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6/13/2001

Opening statements begin in Ramsey ransom trial

The Associated Press

GOLDEN — Attorneys for a lawyer accused of bribery for trying to buy the JonBenet Ramsey ransom note said Tuesday he was charged only because attorneys for JonBenet’s parents pressured the district attorney in an attempt to destroy his credibility.

Attorneys for Thomas Miller said during opening statements in his Jefferson County District Court trial that John and Patsy Ramsey want to discredit Miller, a certified handwriting analyst, because he had concluded publicly that Patsy Ramsey wrote the note and could be called to testify if either Ramsey is ever charged.

JonBenet’s slaying remains unsolved and no arrests have been made. Police have said John and Patsy Ramsey remain under suspicion.

Prosecutors said Miller was advising a tabloid newspaper writer who offered $30,000 to buy a copy of the note from an investigator hired by the Ramseys . The note was found inside the Ramsey house on Dec. 26, 1996, the day the 6-year-old beauty queen was found beaten and strangled to death.

Miller was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury in August 1999 on a charge of commercial bribery.

Earlier Tuesday, a jury of four women and eight men were selected from a pool of 65 prospective jurors to hear the trial, which was expected to end as early as Thursday.

The list of potential witnesses in the trial includes former Ramsey family friend Fleet White and former Boulder police Detective Steve Thomas.