuit against the state pageant. It is the latest fight in a battle over topless photos that cost Revels her crown.

Two years later, Revels is still fighting the reason behind her resignation.

"I was Miss North Carolina and that opportunity and right was taken from me," she said.

Revels gave up the 2002 Miss North Carolina crown when her former fiance, Tosh Welsh, threatened to expose topless pictures of her.

Revels is suing the Miss North Carolina Pageant for breach of contract. An arbitrator threw out the case when Revels refused to turn over pictures at the center of the controversy.

"That would have sacrificed my client's privacy and personal integrity rights without any remedy," attorney Barry Nakell said.

Pageant attorneys argue by not producing the photos, their client is denied the opportunity to defend themselves.

"It's just a common rule of evidence as you heard today. It just boggles the legal imagination not to consider them relevant," said Kenneth Carlson, Miss North Carolina Pageant attorney.

While praising Revels' attorney's passion for privacy, Cashwell acknowledged Revels did not comply with the arbitrator's order to turn over the pictures.

"If I filed a lawsuit to recover damages for injuries I received in an auto accident, I can't stand up and say 'You can't get my medical records,'" Cashwell said.

Revels and her attorney are so adamant about not turning over these photos, they are willing to risk a premature end to the multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

"It's never been about the money; it's what I believe is right, justice," Revels said.

Despite his comments, Judge Narley Cashwell says he has not made a decision yet. He is expected to rule within two weeks.

The photos are being kept on a disc in Revels' attorney's safety deposit box.

Revels is currently doing public relations work for the Lumbee Tribe in Robeson County.