Geraldo Rivera Show - Saturday, March 29, 1997

This transcript was found on the old Boulder News Forum Archive and was copied "as is" from the forum posting.

Analysis: Recent developments in the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation
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Over the weekend, many of the little girls who had participated * with JonBenet in this and other beauty pageants held a charity affair in her memory. Several of the children, especially the grown ones who performed a dance tribute for the little child, and later they gave her mom, Patsy, a special gift.

Meanwhile, John and Patsy Ramsey are apparently seeking a lower profile in the investigation of their daughter's murder. On Friday, attorneys for the couple decided not to send an observer to monitor DNA testing, which is being conducted at Cellmark Diagnostic in Maryland, and as of today, they have dropped their much-maligned media spokesman, Pat Korten, as well as his Web site on the Internet, which is probably a good idea.

In other developments, CNN turned over to Boulder police the 34-minute--the entire uncut 34-minute interview that CNN conducted with the Ramseys on New Year's Day, you know, less than a week after the child was murdered. The Denver Post reporting that the prosecutors want to hear and see exactly what was said and to study the parents' body language. The tape was first requested way back in January. It was handed over now because CNN asked that the authorities obtain a search warrant, which they did, so CNN has now complied and given over to the authorities the entire uncut interview.

What do you think, Larry Pozner, about--What's his name?--Pat Korten, the--the spokesman going--the big professional spokesman and the Web site? Was he a terrible idea in the first place? Will you admit that?

Mr. LARRY POZNER (Criminal Defense Attorney): I would admit he was a bizarre idea. If he was necessary i--at all, it was because of the number of reporters who were inundating the defense with questions, and you either have to decide whether you're going to be working on law or talking to reporters, and they said, `Let somebody else deal with the reporters.'

RIVERA: But now they've hired a--a young person, relatively inexperienced. Do think that they've--they've made a Hobson's choice here?

Mr. POZNER: Well, I think everybody's feeling their way through this very bizarre case. You know, it's got all kinds of doodads we've never seen--a DA group put together and outside experts brought in to consult and it--I--it's got the feeling of a--of a--a loose wheel right now.

RIVERA: I tell you what's a loose wheel. What they should do instead of having memorial pageants for this child is to disband these pageants, or at least disband the sexual connotation of these children parading around. If a--if a older teen-ager wants to dance and pay tribute, that's fine. But to have these little kids dressed up in bathing suits, I think, is absolutely appalling.

But I wonder, Norm Early, did the parents cause their own--some of their own problems? Is this now an admission that they went about this entirely in the wrong way by hiring, you know, PR men, publicity people, others to shield them from--from the prying eyes of the public?

Mr. NORMAN EARLY (Former Denver District Attorney): None of us have ever been in that situation, Geraldo. But I can imagine that there is a tremendous amount of pressure and anxiety once something like this happens, and it appears that the finger's going to be appoint--going to be pointed at you. Hindsight is always better. I think that it is a recognition by the family that Korten was not doing the job that they felt that he--he could have done, and I think that they may have handled things a little bit differently upon reflection.

RIVERA: The Web site, I thought, was--especially, Joe--especially whacked out. But would you have made the same decision, Joe diGenova, not to observe the testing going on at Cellmark?

Mr. JOSEPH diGENOVA (Criminal Defense Attorney): Probably, yes, and I think--you know, if they go, what are they going to be able to do? I mean, they're better off not going and cross-examining at this point, given the circumstances of the case. I mean, I--I certainly will--will agree with everyone that this is a bizarre case. And I will say `amen' to you, Geraldo, on this notion of the way these kids are used in these outrageous pageants. And--and make no mistake about it; there is a--an obvious and apparent sexuality which is desired to be brought out of these children in these pageants in the way that they are paraded in a--in a manner which is premature, which is outrageous, and the parents responsible for this really need to pay a price for that. I mean, the--they--the way these children are used in these pageants is just awful. It's absolutely awful.

RIVERA: I wonder, Larry, how Denver's responding to being kind of in the--in the center of the--of the storm here, being the center of the legal news universe because of the...

Mr. POZNER: Well...

RIVERA: ...serendipitous nature of the Oklahoma City trial being held there and then JonBenet, probably the most celebrated case of whatever you call it--child abuse, murder or whatever--to come down the pike in quite a while.

Mr. POZNER: This is a city that's numb.


Mr. POZNER: We are inundated with reports of all kinds on all kinds of cases, and I think the numbness, in a way, has helped. It's helped McVeigh in that people are able to step back and say, `I don't have time to read everything. I don't have time to listen to everything. I think I'm going to wait for the evidence.'

Mr. EARLY: Yeah.

RIVERA: Do you think that, in a sense, though, that that numbness has affected--and I'll take anyone on this, and then I'll move on to Simpson and Brown. Do you think that maybe there is a remoteness, a disconnect, a--an inability to deal with the fact that 19 little kids got blown away?

Mr. EARLY: Geraldo, I don't think that anyone in this city would ever be able to forget that. We have 168 people dead, we have 500 more injured; and don't forget the rescue workers, the police officers, the firemen and others, who are still having nightmares and--and--and trauma as a result of finding bodies in--in--in this horrible event. We recognize that our city, for whatever reason, is--is now in the spotlight with two horrific crimes and everybody in this city is pulling for these cases to be resolved in an appropriate fashion.

Dr. PAUL LISNEK (Ph.D., Jury Consultant): And, Geraldo, if--if, in fact--if there's going to be any hope on the defense, one of the strategies is going to have to be that Tim McVeigh is going to have to acknowledge he, too, thinks, if he didn't do it, that it's a tragic crime. We never saw from O.J. Simpson his concern about the tragedy of the crime. We'll need to see that from McVeigh.

