TV Producer Accused of Murdering his Wife Fights Extradition Order

September 20, 2011

Attorneys for a former “Survivor” producer charged with killing his wife in Mexico argued in court papers filed Monday that a judge ignored conflicting evidence while permitting his extradition to stand trial in that country.

The motion filed by lawyers for Bruce Beresford-Redman contends the extradition ruling should be overturned because there is no physical evidence to support returning the reality television producer to Cancun.

The filing accuses U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian of “culling through the facts and selecting those most supportive of probable cause while rejecting those which were exculpatory or did not fit the government’s theory of culpability.”

The Emmy-nominated producer has been jailed in Los Angeles since November on a fugitive warrant. Chooljian ruled in late July there was probable cause to support his extradition.

Beresford-Redman is accused of killing his wife Monica on a family vacation in April 2010.

His attorneys filed a petition for writ of habeus corpus in August arguing that his detention was not supported by facts in the case. The filing offered no details, but Monday’s document attacks the credibility of several pieces of evidence and witness statements.

U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez will consider Beresford-Redman’s petition.

Both federal prosecutors and the sisters of Monica Beresford-Redman have said they expect months of court and administrative proceedings before the producer is extradited. If he is convicted of aggravated homicide in Mexico, he faces 12 to 30 years in prison.

Prosecutors have presented statements from hotel guests who said they heard loud arguing and cries of distress coming from the couple’s room on the night Monica Beresford-Redman went missing. Her body was found days later in a sewer cistern not far from the room the couple shared with their young children.

The producer’s attorneys have claimed the noises came from Beresford-Redman and his children playing loud games throughout the night. They introduced statements from the couple’s 6-year-old daughter to corroborate the claim, but the judge was not swayed.

The filing states Mexican authorities found no blood evidence in the couple’s hotel room and argued that investigators, prosecutors and Chooljian used the fact that the couple was experiencing marital problems due to an affair by Bruce Beresford-Redman to support the theory that he killed his wife.

Chooljian stated in her July written ruling that she had considered all evidence, but the facts supported the case against the producer.

This article was written by Anthony McCartney and published on September 19, 2011.

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Extradition Ordered for Former TV Producer Accused in Wife’s Murder

July 27, 2011

A federal judge in Los Angeles issued an order yesterday certifying that a former reality show producer has met the legal requirements to be extradited to Mexico to face charges of killing his wife while they were vacationing in Cancun.

Bruce Beresford-Redman’s lawyers said they would appeal the judge’s order.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian wrote in the 17-page document that “sufficient evidence has been presented to establish probable cause that Beresford-Redman … committed the offense for which extradition has been sought, namely the aggravated homicide of Monica Burgos Beresford-Redman. … the court concludes that Beresford-Redman is extraditable for the offense for which extradition has been requested.”

Defense attorney Richard G. Hirsch said he has two or three weeks to file an appeal with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. If that fails, the case could eventually be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Beresford Redman is charged in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, with aggravated homicide in the death of his 41-year-old wife of 11 years. Her nude, beaten body was found at a Cancun resort on April 8, 2010, three days after her husband reported her missing.

Mexican authorities collected evidence that allegedly suggests that Beresford-Redman killed the West Los Angeles restaurant owner and then dumped her body in a sewer 25 meters from their room at the hotel where they were staying with their two children.

At a July 12 hearing in Los Angeles federal court, Hirsch and co-counsel Vicki Podberesky argued against extradition, claiming statements from the couple’s 6-year-old daughter suggest the couple were getting along during the trip and there was no evidence of a fight.

“If the court looks at this evidence through the lens of common sense,” no proof exists to suggest Beresford-Redman committed the murder, Hirsch argued then.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin R. Rhoades countered that Beresford-Redman allegedly killed his wife for three reasons — insurance money, custody of the children, and to continue an extramarital affair with a co-worker. “So, the fugitive had a motive to murder his wife,” Rhoades told Chooljian earlier this month.

The prosecutor further argued that there were “very strong grounds” to suggest Beresford-Redman was “lying in wait” for the victim and had an “unfair advantage” over her in terms of strength and size.

Rhoades said that during the final year of the couple’s marriage, Beresford-Redman became increasingly aggressive toward his wife, particularly after she found out about her husband’s affair.

According to papers filed by U.S. prosecutors, Monica Beresford-Redman was struck on the head with a bat-like object, her face was pummeled and her body sustained trauma consistent with being thrown against the hotel-room Jacuzzi. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation.

The prosecutor alleged the “victim fought back,” leaving scratches and bruises on her husband’s head and body. Defense attorneys maintain the injuries were the result of a Cancun jungle boat trip the family took days earlier.

Police searched the couple’s hotel room and allegedly found blood spatter throughout the bathroom, on a pillow, on a piece of furniture and on a balcony leading to a garden, according to court documents.

On the day his wife disappeared, prosecutors allege Beresford-Redman placed a “Do Not Disturb” placard on their hotel room door and refused to allow the maid to clean until a day later.

Rhoades said that hours before he reported his wife missing, the suspect’s electronic room key card shows the door was opened and closed several times around 4 a.m., possibly to “see if the coast is clear before disposing of a dead

Podberesky discounted such potential evidence, saying that all Mexican prosecutors have against her client is “the idea of motive.”

Beresford-Redman left Cancun after his wife’s death and was arrested seven months later by U.S. authorities at his Rancho Palos Verdes home.

“His last act in Mexico was to flee across the border … from prosecution,” Rhoades said earlier.

The couple’s two young children are in the custody of their paternal grandparents.

