Mom of Suspected LA Arsonist to Be Extradited

     (CN) – The mother of a man suspected of starting more than 50 fires in Los Angeles over the New Year’s weekend must face fraud charges in her native Germany, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
     U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Eick rejected Dorothee Burkhart’s claim she needs to stay in the United States to assist in her son’s defense and because she is a material witness.
     Dorothee Burkhart faces multiple counts of fraud in Germany for allegedly failing to pay for breast implants and running numerous rent schemes.
     Her son, Harry Burkhart, 24, is charged with starting dozens of fires in Hollywood and elsewhere over New Year’s weekend. He attempted to intervene in his mother’s extradition case, but the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California would not allow it.
     Among several arguments against extradition, Dorothee Burkhart claimed mistaken identity. She also moved for a stay pending the completion of her son’s case.
     “Neither Ms. Burkhart nor Harry Burkhart cite a single case in which an extradition certification proceeding has been stayed or dismissed because of the claimed need of a potential extraditee to remain in the country to help another person or to appear as a material witness at another person’s trial,” Eick wrote. “Perhaps the Secretary of State may consider the alleged impact of Ms. Burkhart’s transport on the prosecution or defense of the case against Harry Burkhart, but this Court may not.”
     LA Weekly reported in January that it had linked Dorothee Burkhart’s address on Sunset Boulevard and her phone number to online ads for an “erotic” massage service.
     Judge Eick ordered Dorothee Burkhart’s arrest as part of his ruling. She’ll be held without bail until handed over to German officials.

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