7:44pm PT by Alex Ben Block
Brittany Murphy's Father Sues, Demanding Renewed Investigation Into Death
Angelo Bertolotti, who says he is the late actress Brittany Murphy’s biological father, has filed suit against the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office and the Los Angeles Police Department. He wants to force them to do additional toxicology testing on a sample of the star’s hair and to re-open the investigation into her death.
“Due to the lack of investigative efforts by the Los Angeles Police Department,” says the lawsuit filed Wednesday in L.A. Superior Court, “and the failure to conduct toxicology tests on the specimens" of her hair, Bertolotti believes that "his daughter’s death was incorrectly determined to have been allegedly caused by pneumonia and anemia.”
According to her autopsy, the causes of her death were pneumonia, anemia and excessive use of prescription medications. Murphy’s husband Simon Monjack died five months after his wife. His autopsy showed the causes to be pneumonia and anemia.
In a press release Wednesday, Bertolotti said:
“Years after my daughter’s untimely death, toxicology testing on her hair still has not been completed. Office of the Los Angeles Coroner and the Los Angeles Police Department admitted that such tests were not done and refused to conduct them. At this point, I am asking the court to intervene and allow me to get the specimens independently tested. Brittany’s hair and tissues were about to be destroyed, but I’ve paid to have them preserved, so that they could finally be examined. I’m not going to rest until my daughter’s untimely demise is properly investigated, which hasn’t happened so far. Her case deserves more than a superficial glance."
There is no attorney listed on the lawsuit representing Bertolotti.
This suit comes less than a month after Murphy’s mother, Sharon Murphy, filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court against a law firm that had represented her in a case involving the Hollywood Hills home where she and her daughter lived.
Bertolotti says that tests of her hair may show evidence from the toxic mold and that may have been a cause of her death.
Sharon Murphy says in her suit the law firm should not have let her sign a settlement with the builders of the house and others when they should have known there was toxic mold in the home that may have contributed to the death of her daughter on Dec. 20, 2009, and the death of her son-in-law Monjack in the same house five months later.
Sharon Murphy and Bertolotti do not communicate with each other and have not for some years, despite efforts by Bertolotti to do so.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Sharon Murphy said she had no comment, and a call to her lawyers for comment was not returned.
Sources close to Sharon Murphy say for years prior to her daughter's passing she discouraged her from having a relationship with Bertolotti, and more recently she has raised doubts about whether he is even really Brittany’s biological father, as he adamantly claims.
Bertolotti has said previously that he was a mobster connected to a New York area crime family earlier in his life and served about 12 years in prison for a variety of charges (all after Brittany was born). He has said he is now a law-abiding citizen.
In 2003, the Sun newspaper in London reported: “(Bertolotti) was found guilty of racketeering, being involved in organized crime and was also convicted of a counterfeiting scam. Bertolotti spent three stretches at the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta in a criminal career said to cover 20 years.”
While he saw Brittany briefly over the years after she moved to Los Angeles as a teenager, says a source, he was not a factor in her life and none of her close friends in L.A. ever met him.
Bertolotti has said that he did not see Murphy at all after she married Monjack in 2007. After her death, Bertolotti took legal action to force the coroner to put his name on her death certificate as her father. That was done without the agreement of Sharon Murphy.
Since her death, Bertolotti has been vocal about his unhappiness about being denied access to her funeral and not being consulted about other matters. He has made his unhappiness public in a series of media interviews.
In recent months, Bertolotti, now in his 70’s, has re-located to Southern California and taken up the cause of Brittany’s death. He has announced plans to write a book called Britt about her life to be co-authored by Julia Davis, a screenwriter who formerly worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Davis and her husband last year produced a documentary that has yet to be distributed called The Terror Within in which she recounts being forced out of her government job by unnamed officials in Homeland Security. She says she was fired because she was a whistleblower who found out that the U.S.-Mexican border was not being properly guarded.
She also says in the documentary that through a connection involving Brittany Murphy, while she was still alive, Homeland Security also harassed the actress and her husband. However, Davis has not been able to come up with any solid evidence to back up her claims about Murphy. She is also writing another book about her experiences with Homeland Security.
Last year, when this first came, up a Homeland Security spokesman denied the charges by Davis and raised questions about her credibility.
In the same press release Wednesday, Davis stated:
“Brittany’s father and I have met with the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Coroner. It was highly disturbing to find out that they've neither tested, nor ever intended to test Brittany or Simon’s hair for toxins, poisonous substances and heavy metals. These two deaths were simply written off to natural causes, but we don’t agree with this conclusion. We will keep moving forward to get all the tests independently conducted. This talented actress didn’t deserve the treatment she got in the latter part of her life. Brittany Murphy deserves better than the complete disregard for her death exhibited by the authorities charged with investigating it. The truth will eventually come out, we’ll make sure of it.”
A call to Davis and Bertolotti on Wednesday at a number on the lawsuit was not returned. A cell phone used by Bertolotti in recent months is no longer accepting calls.