leak started lie
#1
and was not to be investigated

Ramsey call for probe gets little response

By Christopher Anderson
Camera Staff Writer





A charge by attorneys for John and Patsy Ramsey that the investigation of JonBenét Ramsey's murder should itself be investigated appeared Friday to have little official impact.
Boulder police and the Boulder County District Attorney's office said they will not investigate the leak of a transcript from an audio-enhanced 911 tape. The tape reportedly reveals that on the morning JonBenét's body was found, her 10-year-old brother, Burke, was awake an hour earlier than the Ramseys told investigators.
Jim Carpenter, Gov. Roy Romer Romer's spokesman, said Friday that the governor had not heard the Ramseys' request, which was sent to media. Carpenter also said the governor has rejected former Ramsey friend Fleet White's call for a special prosecutor in the unsolved case.
In a harsh statement Thursday, Ramseys' attorneys said they had not seen a transcript of the tape, and they requested that a grand jury "investigate and indict those public officials, past and present, who have leaked every critical item of evidence in this investigation."
"The public officials who have responsibility for stopping these outrages have done nothing," the attorneys said.
Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said Friday he is confident that the source of the leak was not in his department and that it could have come from multiple sources.
He also said the Ramsey attorneys' angry letter and other criticism of the police department have lost their impact.
"This has been going on for so long that we hardly pay attention to it anymore," Beckner said.
JonBenét was found dead in the home of her parents' home Dec. 26, 1996. John and Patsy Ramsey, who said they found a ransom note claiming their daughter was kidnapped, have remained under "an umbrella of suspicion" by Boulder Police, but have consistently denied being responsible for their daughter's death. The couple has said the girl could have been killed by an intruder.
Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter announced this month that he will take the case to a grand jury. Michael Kane, a grand jury consultant to the district attorney on the JonBenét Ramsey investigation, will meet with FBI officials early next week in Quantico, Va., to discuss the investigation and grand jury-related matters, Hunter's spokeswoman, Suzanne Laurion, said Thursday.
Kane met with attorney Barry Scheck, hired by Hunter for his expertise in DNA evidence, on Aug. 7 at Colorado Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Denver. Scheck was a member of O.J. Simpson's defense team.
Concerns about leaks surfaced in September after the Ramsey ransom note was published by Vanity Fair magazine. But the police department decided against using polygraph tests on officers to investigate that and other leaks. The Boulder police union objected to polygraph tests.
Denver attorney Craig Silverman said he understood why the Ramseys were upset about 911 tape leak.
"It does a lot to destroy an intruder theory," Silverman said. "To me this is one of the first significant developments in the case, if this 911 tape is true. ... If it was an intruder, why would they mislead about Burke being up."
But Mimi Wesson, a University of Colorado law professor and former federal prosecutor, said the accumulation of "leaked" evidence, no matter the source, could give the Ramsey's a stronger argument for dismissal of the case or a change of venue. A cautious prosecutor is aware of this and does not divulge information "promiscuously," said Wesson.
Wesson also said it appears the Ramsey lawyers are taking a cue from independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr's investigation of President Clinton, in which officials have attempted to use politics to turn the public against the prosecutor. "It's just an interesting strategy to get people to start talking about leaks ... and misconduct," Wesson said.


August 22, 1998



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