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'Rockefeller' lawyers want access to affidavit

Lawyers for a kidnapping suspect who calls himself Clark Rockefeller demanded Tuesday to see a sealed affidavit calling him a "person of interest" in the 1980s disappearance  of a couple.
Rockefeller Mystery
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who calls himself Clark Rockefeller, has denied any involvement in the disappearance of a California couple in the 1980s.Ted Fitzgerald / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Lawyers for a kidnapping suspect who calls himself Clark Rockefeller demanded Tuesday to see a sealed affidavit filed by California authorities who say he is a "person of interest" in the 1980s disappearance and presumed slayings of a couple there.

"Clark Rockefeller" was charged with kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter during a supervised visit in Boston in July. After his arrest in Baltimore in August, he was identified as Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a German national who lived under various aliases after arriving in the United States in 1978.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office has labeled Gerhartsreiter a "person of interest" in the 1985 disappearance of Jonathan and Linda Sohus. Gerhartsreiter, who at the time called himself Christopher Chichester, rented a guesthouse at the home of Jonathan Sohus' mother in San Marino, a wealthy Los Angeles suburb.

Gerhartsreiter has denied any involvement in the couple's disappearance.

After Gerhartsreiter's arrest, Los Angeles authorities filed an affidavit along with Boston police seeking a search warrant for his computer hard drives. Gerhartsreiter's lawyers in Massachusetts argued Tuesday that they have the right to see that affidavit.

"We believe we have an obligation to look at any evidence against him whatsoever," attorney Jeffrey Denner said.

But Assistant District Attorney David Deakin said allowing Gerhartsreiter's attorneys to see the document "could very seriously compromise an ongoing investigation in California." Deakin also said he does not plan to use the affidavit in the Massachusetts kidnapping case.

Judge Margaret Hinkle did not immediately rule on the request, but said she may review it herself and speak to California prosecutors before issuing her ruling.

Deakin would not describe specifically what is contained in the affidavit, but said the 18-page document "sets out exclusively information about the California investigation." He called Gerhartsreiter a "person of significant interest" in the case and the "presumed double homicide."

Nine years after the couple disappeared, workers building a pool for the new owners of the San Marino home unearthed a man's bones that remain unidentified. Investigators did new DNA testing on the bones after Gerhartsreiter's arrest but have not released details.

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