[Copy of Transcript provided courtesy Justice Watch Forum]
Crier Live - July 9, 2001
Since the death of JonBenet Ramsey over 4 years ago LHP has kept her porch light burning never to be turned off she says until the murderer is brought to justice. Now following a federal judge's ruling, the Ramsey's former housekeeper is free to tell all to the public as a grand jury witness and reveal all that she saw and heard in the days leading up to JonBenet's death.
LHP: I think that maybe Patsy had multiple personalities. I saw that in her one day and I think that she might have gotten upset with JonBenet for some reason and she may have hit her and not meant to hurt her. I don't think she meant to hurt JonBenet I think it was an accident and then it it just continued from there.
CC: Our attorney Darnay Hoffman who has joined us several times represents her and Christian Wolf in a 50 million dollar lawsuit against the Ramseys for naming the two of them as possible suspects in their book. He joins me today for today's Crime Story segment. And from Denver former District Attorney and author of the children's book Step Ball Norm Early. Now I want to tll everybody at home that a lawsuit has been initiated by the Ramseys on behalf of their son Burke against Court TV involving a broadcast that we aired called 'Prime Suspects'. Just to let you know keep you posted on that. Now I want to turn to Darnay first because you've been on several times and couldn't say what your client what the housekeeper said because of this grand jury ruling. Now that Linda can speak out she clearly is saying maybe it was an accident but Patsy did this.
DH: The key thing is she has always spoken out her own personal beliefs which is that she believes that Patsy Ramsey authored the ransom note and that especially after Patsy's book came out it was clear to her that the statements made in Patsy's book are contrary to what she knows to be the truth, that Patsy was in fact lying in her book and that did probably more than anything else to convince her of that fact. The one thing that LHP couldn't do up until now was report that she told this to the grand jury. That's the big difference. The big issue is why the grand jury did not indict why there was $2M spent investigating this case and yet Alex Hunter announced that there wasn't sufficient evidence. Remember grand juries can indict a ham sandwich. And that certainly wasn't a ham sandwich grand jury, that was a very expensive dinner that was being served.
CC: Part of the evidence that Linda gave was that a swiss army knife that was found in the basement where the body was located was something that she had taken away from Burke and hidden in a linen closet not a place kids would look but a maybe a place a wife in the house changing linen would look. I believe you told me about a blanket that JonBenet was wrapped in.
CC: And something I just learned it still had clinging to it a barbie doll dress or something?
CC: Out of the dryer.
DH: Yeah one of the things that came out of her press conference which is not well known is that the fact that she saw very dramatic personality changes in Patsy Ramsey just prior to the murder. And one of the arguments against Patsy Ramsey being the murderess was well you would see some sort of behavior. This just wouldn't happen out of nowhere or whatever but apparently she was beginning to unravel. Remember, Patsy Ramsey was about to turn 40yo three days after this murder. She was living in a completely isolated community, not happy, a southern belle, a former beauty pagaent winner, and more importantly had gone through a terrible ovarian cancer process where her hair was falling out. She must have been feeling majorly midlife crisis at that point and it's the holidays, and she's completely stressed with young children testing the limits or whatever. What parent under those circumstances, wouldn't at least be frazzled at the very least?
CC: Linda left the employment three days before the murder?
DH: She didn't leave the employment she just was not working during that period.
CC: So she was off for the holiday period?
DH: Yeah. Exactly. Precisely.
CC: She's written a book? Is it at the publisher yet?
DH: No, it's in what we call a proposal stage right now. Part of the problem with a lot of publishers was their reluctance. This was an issue that the judge addressed which is what we call prior restraint. Quite frankly this is one of the things the judge agreed with -- that publishers would be reluctant to encourage somebody to violate a grand jury oath. But remember the most important thing that is coming out of this is what the grand jury actually knew as against what LHP actually believed because a lot rumors went around that well the grand jury didn't really have much to go on. The evidence was sort of thin and flimsy. Whatever. That's not true -- her testimony alone in my opinion would have been sufficient to establish probable cause for an indictment.
CC: Can we bring Norm into this? Norm, let's take the legal question real quickly because some states allow some people to walk out the door, as we have seen with Monica Lewinsky, and talk about what they said but in this particular case I think in Colorado up until now,unless there was some sort of report or indictment that finalized the indictment of the grand jury, you couldn't talk. Is that case?
NE: That was absolutely correct Catherine. Someone could talk about what they knew before they went into the grand jury, but they could not reveal the fact that these are things they told to the grand jury so that someone could assess the kind of information that the grand jury had. Just as Darnay is doing now. He is saying the grand jury had this information and based upon his information, in his opinion, it would have been probable cause. I think that Alex Hunter was in a situation where he did not just want an indictment. He wanted a case that could be won in court. And that's what under ABA rules and under the rules that prosecutors operate that are promulgated by the National District Attorneys Association we seek not just probable cause but proof beyond a reasonable doubt because it doesn't do any good to indict somebody then lose a case.
CC: Now let me ask you something. Do we know whether or not the grand jury chose simply not to act or whether they actually voted a no bill which means there was insufficient evidence?
NE: I don't think anybody truly knows but my impression is that the grand jury did not take a vote in this case. That it was not given to them for the purposes of determining whether there was no true bill or a true bill. There was probably some colloquy between the prosecutors and the grand jurors and the grand jurors decided not to take any kind of vote would be the best thing because if they didn't indict and they did vote that would be a signal to people about the strength of the case.
CC: Absolutely. Well Norm we understand that Lin Wood the attorney for the Ramseys is very happy about this as well. The Ramseys seem to think that people talking now about what they told the grand jury will show people that there was insufficient evidence.
NE: I don't think that LHP's comments to the media have done Patsy Ramsey any great favor here. And I suspect that absent the commentary of Lou Smit there will be an awful lot of people who are pointing the fingers. But that is one of the problems with the statements that are coming out because LHP didn't know anything about any other suspects. The only people she knew anything was the Ramseys so quite naturally all the questions that the grand jury would ask her would tend to lean towards deeds the Ramseys did or did not do thus giving the impression to her that she has now given towards the general public that Patsy was the indeed the target. That may or may not be the case.
CC: Yes. Depending on the witness in front of the grand jury a different person could have been the target. But Darnay you say similar to the OJ Simpson case that this will basically be resolved in a civil court. That the lawsuits what are there 10 lawsuits pending right now?
DH: What's interesting is that this started out as a murder investigation. Now it's turned into a first amendment case. The Ramseys are probably suing in a number of a record number of libel suits. In fact I think this is a record for the number of libel suits to actually come out of a murder investigation. I'm handling two myself. I know there have been four or five for the Ramseys. There may be more involved with this and so the issue is now over the first amendment more than anything else.
CC: When you get into a courtroom talking about libeling someone you can go after the truth of the assertions.
DH: Exactly. And more importantly what it does when you're talking about the actual malice standard that exists is that if we show that Patsy Ramsey is in fact the ransom note writer and we clearly intend and believe that we can show that will show the actual malice. The subjective intent to lie about something very important which is simply that is that anybody other than Patsy Ramsey is the murder suspect.
CC: So you think that this case will be solved in a civil court?
DH: Oh absolutely in fact I'll make a prediction within a year you're going to be talking about the jury verdict of this civil case in Atlanta.
CC: Darnay Hoffman, Norm Early thank you both very much.