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Judge orders extradition of former 'Survivor' producer

By Alan Duke, CNN
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April: When will TV producer face trial?
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Defense lawyers say they will appeal the extradition decision
  • Judge orders extradition of suspect to Mexico
  • Bruce Beresford-Redman is charged with killing his wife at a Cancun resort in 2010
  • The former reality TV producer has been jailed in Los Angeles while fighting extradition
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Los Angeles (CNN) -- A federal judge ruled Tuesday that there is enough evidence that former reality TV producer Bruce Beresford-Redman murdered his wife at a Cancun resort to justify his return to Mexico to face trial.

Beresford-Redman, once a producer on TV's "Survivor," will appeal the extradition order to a higher court, which could keep him in the United States for another year, his defense lawyers said.

Mexican prosecutors charged Beresford-Redman last year with the aggravated murder of Monica Burgos Beresford-Redman while the couple and their two young children vacationed at a resort.

The defense withdrew its request to have the 6-year-old daughter take the stand at Tuesday's extradition hearing because of "some concerns about her ability to testify today," lawyer Vicki Podberesky said. The situation was "very upsetting" to the child, she said.

Instead, the judge allowed the defense to use a sworn statement from the child's counselor that quoted her saying she never saw her parents argue of fight during the vacation.

The child's statements to her therapist were also used to explain how her father got some cuts and scrapes on his body that investigators said indicated he was in a struggle with his wife.

Beresford-Redman, who has been in jail in Los Angeles since November, has been allowed to visit with his children each week, his lawyer said.

He will apparently attend a probate court hearing this week in a Los Angeles County courthouse across the street from federal court. The federal judge approved the request that he testify before the judge considering the permanent custody of his children and the control of his estate..

Mexican prosecutors contend that Beresford-Redman killed his wife by asphyxiating her in their room at the Moon Palace Resort on April 5, 2010.

Beresford-Redman's lawyers accuse Mexican investigators of rushing to judgment in charging the husband because they wanted to protect Cancun's valuable tourist industry. The case is "replete with inconsistencies and unsupported innuendos," attorney Richard Hirsch said.

The Cancun trip was intended to help the couple work out their marital problems caused by the producer's affair with another woman, his lawyers said. But prosecutors contend it was murder, not reconciliation, on Beresford-Redman's mind.

"The fugitive's continued infidelity provides a strong motive for him to have committed the crime," U.S. prosecutors wrote in an extradition filing. "The fugitive's affair was still an issue with the couple during their trip."

The fact that he brought their young son and daughter along supports his innocence, Hirsch said.

"How absurd it is to think that our client, or anyone, would book a trip to Mexico with his two minor children, have a room in which all of them, the whole family, is staying together, and have this with some motive to commit a homicide," Hirsch said. "It makes no sense in logic, whatsoever."

Prosecution documents describe a loud argument ending with a violent death in the same one-room hotel suite where the children were staying.

While investigators have not talked to the children, a therapist who has helped them deal with the loss of their mother did question the daughter about her memories of the Mexico trip, Hirsch said.

An affidavit signed by the therapist said the girl told her she never heard her parents argue in Mexico and that she was never left alone at the resort.

"Mommy and Daddy did not yell at each other and never hit each other," the statement quotes the daughter saying. "Mommy and Daddy never hit each other anywhere, anytime."