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JonBenet Ramsey Case
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4/17/01 07:36 PM

Hoffman Chat Transcript (4/17/01) [Post#: 5162 ]

Here it is! Two parts, two posts.

Session Start: Tue Apr 17 19:57:20 2001

*** Yanky sets mode: +m

mapek: Today is Tuesday, April 17, 2001.

mapek: Welcome to what will surely be an interesting chat on the JonBenet Ramsey case with special guest, attorney Darnay Hoffman.

mapek: Mr. Hoffman, a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York (class of 82), specializes in civil litigation and trial. He is also considered a grand jury expert.

mapek: We invited Mr. Hoffman to chat at this time due to the pending litigation against the Ramseys.

mapek: Mr. Hoffman is legal counsel for two individuals, Chris Wolf and Linda Hoffman-Pugh, in libel suits against John and Patsy Ramsey, parents of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey who was found brutally murdered in her home on the day after Christmas in 1996.

mapek: In addition, Mr. Hoffman is representing Linda Hoffman-Pugh, the Ramseys' former housekeeper, in a suit to allow her to reveal her grand jury testimony related to the Ramsey case in a book she proposes to write.

mapek: The moderated portion of the chat will be divided into two segments, followed by an open chat.

mapek: We will begin by asking Mr. Hoffman those questions posted in advance.

mapek: Time permitting, we will ask those individuals who posted questions in advance if they have any follow-up questions for Mr. Hoffman.

mapek: At the end of the follow-up questions, we will have an open chat, at which time Mr. Hoffman may elect to stay or leave.

mapek: A big thank you to all who made this chat possible.

mapek: Yanky will be our main interviewer this evening. Sisu is our official greeter and will help answer any questions you may have about the format of tonight's chat.

mapek: Shortly after the chat, a transcript will be posted on You are more than welcome to link the transcript URL once it becomes available but we ask that you not post the entire transcript without written permission.

mapek: Okay, I see our guest is here and we are ready to begin. Yanky, would you like to begin?

Yanky: yes thank you!!

Yanky: Mr. Hoffman, it's a pleasure and a privilege to have you here tonight. We have lots of good questions for you and hope you will feel comfortable answering all of them.

Yanky: What can you tell us about the suit (on behalf of LHP) to open up Grand Jury testimony?

NYL: Should federal judge Wiley Y. Daniel declare Colorado's grand jury witness law unconstitutional it will open a floodgate of new information. We are due to appear for oral argument on July 5th.

Yanky: Is there a date set for it yet?

NYL: Yes. July 5th for oral argument. Then it will take several months for a written opinion.

Yanky: Which court has jurisdiction?

NYL: Federal court in Denver, Colorado.

Yanky: From rico: Darnay, are you aware of any other individuals who appeared before the grand jury having expressed an interest in going public with their testimony?

NYL: NO. I'm not.

Yanky: candy would like to know: Have you heard of any witnesses on the anti-Ramsey side who testified before the grand jury who would also like to have their testimony released from grand jury secrecy laws if LHP is successful? (you don't have to give any specific names if the answer is yes).

NYL: I have not heard of any witnesses, except for what has been reported in the Boulder local press. I don't know if any of these witnesses want to testify, yet. Or report on their experiences.

Yanky: Rico also asks: have you ever heard anything to indicate that perhaps a member/members of the grand jury itself wished the proceedings to be made public?

NYL: I have heard nothing about grand jurors wanting to speak out. However, the law is quite clear on that score. Jurors, unlike witnesses are NEVER allowed to speak to the public about their experiences.

Yanky: Also from rico: Can you confirm that Fleet White did testify before the grand jury? Some posters on the forums have made a point of stating there is no 'proof' he ever appeared (which seems ludicrous); can you give some information that supports the common-sense notion that he testified?

NYL: Since there are reports that maybe as many as 100 people testified before the grand jury, it seems highly possible that one of them would be the man who was with John Ramsey the moment JonBenet's body was discovered in the basement.

Yanky: What can you tell us about the status of the two suits against the Ramseys: the one filed on behalf of Chris Wolf, and the other on behalf of the Ramsey's former housekeeper, Linda Hoffman Pugh? Any new developments?

