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Suspect's suit against Beverly Hills police allowed to proceed

April 22, 2013|By Maura Dolan
  • Gary Klein.
Gary Klein. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a civil rights lawsuit against the Beverly Hills Police Department, forcing investigators to reveal evidence against a man they suspect killed his wife.

The suit by Gary Klein, 59, charges that Beverly Hills detectives harassed him and tried to implicate him in his wife’s death, repeatedly searching his house and interviewing his aged parents, his young sons and the mothers of his children’s classmates.

Klein’s wife, Rina, 41, died in a hospital in 2009 after suffering seizures at home. She had been taking several medications, including for depression, anxiety and narcolepsy. An autopsy attributed her death to lupus, an autoimmune disease.

U.S. District Judge John F. Walter rejected an attempt by Beverly Hills to throw out Klein’s suit or put it on hold while the police probe continues. In lieu of a hearing, Walter issued two written orders Friday.

“Defendants fail to identify any specific actions that they have taken to further the investigation since 2011, or identify any actions that they believe are necessary to complete their investigation,” Walter wrote.

Rina’s family has said she feared that her husband would kill her and called him “Jekyll and Hyde.” Klein has charged that his in-laws triggered the police probe and have used it as a weapon in litigation over his wife’s estate and visitation with his sons.

Police contend that Klein remains a suspect and that the evidence should continue to be sealed to protect an active investigation.

But Jeffrey Wilens, Klein’s attorney, said he believes the evidence will show that detectives gave inaccurate or misleading information to judges to obtain the warrants.  

In addition to doing scores of searches and interviews, police had Rina’s body exhumed for a second autopsy. Although the results remain sealed, a source familiar with the autopsy said the cause of death was changed from lupus to undetermined.

Daniel K. Spradlin, an attorney representing Beverly Hills, could not be reached for comment.

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Twitter:@mauradolan

maura.dolan@latimes.com

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