[Transcript provided courtesy Justice Watch Forum; Matt Lauer interviews Lin Wood; date = Aug 24, 2000]
LAUER: It has been nearly four years since the death of JonBenét Ramsey. While there have been no arrests in the case, Boulder, Colorado, police and prosecutors say JonBenét's parents, John and Patsy, remain under an umbrella of suspicion. Now, for the first time in two years, the Ramseys are about to meet with Boulder law enforcement officials. Lin Wood is the attorney for the Ramseys. Lin good to have you back.
WOOD: Nice to see you Matt.
LAUER: First time in two years they'll sit down and talk to the police. Why did they agree to do this interview?
WOOD: Well, it's the first time since June of 1998 when John and Patsy were interviewed for three days. It's the first time that Boulder authorities have asked to meet with them and interview them. They have represented to the Ramseys that they need this interview to help find the killer of their daughter. John and Patsy Ramsey said, 'Yes, we'll participate. You can interview us. We want to help you in any way we can.'
LAUER: You're making it sound like it's not very threatening. However, you've also said that this is the equivalent of walking into the lion's den, putting your head in the lion's mouth, knowing that the lion wants to bite your head off. That doesn't sound like something a lawyer would suggest that his client would do.
WOOD: Well, I didn't suggest it. From the lawyer's -
LAUER: But why allow it?
WOOD: - from the lawyer's perspective I recommended against it because of the very reason that you've just given. I don't think that we're going to be dealing necessarily with objective and fair people. But John and Patsy are willing to do whatever they can to try to get beyond the idea that they are the suspects so that the police will be looking in a different direction for the killer of their daughter.
LAUER: How strongly did you recommend against it?
WOOD: Well, I know John and Patsy as friends and a fellow human being. I understand their circumstances. I gave them the--what I considered to be the legal risk. But they made up their minds sometime ago that they were going to do whatever they could to cooperate. And that might include doing some things that were done against their lawyer's advice. You know, they--they took a real knock in the first few weeks and months of this investigation because they hired lawyers and they followed the professional advice of their attorneys and they were accused of looking guilty for doing so. And I suppose they've reached a point where now they're going to try to avoid that being another accusation thrown at them.
LAUER: Seven investigators will fly to Atlanta for this interview. There will be one of the Ramseys in the room being interviewed at a time. The people in Boulder have asked that Patsy Ramsey go first, that was one of their conditions, their ground rules. Why do you think they've asked for that?
WOOD: Well, you know, it's interesting. Initially, the--the inquiry was made of, would they be willing to sit down and--and answer new questions to provide new information. They said 'Yes.' Then it was a situation where we've got to meet with them separately. They said 'Yes.' And then it was a condition imposed that they said 'We've got have Patsy Ramsey first.' They said 'Yes.' It was interesting because the deal was put to them that if Patsy did not go first, they didn't want to talk to either one of them. That's when it obviously became
LAUER: But what does that tell you as a lawyer?
WOOD: Well, it tells me it's obviously a structured, planned interrogation. They have something or some things they want to ask Patsy.
LAUER: Does it also tell you that they still believe Patsy's the one responsible for the murder of JonBenét?
WOOD: Michael Kane is a special prosecutor now up in Pennsylvania. He's coming down here for some reason to participate along with two other special prosecutors. No one from the regular district attorney's staff is coming. I think it's clear--has been clear for a long time that Michael Kane has an opinion that John and Patsy Ramsey are--were involved in this. So that's why I have concerns about the lack of objectivity on the part of what I believe are overzealous special prosecutors.
LAUER: A story came to light not long ago that there had been an assault of a 14-year-old girl in Boulder shortly after the murder of JonBenét Ramsey. And this girl had been in the same dance academy as JonBenét. The Boulder police say they checked these stories out, there is no connection. They're not going to test any more evidence to see if they're connected in any way. You feel strongly that that's a mistake?
WOOD: Well, I mean, look, people initially have said that they didn't think it was credible that John and Patsy believed that someone came into their house, lay in wait for several hours, and then in the middle of the night, while they were sleeping, attacked their daughter. Yet we know now that nine months later, two miles from their home in Boulder, Colorado, that's exactly what happened to another child, someone broke into a house, lay in wait for several hours, and while a parent was sleeping, attacked a minor child. That crime was interrupted. The mother interrupted it and the intruder fled. So we know that it can happen. It happened in Boulder. We also know that the police department, although three of the investigators who were working on the Ramsey case at the time were involved in this second incident, that they did not provide information about that incident to investigators with the district attorney's office, who were working with the grand jury. Now, what does that tell you about the objectivity
LAUER: Is it a cover-up?
WOOD: What does that tell you about the objectivity of the Boulder Police Department?
LAUER: Do you think they intentionally covered up
WOOD: I don't know that it's a
LAUER: - that information?
WOOD: I don't know that it's a cover-up. But what I do know is it clearly shows that from day one, as John and Patsy have said, the Boulder Police Department have never been legitimately out looking beyond the family, John and Patsy. Even when faced with what clearly should have been a crime that should have been investigated as potentially related because it was the same modus operandi and two miles away from their home in Boulder.
LAUER: Based on that opinion is why you've told the Ramseys not to do this interview?
WOOD: Well, again, I don't think any lawyer would recommend that their clients, when you know you're under the umbrella of suspicion, walk in and voluntarily answer questions. But keep this in mind. The cooperation that John and Patsy Ramsey have shown over the last now almost four years, over four days of answering questions, voluntarily, when they could not be compelled to do so, that level of cooperation is unprecedented in this country from individuals who know at the time they're under suspicion. And now they're getting ready to go and do it again. Sooner or later, we're going to have to reach a point where we've recognized that they've answered all the questions that can be asked, and it's time for this investigation of this family to come to an end.
LAUER: Well, we'll invite you back and maybe you can fill us in on what happens Monday in your office.
WOOD: Thank you very much, Matt.
LAUER: Lin Wood, thank you.