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Producer Sues Beverly Hills Over Ronni Chasen Murder Files

Ryan Katzenbach, who also names the coroner's office in his Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, says he wants access to the records for use in his documentary "6:38."

A producer sued the city of Beverly Hills on Wednesday in a bid to obtain police files related to the killing of Ronni Chasen, the Hollywood publicist shot to death three years ago on her way home from a party.

Ryan Katzenbach, who also names the coroner's office in his Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, says he wants access to the records for use in his documentary "6:38." The film's name refers to the span of time between Chasen's final cell phone call and when officers arrived to find her shot to death in her car on Nov. 16, 2010.

A representative for the city of Beverly Hills could not be immediately reached.

Harold Martin Smith, 43, was named a suspect, but police say he committed suicide when officers confronted him at the Harvey Apartments in Hollywood.

According to the lawsuit, an analysis of the traffic signal where the shooting occurred, the sound of Chasen's car crashing immediately after the sounds of shots being fired and the fact her driver's side window was found lowered -- unusual for her -- all raise questions about the BHPD's version of events.

"Plaintiff believes that the defendants are doing anything and everything in their power to conceal documents and silence the plaintiff from effectively examining their detective work when substantial questions regarding their investigation have surfaced," the suit states.

Katzenbach says the Beverly Hills Police Department has released records to others "for their creative and commercial ventures while denying him" the same access to materials.

While the others to whom the information has been released have "presented a tidy version of the story congruent with the BHPD's official positions in the case," Katzenbach will "be far more critical and less likely to agree with everything BHPD has asserted as fact," his suit says.

- City News Service


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