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Lawyers may have known about threats

Woman stabbed to death in Century City garage likely confided that she was in danger, a federal judge is told.

August 08, 2008|Catherine Saillant | Times Staff Writer

A woman stabbed to death in a Century City parking garage may have confided in attorneys about threats on her life as she and her husband fought over ownership of their gold trading business, and that information could aid homicide investigators, a lawyer representing the dead woman's daughter told a judge Thursday.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kent Kelligrew agreed and ordered that Pamela Fayed's daughter Desiree Goudie, 18, be appointed as a special administrator over her mother's affairs.

The authority allows Goudie to waive attorney-client privilege on behalf of her mother, clearing the way for Los Angeles police investigators to question Pamela Fayed's divorce and criminal lawyers on conversations they had with the woman in the months leading up to her July 28 death.

Helping police find her mother's killer is "paramount," said Goudie's attorney, Kenneth W. Kossoff of Westlake Village.

"This will help investigators determine what, if anything, that the attorneys for Mrs. Fayed may be able to shed light on the murder," Kossoff told the judge.

Fayed's estranged husband, James Fayed, has been called a "primary suspect" in his wife's death and is being held without bail as he awaits trial on an unrelated federal charge connected to the couple's international gold trading business.

Federal prosecutors have said that a credit card seized from Fayed's wallet was used to rent a red sport utility vehicle that witnesses saw leaving the scene of the attack.

James Fayed has not been charged in Pamela Fayed's death.

Goudie's appointment will also permit her to retrieve her mother's remains from the Los Angeles County morgue. Goudie, who did not speak during the brief hearing, wishes to bury her mother, her attorney told the judge.

Goudie is Pamela Fayed's daughter from a previous relationship. The Fayeds had one daughter together, Jeanett Fayed, 9. Goudie and her attorneys declined to say who is caring for the girl in the absence of both parents. When both primary guardians are unavailable, the court typically appoints a family member to care for children.

Goudie also asked the judge to give her control over her mother's interests in the gold trading business that the Fayeds operated during their eight-year marriage. A lawyer representing those companies -- Goldfinger Coin and Bullion, Goldfinger Bullion Reserve Corp., and e-Bullion -- objected, saying that the business had not been given enough time to respond to the emergency filings.

But Kelligrew said Goudie needed some control over the business to protect her mother's estate. The judge ruled that she would have control over documents and decisions that might help investigators in the murder case but not over those detailing business operations.

Pamela Fayed, 44, and James Fayed, 45, were going through a bitter divorce at the time of her killing. The Ventura County residents were fighting over their business assets, including $12 million in bank accounts and stores of gold and silver, according to court documents.

James Fayed was taken into federal custody last week on a charge of conducting unlicensed money transactions.

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catherine.saillant@ latimes.com

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