The Today Show - Wednesday, May 10, 2000

10 . "transcript"
Posted by jams on May-11-00 at 06:04 PM (EST)

Wednesday, May 10, 2000

KATIE COURIC, co-host: John and Patsy Ramsey are back in the news this morning for a number of reasons. They filed lawsuits this week against four different publications who reported that their son Burke is the one who killed JonBenet. And the Ramseys have still failed to reach an agreement with the Boulder Police Department to take a lie detector test. Lin Wood represents the Ramseys.

Lin, good morning. Welcome back.

Mr. LIN WOOD (Attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey): Good morning, Katie.

COURIC: Let me start with some portion of the interview the Ramseys did with me back in March when I asked them specifically about a lie detector test.

Mr. WOOD: Sure.

(Beginning of file footage)

COURIC: Did you all take a lie detector test?

Mr. JOHN RAMSEY: We were never asked to take a lie detector test.

COURIC: Why not volunteer to take one?

Mr. RAMSEY: That didn't occur to me, first of all. That wasn't our motive.

Ms. PATSY RAMSEY: I understand that lie detector tests are not admissible in court anyway. It's kind of a voodoo science.

Mr. RAMSEY: I would. If I was asked. Certainly I would. But the fact is, I was never asked.

(End of file footage)

COURIC: Lin, of course the Ramseys now have been asked to take a lie detector test. And some of the particulars were being worked out. What happened?

Mr. WOOD: Well, John and Patsy have stated very publicly that they would, in fact, take a lie detector test if they were asked to do so by Chief Beckner of the Boulder Police Department, if the test was a fair test, and if the test was conducted by an independent examiner, an examiner independent from the Boulder Police Department and its investigation of this family. Chief Beckner offered a test, but he only offered it if it was conducted by the FBI. The FBI has held the hands of the Boulder Police Department members in this investigation. The FBI is not independent. It was meeting last week with Boulder Police officials on the case. And so until and unless Chief Beckner offers a truly fair, truly independent examination, unfortunately there's not going to be one.

COURIC: You obviously do not trust the FBI to administer this lie detector test. But apparently last week the nation's foremost polygraph group, the American Polygraph Association, offered to conduct an independent lie detector test. Would they satisfy your requirements as an independent body to administer this test?

Mr. WOOD: I received a letter from the American Polygraph Association Monday. And, in fact, it does appear that that organization is offering someone who I think could be deemed to be fair and independent. But the question is not for John and Patsy Ramsey to answer. The question is for Chief Mark Beckner of the Boulder Police Department. They sent that letter to him.

COURIC: Do you think they would be suitable to him? Do you think they would be suitable?

Mr. WOOD: He has indicated that the only group that he is willing to allow to have this test--conduct this test is the FBI. I can't speak for Chief Beckner. But I think the question ought to be asked, why is Chief Beckner unwilling to have a truly fair and independent examiner perform the test?

COURIC: Let me ask you about what's happening in the Boulder Police Department. Apparently, they've started to retest evidence that they found at the murder scene, such as hair and fiber. Were you surprised or were your clients, the Ramseys, surprised by this?

Mr. WOOD: No. I think that during the media campaign of the district attorney out there, Alex Hunter, that he's referenced the fact that there were ongoing laboratory tests. So the information from last week certainly came as no surprise.

COURIC: Let me ask you about these four lawsuits that were filed against these four separate publications seeking $ 16 million on behalf of their 12-year-old son Burke. What prompted the Ramseys to file those suits?

Mr. WOOD: Well, when I was hired several months ago, I made it very clear that John and Patsy had asked me to initially concentrate my efforts in terms of civil litigation on behalf of their son Burke. The first lawsuit was filed against a tabloid, Star. That lawsuit was settled a couple of months ago. And these lawsuits follow in that same vein. These lawsuits are brought against members of the media that very publicly proclaimed that Burke Ramsey, a nine-year-old child at the time of his sister's death, was a murderer. And John and Patsy have drawn a line and said that they're not going to tolerate this. These are vicious lies, unconscionable conduct. It's almost like staring at a bully and finally saying 'Enough is enough.' The Ramseys have had enough. They've had enough of the lies and accusations against their son. They've had enough of the lies and accusations against themselves.

COURIC: Meanwhile, they've...

Mr. WOOD: They're going to do something about.

COURIC: ...they've been sued by someone they mention in their book.

Mr. WOOD: They have been, although that lawsuit was filed in New York and dismissed last week. I understand it's going to be refiled in Atlanta. And look, that's--that's unfortunate. It's part of the tragedy this family has to endure. The individual who is going to file that suit has a lawyer who has himself sued the Ramseys and dismissed his case. That individual's lawyer has himself filed a lawsuit against authorities in Boulder trying to interject himself into this case for publicity purposes. That lawsuit is, indeed, frivolous. It's not like the cases that John and Patsy have brought for Burke and will ultimately bring for themselves.

COURIC: All right, Lin Wood. Thanks very much for joining us.

Mr. WOOD: Thank you, Katie.