Tuesday, June 21, 2011

{alltv} Producer wants child witness to fight extradition

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. – A reality television producer charged with killing his wife in Mexico will ask a U.S. federal judge to allow the couple's 6-year-old daughter to testify at an upcoming extradition proceeding, his attorneys said Tuesday.

They want the young girl to be allowed to testify that she did not see her parents arguing while on a family vacation in April 2010 that ended with the body of Monica Beresford-Redman being found in a sewer at a swank Cancun resort.

Attorneys for ex-"Survivor" producer Bruce Beresford-Redman acknowledge that getting the girl on the witness stand is a long-shot. But attorneys Richard Hirsch and Vicki Podberesky said at a news conference Tuesday outside their law offices that a federal judge should allow them to present witnesses and evidence that exonerate the producer in his wife's killing.

The girl, who was 5-years-old at the time of her mother's death, was interviewed by a child therapist who states in court filings that the girl did not witness any violence involving her parents in their hotel room. Prosecutors contend Bruce Beresford-Redman may have killed his wife in the room they shared with their two young children, then dumped her in a sewage cistern.

If their request to present evidence and witnesses is rejected, the Emmy-nominated producer's extradition hearing would be a short one, focusing on whether Mexico's request to have him returned to stand trial on an aggravated homicide charge is in proper order.

Hirsch and Podberesky on Tuesday again attacked Mexico's investigation of the case, saying there was no physical evidence that their client killed his wife. They acknowledge he had a motive — the Mexico trip had been planned to try to save the marriage after Monica Beresford-Redman discovered her husband was having a long-term affair. But the attorneys say nothing in the hotel room or at the cistern supports a case that Bruce Beresford-Redman killed his wife.

Hirsch said Tuesday that he worried about the producer's safety if he is returned to Mexico, saying the jails in Cancun are dangerous and describing the city and surrounding areas as rife with corruption and drug violence.

The extradition hearing is scheduled for July 12, but Beresford-Redman's attorneys are seeking a delay so that his parents can attend the proceedings. They are required to be in a Los Angeles probate court that day for a hearing on the validity of Monica Beresford-Redman's will, which her family has challenged.

Her family has attacked the effort to bring the couple's daughter into the homicide case.

"While we respect his right to defend himself, such a tactic is indefensible," Alison Triessl, an attorney who represents Monica Beresford-Redman's family, wrote in a statement. It is our hope that the Court will deny his shameless request and focus on the overwhelming evidence in this case."

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