NYL: Wolf's suit begins discovery in May, which includes depositions of John And Patsy within three to four months at the latest. Linda's suit is in the early stages. We are still waiting for an answer or motion to dismiss. The Ramseys have another 30 days with which to respond.

Yanky: please take more time if you have more to add

NYL: All right, I will, if necessary.

Yanky: ok, moving on ...thanks

Yanky: scout asks: Are slander/libel lawsuits usually decided by judges or juries, or does the defendant have a choice?

NYL: Plaintiff's usually like juries to hear their cases. So, if a motion survives a defendants motion for summary judgment, which is always decided by a judge, then a jury will usually have the last word at trial.

Yanky: This one is from shana: Mr. Hoffman, could you please tell us about the attorneys who are assisting you in the 3 lawsuits and what their expertise and work product consists of?

NYL: Atlanta trial attorney Evan Altman is assisting me in the Wolf and Hoffmann-Pugh cases. Evan is a former FBI special agent who left the Bureau to practice law. I'm operating on my own in the Colorado grand jury case involving Linda Hoffmann-Pugh's challenge to the grand jury witness secrecy laws.

Yanky: Also from Shana: I read on usenet that another lawyer is lead counsel in Linda Hoffmann-Pugh's suit v the Ramseys - is this true?

NYL: Evan Altman is co-counsel with me in both cases. Because I'm an out-of-state attorney, I must appear in Georgia's courts with "local" counsel. Colorado is more liberal, so I can appear by myself.

Yanky: From CGirl: Darnay, First of all, thanks for all you do in keeping the case alive! Did either of your clients ask Hunter to be cleared as suspects? I am asking because it seems that as soon as the Ramsey's asked Hunter's office to publicly clear Burke as a suspect, they filed their suits. Thank you.

NYL: My clients have never asked Hunter to "clear" them. I doubt if they would ask Hunter for the time of day.

Yanky: Sabrina asks: Can you briefly explain why you had to file your lawsuits in Atlanta even though your clients are residents of CO... and the Ramseys were able to file their lawsuit against Steve Thomas in Atlanta even though he resides in CO.. Also, how does this work with attorneys such as Petrocelli that practices in a completely different state--the great state of California?

NYL: When you sue someone in a different state, you can use the federal courts, but only if you sue them in the federal court that is nearest them. This is a federal law with some exceptions, such a newspapers or broadcast media, who are thought to be doing business in every state and therefore "fair game" in virtually any state. As for Daniel Petrocelli, I don't know he intends to do about where the Ramseys have chosen to sue his client Steve Thomas.

Yanky: From Jodie: This case has been going on for over 4 yrs. now. This is the first time we might see some hope that there could be some information that could lead to the killer or killers. In your opinion do you think that this is the beginning of finally putting an end to a long dragged out case, or will this just be another thing that will thrown out of court and the Ramseys will not have to be put in any other incriminating situations?

NYL: We all live in hope, I think, that each year will be the final year. There is no question that Wolf's lawsuit and LHP's grand jury challenge are the first developments that can't be controlled either by the Ramseys or Alex Hunter. So, with that said, there is room for a great deal of hope..

Yanky: From imon128: question to Darnay is "what will you do if the R's plead the 5th to any/all things?"

NYL: The Ramseys are legally allowed to take the 5th. In a civil suit, I am legally allowed to bring this fact out to a jury. Unlike a criminal case, there is no presumption of innocence, so the Ramseys become fair game with any 5th Amendment answers they give.

Yanky: rico asks: Will you be calling as witnesses the Ramsey's former and current private investigators as evidence that they were still looking into Chris Wolf's background long after he had been cleared by the BPD?

NYL: I hope to be able to, unless I'm prevented by some "privilege" that prevents me from doing so.

Yanky: rico would also like to know: What about Ellis Armistead? Perhaps he can shed some light on who the R's were focused on and more importantly, why he quit the 'spin team'.

Yanky: these are some really good questions tonight, thanks for all who sent in, and for our guest for taking time to answer them...

NYL: Yes. I think their testimony will be quite revealing as to the extent to which the Ramseys may have gone to "find" the murderer of their daughter. Naturally, if Patsy is the ransom note writer (and killer) then all of this investigation could only have one effect, and that is to pin a false murder rap on some innocent person.

Yanky: more?

NYL: Please!

Yanky: Sabrina asks: Is your client LHP's husband also involved in the suit?

