SAN DIEGO – The family of Rebecca Zahau, whose body was found hanging from a balcony at a Coronado mansion in 2011, wants the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to share more of their investigation.
On Friday, a judge will hear from their attorney and a lawyer representing the department.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has reviewed a series of filings and responses over the past couple of months and already has issued a tentative ruling. Taylor overruled San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore’s motion to have the case against him by Zahau’s family members dismissed.
Keith Greer, the lawyer representing Zahau’s family, argues in court that the documents Gore’s department selectively disclosed only contain information that supports their finding that the 32-year-old Zahau committed suicide.
They say the department violated state public records laws, which call for government agencies to release certain information to the public.
In court documents, sheriff’s department lawyer Thomas Deak says the material being sought by Zahau’s family is exempt from disclosure. He is seeking to kill the lawsuit. Deak adds that if all investigative files have been produced by the sheriff, then no investigative files have been withheld.
An appeal by the department is likely if Tayor’s tentative ruling holds up. The parties are due to return to court Jan. 28.
Zahau’s family also has asked the department to have the case reviewed by an independent agency, a promise made by Gore many years ago.