Bruce Beresford-Redman, a TV Producer, to be Sent to Mexico to Stand Trial

July 12, 2011

Times Union on July 12, 2011 released the following:

“ANTHONY McCARTNEY, AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ordered a reality TV producer to be returned to Mexico to face a charge that he killed his wife while on a family vacation 15 months ago.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian issued her ruling after a nearly two-hour extradition hearing in Los Angeles.

Bruce Beresford-Redman has been jailed since November on a fugitive warrant issued after Mexican authorities in Cancun charged him with the aggravated homicide of his wife, Monica Beresford-Redman.

He could face between 12 and 30 years in prison if convicted.

The former “Survivor” producer can appeal the ruling, and federal prosecutors said it could be at least a year before he is sent to Mexico if he pursues all his U.S. appeals.

Beresford-Redman did not react during the hearing. He appeared in court in a jail jumpsuit and was shackled throughout the hearing.

His attorney, Richard Hirsch, argued there were major inconsistencies in the evidence, and extradition should be rejected. Chooljian, however, said she made her ruling after considering the totality of the evidence and that there was probable cause that Beresford-Redman killed his wife.

His attorneys have said he is innocent and challenged the case against him, calling it a rush to judgment.

Monica Beresford-Redman’s body was found in a sewer cistern at an upscale Cancun resort in April 2010.

Alison Triessl, an attorney for her family, said the victim’s sisters were happy with the result but realize it is another step in a long process.

“They know there will probably be appeal after appeal,” Triessl said. “It’s an important day for justice. It’s an important day so they can rebuild their lives.”

Monica Beresford-Redman owned a popular Brazilian-themed restaurant in Los Angeles.

Chooljian’s ruling came after defense lawyers withdrew a request to call as a witness the 6-year-old daughter of Bruce Beresford-Redman amid unspecified concerns about the girl’s ability to testify in defense of her father.

After months of attempting to discredit Mexican authorities and attacking the case, Beresford-Redman made another attempt Tuesday to persuade the magistrate judge that he should be freed.

The couple had gone on the trip to try to repair their marriage, which had been damaged by an affair Bruce Beresford-Redman had with a co-worker.

His attorneys claim Mexican authorities rushed to judgment and built a case accusing Bruce Beresford-Redman based on motive rather than physical evidence.

Calling the couple’s 6-year-old daughter to testify during the hearing could have been problematic.

Witnesses are not generally called during extradition proceedings, and calling a child witness might have presented issues of who would question the girl and whether her testimony should be conducted in a closed session.

Statements filed by her therapist and one of Bruce Beresford-Redman’s attorneys suggested the girl would have testified that she never saw her father act violently toward her mother during the Cancun vacation.

The girl also told the therapist and attorney that she recalled her mother leaving the hotel room to go shopping on the day she went missing.

The defendants attorneys argue that the producer had no obligation to remain in Cancun while his wife’s death was investigated, although federal prosecutors and Mexican authorities both say his return to Los Angeles was illegal and should count against him in the extradition proceeding.

Prosecutors say there is overwhelming evidence against the producer that justifies his being sent to Mexico. In court filings, they cite a resort worker’s recollection that he saw someone matching Bruce Beresford-Redman’s description attempting to strike a woman during an argument at the hotel.

They also point to a noise complaint from tourists in another room that cited screams that appeared to be coming from a woman in distress coming from the Beresford-Redmans’ hotel room.”

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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