Posted by jameson on Apr-03-01 at 11:02 AM (EST)

LAST EDITED ON Apr-03-01 AT 12:25 PM (EST)

Lin Wood on The Early Show - 4/3/2001 Lin talking about filing the lawsuit against Steve Thomas

Jane Clayson - Lin Wood is the Ramseys' attorney Good morning.

Lin Wood - Good morning.

JC - This is not your first defamation lawsuit, but this is very important to the Ramseys. Do they see this as a trial of their guilt or innocence?

LW - Well, it is. The sad thing about John and Patsy's plight over the last several years is that they have been literally put on trial for the murder of their daughter in the court of public opinion. This unholy alliance of the police combining with the media to portray these individuals as guilty of a crime they have never been charged for, where a grand jury has deliberated and investigated for 13 months and did not indict them. Finally we come to, basically full circle, where they now have to go into court and, in effect, prove their innocence.

JC - But there are no charges - never been any charges filed, why not just drop it? Other than the fact that Mr. Thomas was the lead investigator in the case and they are upset about his allegations, why go forward?

LW - Steve Thomas is the most, on the face of it, credible accuser because he was an investigator, a detective on the case and he brings to his book police information that was confidential, privileged. He takes that information, he misuses it, selectively uses it, misrepresents it, and he says very loudly, "Patsy Ramsey killed her daughter." Now, could they walk away from it? No - because they owe that to themselves, to their family, to their friends, they owe it to JonBenét and her memory. The truth has to one day come out in a court of law and John and Patsy Ramsey are prepared to put that in front of a jury.

JC - Do you believe that the information Mr. Thomas used for his book was illegally obtained?

LW - I know it was. Absolutely. He took police information in the book, quotes from interrogations and interviews, and he used that information to make a lot of money for himself. Now, that's a system of justice that I would submit that fair-minded people do not want to see take place in this country - where a disgruntled former cop goes out and undoes what the system of justice has done - that is to say that there is not enough evidence here to charge this family, they are innocent of this crime - but I'm going to go out and publish a book and I'm going to accuse them and make front page headlines with my story.

JC - Steve Thomas has released a statement and I want to read it before you here. He says, "I stand by my convictions. The Ramseys have no right to silence me or anyone else who wishes to seek the truth and speak out about this horrible tragedy of injustice. I will vigorously defend myself against the Ramseys’ lawsuit and look forward to the opportunity to expose in a court of law what happened in the Ramsey home on Christmas night 1996."

LW - Steve Thomas' public relations statement. He's hired a public relations firm and that's interesting. He accused John and Patsy of somehow having something to hide because their lawyers hired a PR firm to help take phone calls back in the days of the media crush. He goes out and hires a PR firm, that is his right. He issues a statement - and listen - we are not trying to deny Steve Thomas the right to speak. He has his first amendment rights even though he has trampled on my clients' constitutional rights. But he doesn't have the right to go out and falsely accuse someone of a crime they didn't commit and they will address that, exercizing their rights in a courtroom.

JC - He's also hired Daniel Petrocelli who has successfully prosecuted OJ Simpson in the civil case.

LW - Sure. He's a good lawyer.

JC - There's been some comparison here to the Simpson trial - that Simpson couldn't be convicted in a criminal case so it was taken to a civil court. Do the Ramseys see that comparison and are they concerned about the public relations impact for them?

LW - No, they're not concerned about public relations in terms of impact in this case and I don't think it's a fair comparison if you look at it. OJ Simpson was charged with a crime. He was put on trial and the evidence, as it was, against him was presented publicly, in a courtroom. John and Patsy Ramsey have never been charged. They've never had the opportunity to confront their accusers, to force the government to put it's case in front of a jury... because the government doesn't have a case.

JC - But you have said yourself you see this as a trial of their guilt or innocence. ...the facts would come out.

LW - - The only analogy would be that in a civil case, as opposed to a criminal case, the issue of whether or not John and Patsy Ramsey were involved in the death of JonBenét wll be put to a jury. That is the only thing that you can say about the Simpson case and Ramsey case that are similar.

JC - - What do you think are the motivations of Steve Thomas writing this book other than the fact that he was a lead investigator in this case?

LW - - Steve Thomas was... I would submit, into this in part for money.... I'm told reliably, that he intended when he left the force, to, on one of your rival networks, to be an on-line commentator during the Ramsey Trial. Of course there was no trial because there was no change because there was no sufficient evidence. And so he saw this as an opportunity to make some money. I think there's an element of vindictiveness too, because if you look at his book, his book is about almost a petty fight that existed out in Boulder between the Police Department and the District Attorney's office. That's not going to sell many books. Not many people are going to be interested in the infighting between the police and the District Attorney. But if you take that book and you wrap it around an allegation against Patsy Ramsey of murder, then you can sell your book. So that's what Steve Thomas did. He wanted to sell books

JC - - We'll be watching. Lin Wood, thank you.

LW - Thanks for having me.