An attorney for Prince's second wife, Manuela Testolini, argued in Hennepin County Family Court on Thursday against the Star Tribune's request to unseal records from her 2006 divorce from the late musician.
District Judge Thomas Fraser didn't rule on the matter, but took it under advisement after listening to arguments in a hearing that lasted for more than an hour.
Testolini was in court but didn't speak other than to identify herself to the judge. She entered the courtroom with her lawyer and an attorney representing Bremer Trust, the special administrator overseeing Prince's estate, which is estimated to be valued at $100 million to $300 million.
Testolini married Prince in 2001.
Star Tribune attorney Leita Walker said common law and the First Amendment both support the newspaper's request to unseal the divorce records, saying those records became newsworthy only after he was found dead of an accidental overdose of fentanyl on April 21.
Testolini's attorney, Curtis Smith, said the newspaper was too late in making its request. He added that it should have been aware of the divorce in 2006, because Star Tribune columnist C.J. wrote about it at the time.
Smith said the paper did nothing then to challenge the issue.
"We think it's very significant in this case that the Star Tribune sat on their rights," Smith said.
Walker, however, said the Star Tribune chose in 2006 not to pursue the file because, with limited resources, the paper didn't see news value in fighting for it.
That changed with Prince's death as questions surfaced about finances, a will and other issues.
Smith said Testolini, who is now married to R&B singer Eric Benét, is sometimes pursued by paparazzi. She could suffer additional harassment if the file is unsealed, he said.
But Fraser asked how that would change if the divorce details became public.
The release of financial records could make Testolini and her children "targets," said Smith.
Walker said that's nothing more than speculation. He added that Testolini now lives in California, "hundreds of miles from where the interest in all things Prince is strongest."