NYL: No, Merv isn't.

Yanky: Sabrina also asks: Was he incorrectly named and thoroughly investigated too?

NYL: Absolutely. Both Linda and Merv are innocent of this terrible crime.

Yanky: please feel free to continue, i don't mean to interrupt...thanks: Is Merv involved in the suit?

NYL: No, he isn't. Linda is the one who has the best claim against the Ramseys. In Merv's case, the statute of limitations has already run.

Yanky: great, thanks

Yanky: From Paula: Mr. Hoffman, Do you have confidence that you (and your team) can show the courts that Patsy Ramsey, and others are responsible for this horrible crime?

NYL: We have several handwriting experts (two of whom are former Justice Department experts) who are willing to put their considerable professional reputations on the line by stating that Patsy is positively the ransom note writer. As even John and Patsy have admitted on LKL, the ransom note writer is the murderer. They are one and the same person. So you can take it from there.

Yanky: Also from Paula: In your opinion, will justice finally be served after 4 long years?

NYL: I sincerely hope so. Just getting the Ramseys into a court of law, with them giving sworn testimony before a jury and the world press is an accomplishment. There is still hope that a civil case, like the OJ Simpson case, will result in a jury verdict exposing the killer.

Yanky: This is from scout: It has been published that you and your client can 'prove' PR was responsible for the death of her daughter. Additionally, in his book Steve Thomas has stated that everything he heard or saw regarding this case caused him to arrive at a similar conclusion. If either/both of these cases are won (by the plaintiff and defendant, respectively) does that pretty much pave the way for a criminal prosecution of the R's?

NYL: Unfortunately, probably not. As long as Mary Keenan (an Alex Hunter clone) remains in office, there will NEVER be a prosecution in this case. The Boulder DA has spent four years studiously ignoring evidence, why should they stop now?

Yanky: From sarah: Can you elaborate on any new details (regarding the murder) that you hope or expect will come out of your depositions?

NYL: It is hard to tell what information will emerge from a deposition. Naturally, the Ramseys will be well prepared by their lawyers, so much of what they say (e.g. "I don't remember") will be quite familiar to people who have followed this case. Yet, you never know....

Yanky: CAC asks: Do you anticipate any cooperation and sharing of information & resources between the various attorneys involved in the Wolf, Hoffman-Pugh & Thomas law suits ? While the cases have their differences, there is a significant amount of overlap. Cooperation could increase the likelihood of everyone's success against the Ramseys.

NYL: It's too early to know if Daniel Petrocelli wants to have any sort of cooperation. It is possible, but there have been no overtures yet.

Yanky: This is from Greenleaf: Darnay, I have only one question? Do you think the Rams are really going to go through with the Thomas lawsuit, or, will it go the way of the Peter Boyles suit? I have a strong feeling that the Rams will drop the suit. Anyway, best of luck to you. You have many admirers on the net. Best wishes, Greenleaf

NYL: If the Ramseys don't drop their lawsuit, then Federal judge Willis Hunt will probably thorw it out in a motion to dismiss or summary judgment.

Yanky: we are more than 2/3 thru the questions, thanks for your patience... Sabrina asks: Please explain what "Summary Judgment" is, and why you think the Ramseys case against Thomas will not proceed past this stage. Thanks!

NYL: My pleasure. Keep them coming!

Yanky: please see above....

NYL: Summary judgment is the legal establishment's way of "cutting to the chase." It could be called "where's the beef?" Usually the defendant makes the motion, claiming that there is no real factual dispute for a jury to decide. The judge is asked to decide for them instead.

Yanky: thanks....

Yanky: This one is from gaiabetsy: Darnay, what's your take on the Mystery Woman's story about the sex ring in Boulder?

NYL: An interesting episode, which, in my opinion, has no direct bearing on answering the question of who murdered JonBenet.

Yanky: Also from gaiabetsy: Is she someone you see who might be able to be of any assistance in any of the lawsuits?

NYL: It is highly unlikely.

Yanky: gaiabetsy wonders: Is she bogus, in your opinion?

NYL: I don't know if bogus is the right word. She's more of a distraction, a "red herring." As sad and compelling her story may be, it will never answer the question of who murdered JonBenet.

Yanky: This is from Sabrina: Darnay, I just read that you are also representing Eleanor Von Duyke pro bono. Is she also represented by her publisher's attorneys? What is happening with this suit?