To view the full text of Magistrate Judge Chooljian’s opinion click here.

This article was published by Fox LA on July 26, 2011.

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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TV producer accused in wife’s death seeks daughter’s testimony to prevent his extradition to Mexico

July 11, 2011

A reality TV producer is hoping his 6-year-old daughter will be allowed to testify at his extradition hearing this week and unravel authorities’ theory that he murdered his wife in their Cancun, Mexico, suite.

Bruce Beresford-Redman, who made a name for himself overseeing “Survivor,” has seemingly adopted the show’s title as his mantra as authorities seek to extradite him to Mexico on charges that he suffocated Monica Beresford-Redman in April 2010 and dumped her body into a wastewater treatment tank.

The family vacation was a last-ditch effort to repair the Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., couple’s troubled 11-year marriage, according to U.S. prosecutors and Mexican police, who said Bruce Beresford-Redman’s wife had caught her husband cheating and left him briefly in the month before her death.

But his lawyers say there was a “rush to judgment” after his wife’s body was discovered, and they will ask a federal judge Tuesday to reject extradition.

“They have mostly circumstantial evidence based on some noises heard from the hotel and some scratches on him,” said attorney Vicki L. Podberesky.

The daughter’s testimony will show there is no probable cause to support his extradition, Podberesky said, and that she last saw her mother when the woman left the suite for a solo shopping trip April 5, 2010. Monica Beresford-Redman, 41, never returned.

Bruce Beresford-Redman’s defense in court papers portrays the Cancun jurisdiction as having a history of corruption and attacks on tourists.

In 2006, a Canadian couple was killed at another Cancun resort and authorities accused two Canadian women of double murder. The crime was later found to have been committed by a hotel security guard.

Witness testimony in extradition hearings is at the judge’s discretion, and child witnesses are rare in federal court.

A judge in an extradition proceeding needs to find only probable cause, veteran attorneys said.

Bruce Beresford-Redman’s attorneys said in court papers that the girl can explain her father’s cuts and scratches and the loud noises that emanated from their suite.

The girl told her therapist and one of the producer’s lawyers that the noises were part of loud games, according to a defense motion filed last Wednesday. The screams other hotel guests heard were her brother yelling, she said.

As to the cuts, she “recalls that her father obtained scratches during a trip they took to an underground river,” and she remembers putting bandages on her father’s arms and legs.

Without the noise and scratches, the producers’ lawyers say, “there is a complete lack of forensic evidence.” They note that blood evidence examined in the room and on a pillowcase did not match either Beresford-Redman.

The lawyers say the girl would also testify that her parents did not yell at or hit each in Mexico and that her mother left wearing a blue dress the day she disappeared. Her last words to her daughter were, “I love you; I’ll be back soon.”

Federal prosecutors, however, said the move to call the girl is intended to distract the court from “overwhelming evidence” that the 40-year-old producer “killed his wife” and fled Mexico despite agreeing to remain there.

Prosecutors painted a picture of a desperate man who was caught in an affair and killed his restaurateur wife, then tried to cover his tracks.

Six weeks before her killing, Monica Beresford-Redman told her sister that she caught her husband cheating after discovering romantic emails.

The sister, Jean Ferreira Burgos, told Mexican investigators that Monica Beresford-Redman again discovered email exchanges with the other woman.

The day before his wife disappeared, the reality TV producer nearly hit his wife outside the resort, a hotel employee told Mexican investigators.

The next morning, April 5, an English family reported being awakened about 6 a.m. by screams and crying from the producer’s room.

The producer allegedly told a hotel staffer that he had been arguing with his wife over the children’s behavior.

That morning his wife went shopping about 8 a.m. and never returned, Bruce Beresford-Redman told authorities. His wife left without a passport, cellphone or key card.

That entire day, a “do not disturb” sign hung on their hotel room door.
In the early hours of April 6, a key card was used to open the room’s door, including four times around 4 a.m.

Two days later, Monica Beresford-Redman’s nude body was found in the sewage tank. There was a wound on the face and some hair had been pulled out. She had been suffocated. Her credit card and most of her money were gone, but not her wedding band.

The majority of this article was written by Richard Winton and published by the Los Angeles Times on July 11, 2011.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Extradition of Former “Survivor” Producer to Mexico Underway

February 1, 2011

Mexican authorities have offered the most detailed account of their case against a former “Survivor” producer accused of killing his wife in Cancun, including chronicles of their tumultuous relationship.

The shipment of more than 400 pages of investigative documents by Mexican officials led federal prosecutors in Los Angeles on Monday to formally request that Bruce Beresford-Redman be extradited to Mexico and stand trial on an aggravated homicide charge. He is suspected of killing his wife, Monica, during a family vacation last April.

While many of the details have been previously released by U.S. prosecutors, the Mexican documents include detailed witness statements and forensic reports that Beresford-Redman’s attorneys have been seeking.

Beresford-Redman has not yet entered a formal plea. His attorneys have attacked Mexico’s investigation and its case, saying there was evidence that would exonerate their client.

Prosecutors alleged Beresford-Redman killed his wife on April 5, 2010, at a swank resort in Cancun and later placed her in a septic tank. Her body was found on April 8.

An autopsy found evidence that she had been punched in the face and asphyxiated, according to statements and reports released Monday.

In a statement to police, Beresford-Redman admitted arguing with his wife at the resort, but denied he was ever violent toward her.

Beresford-Redman has been jailed since November 16 on a fugitive warrant. Beresford-Redman will most likely fight the extradition to Mexico.

To view the extradition request and investigative documents, please click here.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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