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Judge Refuses to Unseal Videotape in Rape Case

July 25, 2001|From Times Staff Reports

A Ventura County judge has denied a request by The Times to unseal videotape evidence allegedly showing rape suspect Andrew Luster committing violent acts while assaulting two women.

In his ruling, Superior Court Judge James P. Cloninger said the victims' rights to privacy outweigh the public's right to review evidence submitted in an open-court proceeding.

The Times sought to reverse a sealing order issued by Cloninger during a preliminary hearing last month, arguing that the public had a right to know of the severity of the alleged actions.

The tapes were key evidence at the hearing, which ended with Cloninger ordering Luster to stand trial on 87 charges of rape, sodomy, sexual assault, oral copulation, poisoning and drug possession.

The trial is scheduled to start Oct. 29.

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