NYL: Eleanor is not represented by the publisher's attorneys. I am representing her pro bono.

Yanky: Do you feel internet posters are vulnerable to libel suits brought on by the Ramseys or other players involved in the Ramsey case? pardon me if i cut you off to soon with the prior question...

NYL: Not likely. First off, these forums are "opinion" sites. Secondly, everyone has a hat, so who in their community knows its them being "insulted" or "libeled" by other posters? As for the Ramseys, after four years of being portrayed as possible murderers in the national media, what chance do they have convincing a judge that some little internet poster has lowered their reputation in the community?

Yanky: thanks...would you like to expand on Eleanor Von Duyke..and her publisher's attorneys? or what is happening in this suit currently

NYL: There isn't that much to say. Eleanor contacted me one day and asked if she needed a lawyer, since the Ramseys hadn't even bothered to serve her with a summons and complaint. I don't think they are serious about taking Eleanor to court, but she needs an attorney just in case. As for here publishers, they are pretty much out of business with no money for their own lawyers, let alone a lawyer for Eleanor.

Yanky: From shana: I am curious to know if you had anything to do with the New York Post's subpoenas to see the Ramsey case documents as served on D.A. Mary Keenan.

NYL: No, nothing. I haven't been in contact with their lawyers and vice versa.

Yanky: From Dunvegan ( Darnay: Do you give John Ramsey "a pass" in regard to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey?

NYL: No, I don't. I'm willing to "wait and see" what comes out at his deposition and his testimony at trial.

Yanky: From Dunvegan ( Darnay: Do you give John Ramsey "a pass" in regard to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey?

NYL: No, I don't.

Yanky: Also from Dunvegan: Do you give John a pass regarding "guilty knowledge" of the murder, or in regards to sexual abuse?

Yanky: From elle138: Why are John and Patsy Ramsey's DNA tests not enough proof of their innocence, when the DNA discovered on John Benét's clothes is not a match?

NYL: There DNA is a confusing piece of forensic "evidence" at this point and it is hard for the public to know exactly what it is the police have as specimens.

Yanky: From Sean: I applaud your dedication to this case and feel you may just be the right person to crack it. Will you write a book about your quest for justice?

NYL: No, I most definitely will not. There are already too many dead trees lying around bookstores as it is.

Yanky: k, I will go back to a question please to clarify, ok?


Yanky: : Do you give John a pass regarding "guilty knowledge" of the murder, or in regards to sexual abuse?

NYL: I can't give John a "pass" in either respect. The reasons are simple: He was in the house with JonBenet. There appears to have been some sort of physical abuse, according to the autopsy, in JBR's vagina, which could have been either the mother or father's fault.


4/17/01 07:37
Re: Hoffman Chat Transcript (4/17/01) [Post#: 5163 / re: 5162 ]

Part II

mapek: Those were all great questions! Mr. Hoffman, thanks so very much for being here with us tonight!

mapek: We would now like to invite people to ask you some follow-up questions if you are agreeable. Is that okay with you?

NYL: Yes. If they do it one at a time.

mapek: Great! Thanks so very much!

mapek: A reminder to everyone here -- a transcript of this chat will be posted on the Ramsey case discussion board at later tonight. You are more than welcome to link the transcript URL once it becomes available but ask that you not post the entire transcript without written permission.

NYL: Your welcome.

mapek: Okay, we'll now go to follow-up questions.

mapek: We'll be asking each of you who posted questions in advance if you have any follow-up questions.

mapek: There are 16 of you so please make sure you have your questions ready when we call on you. We hope to have time to call on all 16 of you.

NYL: Please correct my spelling errors before posting.

mapek: I'm not sure if all 16 are here.

mapek: will try :)

Sisu: Sabrina3, do you have any questions for Mr. Hoffman?

Sabrina3: Hi Darnay! Have you seen the Court TV show on which the Ramseys plan to base another lawsuit on?

NYL: No, but I think that lawsuit will be a big flop and mistake.

Sabrina3: Mark Fuhrman- Larry Pozner were on it

Sisu: Any other questions?

NYL: Interesting

Sabrina3: So was Vincent Bugliosi (spelling?)

NYL: Since I post frequently at the various forums, my opinions and ideas are pretty well known by now.

