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Rock band's singer takes Fifth in R.I. nightclub fire lawsuits

Jack Russell, lead singer of the band Great White, in a Feb. 28, 2003, file photo. Elise Amendola / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

The lead singer for the 1980s rock band Great White has refused to answer allegations in lawsuits filed against him by the families of victims of the deadly nightclub fire that was sparked by the band’s pyrotechnics.

In papers filed in U.S. District Court, Jack Russell’s lawyers said he “faces a real possibility of criminal prosecution” for the 2003 fire that killed 100 people, and that therefore, he is asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

Mike Healey, spokesman for Attorney General Patrick Lynch, told The Providence Journal for Monday’s editions that “there is no open grand jury investigation going on” in connection with the fire at the Station nightclub in West Warwick.

A grand jury indicted the club’s two owners and the band’s former tour manager each on 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Healey said the attorney general’s office has no plans to prosecute anyone else for the fire.

Eight civil lawsuits are pending in federal court on behalf of survivors of fire and victim’s families.