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SIMI VALLEY : Tuffree’s Attorneys Denied Access to Files

A judge on Tuesday refused to grant access to confidential records about a pyramid scheme scandal in the Simi Valley Police Department to lawyers representing Daniel Allen Tuffree, who is accused of killing an officer.

Defense attorneys Howard Asher and Richard Holly had asked that the pyramid scheme investigation be opened to them because they believe officers involved in the scam may be called as witnesses during Tuffree’s murder trial. Tuffree is accused of shooting Officer Michael Clark to death during a standoff at the former high school teacher’s house.

But Superior Court Judge Allan Steele said the pyramid investigation has only yielded two indictments of Simi Valley police officers, and neither was involved in the investigation of Clark’s death.

Testimony during grand jury hearings into the financial scam indicated that as many as 15 officers might have known about it. Defense attorneys said some of those officers may have been involved in the Tuffree case, but Steele called that assertion nothing more than speculation and innuendo.

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Steele did agree to privately review the personnel records of Clark and the two officers who were with him when he was killed. He said he would turn over to attorneys any information he deemed relevant to the case.

Tuffree, 48, is charged in the Aug. 4 shooting death of Clark. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Tuffree contends he only fired in self-defense after the officer opened fire first. His trial is scheduled to start next month.


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