Sisu: Thanks so much, let's go to the next person.

Sisu: rico7, do you have any questions for Mr. Hoffman?

rico7: yes

rico7: NYL, what is your take on the R's revealing that Burke was in fact awake in the recent tabloid interview?

NYL: I don't know exactly, but obviously they are worried enough to preemptively reveal it themselves

rico7: so this is about timing?

NYL: Probably.

rico7: thank you

NYL: You're welcome

Sisu: Thanks so much, let's go to the next person.

Sisu: shana, do you have any questions for Mr. Hoffman?

Sisu: Shana, any questions?

Jodie: Is there any possibility in your opinion that there could of been an intruder in the house or are you positive it was someone that lived in the home?, also is there absolutely proof that John Andrew was out of the state?

NYL: It's possible, but not probable there was an intruder. As Lou Smit is so fond of saying: Murders are pretty simple. They are usually exactly what they seem. As for John Andrew, it's unlikely he was involved, especially since he was photographed at a bank ATM.

Jodie: Thank you

Sisu: Any other questions?

NYL: You're Welcome!

Sisu: Jodie, any other questions?

NYL: McReynolds was probably the most interesting of the suspects the DA was considering. But I doubt highly he was involved. Domestic homicides involving staging are almost always the parents.

Sisu: Thanks so much, let's go to the next person.

Jodie: thank you, you have answered many questions I have had. You can now go to the next

Sisu: sarah6, do you have any questions for Mr. Hoffman?

sarah6: yes

sarah6: cheers. When will your depos be available to read???

NYL: Possibly never, if the judge orders them to be sealed. I will resist such an attempt however. The depos themselves should be taken by June at the latest.

Sisu: Any other questions sarah6?

sarah6: thank you, on to the next person

Sisu: Thanks so much, let's go to the next person.

NYL: By the way, I'm videotaping the Ramseys depositions.

Sisu: CG, do you have any questions for Mr. Hoffman?

CG: Yes. NYL, how do you address those who believe John Ramsey wrote the note? Have your experts seen exemplars of his writing?

NYL: My experts are convinced Patsy wrote the note and that John did not.

CG: thank you

Sisu: Any other questions CG?

CG: no, thanks

NYL: You're welcome!

Sisu: Thanks so much, let's go to the next person.

Dunvegan: Darnay, thank you for all of your efforts in this case: Do you believe that after your trial, Linda will be allowed to tell her story in a book?

NYL: Yes, I do.

Dunvegan: We look forward to it.

Dunvegan: Thank you.

NYL: Thanks

Sisu: Any other questions Dunvegan?

Dunvegan: no, but thank you

Sisu: Thanks so much, let's go to the next person.

Sisu: Candy, do you have any questions for Mr. Hoffman?

candy: Yes

candy: Will either LHP or Chris Wolf be giving any interviews before their respective trials?

NYL: Very few. We've been approached by Dateline. But both my clients would prefer to let the evidence do the talking for them.

candy: Thank you.

Sisu: Any other questions Candy?

candy: No thank you.

Sisu: Thanks so much, let's go to the next person.

Sisu: shana, do you have any questions for Mr. Hoffman?

shana: Thanks, not at this time...go Darnay!

NYL: Thanks

mapek: It looks like we are out of time.

mapek: Mr. Hoffman, thank you for being our guest tonight. Do you have any final words before we go to open chat?

NYL: My pleasure. Bless everyone of you.

mapek: We wish you the very best with the lawsuits you are engaged in on behalf of your clients.

mapek: We look forward to watching their progress. Please keep up the good work. Again, thanks very much!

mapek: We are now going to open the channel to OPEN CHAT. Mr. Hoffman, you are welcome to stay, but understand if you must leave.

mapek: A big thank you to all on CrimeNews2000 who made this chat possible.

mapek: A transcript will be posted later this evening on the JonBenet Ramsey case news forum. You are more than welcome to link the transcript URL once it becomes available but ask that you not post the entire transcript without written permission.

*** Yanky sets mode: -m


mapek: you are now free to chat openly

NYL: It's late, and I have to be in court tomorrow. Thanks, all!

*** NYL has quit IRC (Quit: Leaving)

Session Close: Tue Apr 17 21:24:00 2001 Terms of Service Contact Us