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Back to 2001 Headlines

3/20/2001

Lawyer says ruling allows him to question former DA

The Associated Press

DENVER — A lawyer representing a former housekeeper for JonBenet Ramsey ’s family says a federal judge’s ruling means he can question former Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter, Gov. Bill Owens and other officials.

The statement by attorney Darnay Hoffman came after U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel refused to throw out a lawsuit Hoffman filed for client Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, claiming her civil rights are being violated because state law blocks her from using her grand jury testimony in a book.

Hoffman said the decision would allow the depositions of Hunter, Owens, current Boulder District Attorney Mary Keenan and Michael Kane, who headed the grand jury investigation into JonBenet’s death.

Hunter declined to discuss the decision and referred calls to Boulder County Attorney Andy McDonald. McDonald said, I think it is more an issue of whether the rules are constitutional and not whether they have been applied correctly in this case.

He said he was awaiting a reply from Attorney General Ken Salazar’s office on whether it would help.

Six-year-old JonBenet was found beaten and strangled in her family’s home on Dec. 26, 1996. No arrests have been made. Police have not ruled out the child’s parents, John and Patsy Ramsey , as suspects.

Hoffmann-Pugh has asked the judge to throw out the laws prohibiting her from disclosing her testimony unless an indictment is issued. The grand jury met for 13 months without issuing an indictment.

Lawyers for Boulder asked Daniel to dismiss Hoffmann-Pugh’s lawsuit on several grounds, including that she lacked standing. Daniel said the lawsuit can proceed.

He denied the request of Hoffman that a transcript of the grand jury’s meetings be released immediately. Daniel ordered lawyers for both sides to meet April 2 to discuss scheduling the lawsuit.