Judge: Pastor Tims Cause of Death Can Be Released

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The cause of death for Pastor Zachery Tims will likely be revealed within the next two days, after a Florida judge ruled that his autopsy results could not be kept private solely because of his status.

Justice Cynthia Kern said that releasing information on Tims cause of death is not illegal, "within the purview" of the examiner's office and " fundamental to its mission" of keeping the public informed.

Tims was found dead in a New York hotel room in August, and an initial cause of death could not be determined.

One day before results of a second autopsy and toxicology report were to be revealed, Tims' mother, Madeline, sued the New York City medical examiner's office to keep the results sealed.

Arguments on the case were heard Nov. 23.

Tims' mother argued that making the information known could be embarrassing to the family and congregants of New Destiny Christian Center, the church Tims co-founded.

Shortly after Tims' death, there was speculation that he may have returned to his past drug use. A small envelope filled with a white powder was found in his pocket.

"This court declares that, upon public inquiry, the [medical examiner's office] may release the cause and manner of death in the cases it handles," Kern ruled.

The New York City medical examiner's office can release the cause of death in as little as 48 hours of the Dec. 19 ruling.

Meanwhile, Tims' Florida megachurch will announce its new pastor on New Year's Eve.

NDCC leaders released a statement to supporters saying New Year's Day services would be held at the church "with our new pastor."

Paula White has preached at the church several times since Tims's death.

According to local reports, NDCC members received a survey this past Sunday asking if they wanted White as their next pastor. No other person was named in the survey.

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