Judge denies motion by lawyer for Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend
A judge Thursday denied a motion by Oksana Grigorieva's lawyer that sought to limit what Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies could take from her computer and cellphone as part of an extortion investigation involving her ex-boyfriend, actor-producer Mel Gibson.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon said that if Daniel Horowitz, the attorney for Grigorieva, had issues with the way sheriff's officials were conducting their investigation, he could bring up the matter in criminal court.
But Gordon, who continues to handle the paternity case between Grigorieva and Gibson and signed a search warrant allowing detectives to search Grigorieva's computer, cellphone and other items, said it was not his role to involve himself in oversight of a criminal investigation.
Grigorieva's attorney said outside court that he was disappointed by the judge's ruling, saying that the computer and phone files copied by sheriff's deputies were highly personal. But he acknowledged that there was no evidence that any of those materials had been disseminated or that detectives had not acted in good faith.
"It's not embarrassing, it's private," Horowitz said. "Private things should not be seen by law enforcement officers."
But sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said that what Horowitz was objecting to was standard operating procedure for law enforcement investigations.
"All investigations are personal and private, that's why law enforcement investigators don't talk about them," Whitmore said. "The judge did the right thing by letting the Sheriff's Department do its job. The motion should have never been filed."
Sheriff's detectives continue to investigate whether Grigorieva or someone close to her extorted money from the actor, Whitmore said. The department had previously completed an investigation into whether the actor hit Grigorieva and had turned over its findings to the district attorney's office.
No suspect has been named in the extortion case, but investigators have reviewed evidence that includes text messages and e-mails, and have interviewed Gibson, two of Grigorieva's former attorneys, and others involved in the couple's messy breakup and paternity battle.
Grigorieva reiterated outside court that she was not involved in any extortion.
"I am not an extortionist," said Grigorieva, flanked by her lawyers on the steps of the civil courthouse. "I've never asked for any money at all."
-- Andrew Blankstein