RIVERA: I tend to think, when you look at the demeanor of that particular fellow...

Mr. diGENOVA: Don't hold your breath.

RIVERA: ...don't hold your breath, Paul. Don't hold your breath.

How would you--how would you advise the Ramseys on their herculean task if, indeed, they are ever charged in this, Paul Lisnek, in terms of selecting a jury? What jury could you--could you hope for?

Dr. LISNEK: Well, for one thing, you have to take a step back. Most people view this situation of hiring the press agent and say, well, you know--the public would say, `That's a sign of somebody who certainly is a suspect and probably--may have done it.' But keep in mind that the proper trial lawyer in the future, if they are ever accused, would take the position that says, `Look, people--we're always going to look to the parents first and, therefore, these people were of means, they protected themselves. The best thing to do, as any defense lawyer will tell you is, "Say nothing and stay out of it."' But, of course, there's no such thing as--as doing something or not doing something and not having the rest of us come on the air and tell you what it means.

So in terms of a jury, it'll be the same kind of issue of this--it's really circumstantial information. They'll be confronted with all these steps the--the Ramsey parents took if, in fact, they're ultimately accused, and--and they're going to have to be told and accept the fact that it doesn't mean anything, that at that time, they are presumed to be innocent, a--as they currently are. I mean, there's--they're--they're not--they're not charged.

RIVERA: Do you think that a jury will be able to be obtained in the Boulder, Colorado, area?

Dr. LISNEK: A jury--for that case?


Dr. LISNEK: Well, yeah. I don't think--you don't have the same kind of impact that you had in Oklahoma. There's no ne--what you're asking is: Will there be a need to move that trial to some other venue? I'm sure defense lawyers at the time will make the motions because that's what we do, and that's what they do but...

RIVERA: I don't know. I don't know about that. I think in this one case, in this a--I don't know. Norm, maybe you know better than I. But it seems to me that Boulder will pride itself on, you know, the--the 12 being truly above the fray, they're so anti-media. I think, in that one case, unlike Oklahoma City, in the JonBenet case, they will pride themselves a--if it was a Boulder jury on--on being disdainful of popular accounts of the evidence and really hold out for a recital of the actual facts.

Mr. EARLY: There's no question that the people of Boulder take a great deal of pl--pride in their community and in their capacity...

RIVERA: Most educated city in America.

Mr. EARLY: Yeah, absolutely--and their capacity to be intelligent about these issues and fair about these issues. I think that even though there has been some criticism about the pace of the--of the prosecution or the lack thereof, that the people in this city, if a case is ever brought, would be able to render a verdict that would be fair and impartial.

Mr. diGENOVA: Geraldo, I think--you know, I--I must say, just...

RIVERA: Go ahead, Joe.

Mr. diGENOVA: ...picking up on what Norm just said, this criticism of the prosecution and the police--I think that that's absolutely outrageous, that criticism. You know, nothing would be worse than for the police and the prosecutors to rush to judgment just to name somebody, to make everybody feel good in that community. I don't think the community expects that, and I must say I think that--that they've given the police department and the prosecutors a--a pretty good quantum of support for doing the right thing, which is keep their mouth shut, conduct their investigation and when they get it and they get it right, then you charge somebody.

Mr. POZNER: Yeah. Joseph's ex--ex--right on point there. Professional police work doesn't get done in the open. They have no obligation to be giving out weekly reports on what the evidence is and where it's leading, and it would be irresponsible of them to do it. And people need to come to grips with this concept. Good police work may not solve this case.

Mr. diGENOVA: Yeah, that's right.


Mr. diGENOVA: By the way, I hope...

RIVERA: Go ahead, Joe. Then I'm moving on. Go.

Mr. diGENOVA: I hope that the--that the legislature is going to change the law so that autopsy reports are not public documents until someone is arrested.

RIVERA: I don't know if I agree with you on that one.

Mr. diGENOVA: Oh, boy. Giving--giving, you know, that kind of information out about the condition of a body in a crime that hasn't been solved? That's ludicrous.

RIVERA: Well, how--what'd you think about giving out the video of the 39 who killed themselves?

Mr. diGENOVA: Well, you mean, when the case is over and the--and the police department says...

RIVERA: No. They just had a mass suicide out West. They gave out video of the bodies lying there right away.

Mr. diGENOVA: Well, because the police department there said that they believed it was--only was a suicide. I mean, if they thought it wasn't, they would have been pretty dumb.

RIVERA: Oh, well, I--I believe that more disclosure rather than less, generally speaking. I also think that this delay in a--an arrest, as I've said before, is brilliant strategy. Boulder's not putting pressure on the local authorities to make an arrest.

Mr. diGENOVA: Right.

RIVERA: Therefore, why make an arrest and put into implementation the Sixth Amendment requirement for a speedy trial? Take all the time you want, let the suspects that you know in your heart have done it dangle in the wind and then, you know, take affirmative action when you know you have all your ducks in a row and just...

Mr. diGENOVA: And maybe they'll make a mistake in the process.

RIVERA: And--and maybe they'll make a mistake in the process.

Mr. EARLY: That's how most murder cases are solved anyway; someone says something or does something that inures to their detriment eventually and the longer you wait...

RIVERA: Correct.

Mr. EARLY: ...the more likely that is to happen.

RIVERA: There is something...

Mr. POZNER: I refuse the...

RIVERA: ...very un...

Mr. POZNER: ...rush-to-judgment theory.

Program Time: 9:00-10:00 PM
Nielson Rating 367030
Reference: 970331

I0607 * End of document.