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TV scientist denies involvement in wife's assault

TV ocean scientist says he's a suspect in severe beating of wife; says he had no involvement By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' A marine biologist and television science commentator whose wife was brutally beaten in Washington last month says police have been investigating him in the attack and was for weeks denied visitation rights at the hospital.

David Guggenheim said in a message to family and friends that he returned from an out-of-town trip last month to find his wife, Svetlana, with a fractured skull, brain trauma and "incoherent" on the bedroom floor of their Washington apartment. He said Washington police started focusing on him as a possible suspect even though he says he provided proof that he was not in Washington at the time.

"What I didn't realize was that (the D.C. police department) would be blinded by their suspicion of me as the assailant and they didn't take even minimal steps to verify my story in order to clear me as a suspect," Guggenheim wrote.

Police have not said why they would consider Guggenheim a suspect. Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump declined Thursday because the investigation is ongoing. A grand jury is weighing the case.

The couple has been experiencing financial troubles, with recent bankruptcy filings showing them listing more than $400,000 in liabilities.

Guggenheim, who posted his account on a blog last week, said two police detectives met him at the hospital and told him that he could not visit his wife until they could receive a statement from her.

Guggenheim, a senior fellow at the Ocean Foundation in Washington, has explored coral reefs in Cuba with CNN's Anderson Cooper. He declined comment to The Associated Press on Thursday, except to say that police had shown an "unhealthy interest in me" and that he had hired a lawyer to defend against possible criminal charges. The lawyer, Aitan Goelman, declined comment Thursday.

Guggenheim sued D.C. police May 7, saying they had barred visitors from seeing his wife in the hospital when she needed her family most. His wife has had surgery to remove blood and other fluids from her brain and to implant a tracheotomy tube and a feeding tube. She has a breathing tube and hasn't been able to speak.

He says the police responded to his court complaint by presenting a handwritten note from a nurse saying that his wife had "indicated her injuries were caused by her husband." He says he believes the document to be a fabrication, and Svetlana Guggenheim has told The Washington Post that she doesn't remember anything about the attack.

His biography on the Ocean Foundation's website says he has led international marine conservation projects and is interested in sustainable fishing and brining ocean exploration and conservation programs to young students. Guggenheim bills himself as the "Ocean Doctor" and tweets under that handle. He has appeared on "60 Minutes" and other programs to discuss marine research and conservation.

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Related Keywords:Scientists Wife-Attack,Oceanography,Oceans,Violent crime,Crime,General news,Science,Environment and nature


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