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Mel Gibson investigation focusing on medical records, text messages, sources say

July 26, 2010 |  7:25 am

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigation into Mel Gibson is focusing on physical evidence, witness testimony and text messages -- not highly publicized audio recordings -- to determine whether he should be charged with hitting his ex-girlfriend and/or endangering their child, law enforcement sources told The Times.

Despite all the publicity surrounding the purported voice of a ranting Gibson hurling profanities and seemingly threatening ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva in telephone recordings, that audio will ultimately play little role in determining  whether the actor/director faces criminal charges, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation

The investigation is instead focusing on whether witnesses, written records and electronic records verify Grigorieva’s allegations that Gibson struck her last January and endangered their child, Lucia, according to those sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. 

Detectives are working to overcome several obstacles to the investigation, including the fact that Grigorieva did not report the key incidents for several months and that some of the potential evidence has already been leaked to the tabloid media, sources said.

“We are the caboose in a celebrity scandal,” one law enforcement official said. “But our job isn’t to speculate or deal in rumors, but to get the bottom of whether a crime occurred.”

Detectives with the Sheriff’s Department's special-victims unit have already conducted interviews and gone to court to obtain the recordings, which had been filed under seal as part of a child-custody battle between Grigorieva and Gibson.

Detectives are also pursuing medical records that would verify the level of injury Grigorieva claimed in the days after the incident, according to sources. Some of the evidence in the case is on a cellphone Grigorieva used; sheriff’s officials have brought in the department's top expert on extracting and reviewing that type of information.

Investigators are particularly interested in text and e-mails between the couple, according to one of the sources.

-- Richard Winton

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