BOULDER — Relentless is the word that best describes Boulder businessman and peripheral Ramsey character Fleet White Jr.
The tall, silver-haired former best friend of John Ramsey often can be seen poring over court documents in the Boulder County Clerk’s Office as he pursues whatever particular legal action he is working on at the moment.
White’s latest crusade is aimed at District Attorney
Mary Keenan, who, he claims, has failed to prosecute whoever leaked information from grand jury proceedings in the summer of 1999 that centered around JonBenet Ramsey’s murder on Dec. 25, 1996.
Along with his wife, Priscilla, the 54-year-old White filed a motion earlier this month demanding a court hearing at which Keenan would have to explain why she refused to prosecute or cite any person who violated grand jury secrecy laws. On Tuesday, Judge Dan Hale told White that he must serve Keenan with the complaint and that she will have 20 days to respond.
White wouldn’t specify the violation out of fear he would be releasing grand jury information himself, he said in an affidavit.
Keenan shook her head Tuesday when hearing about the latest court action filed by White and said she forwards most of his court proceedings to Assistant District Attorney Bill Nagel, who has become the pointman on all things Ramsey.
“If we were convinced there was a violation of grand jury secrecy, we would follow up on it,” Keenan said. “That is our job.”
Nagel said he would file a response but also would need to be vague in order to not divulge any testimony that came out in the grand jury proceedings.
White has been involved in the Ramsey case since day one. He was with John Ramsey when JonBenet’s body was found in the wine cellar of the Ramseys’ home, and at first he supported John and Patsy Ramsey’s claims of innocence.
At some point, White became convinced of their guilt and started a campaign to have the governor remove former District Attorney Alex Hunter and appoint an independent prosecutor to the case. White also was a big supporter of former Boulder police Detective Steve Thomas, who wrote a book claiming Patsy Ramsey killed her daughter.
In 2000, White’s name surfaced again when a California woman came forward with allegations of ritualistic sexual abuse by a group that included people associated with the murder case, including Fleet White.
Since that woman’s claims were discredited, White has been on a rampage against the media, seeking criminal libel charges against outlets who told the woman’s story.
Two special prosecutors were appointed in the case, but neither filed charges.
In February, El Paso County Deputy District Attorney Robert Harward, who was assigned to look into the allegations, notified Boulder County Chief District Judge Roxanne Bailin that he was declining to file charges.
“The published material, on its face, does not support charges of criminal libel under the Colorado libel statute,” Harward’s report said.
After White failed to show up for a hearing he had demanded regarding the reasoning behind the special prosecutor’s decision, Bailin closed the case.
Last week, White petitioned the Boulder District Court to turn over records of court proceedings in the investigation as he appeals the special prosecutor’s decision. The appeal process is the only way he can go, since time has run out for any law enforcement agency to file criminal libel charges.
Keenan was the driving force behind having a special prosecutor appointed after White complained loudly when the first one was dismissed.
“We tried to do what we could to help him within the statute of limitations,” Keenan said.
Although never a suspect in JonBenet’s murder, White is the only person at the murder scene who has spent time in jail stemming from the case.
In October 2001, White was sentenced to 30 days in jail after he ignored two subpoenas in a Ramsey-related trial.
White was subpoenaed in May and June 2001 to appear as a witness in a criminal bribery trial. He said he chose not to appear because he didn’t think he had any relevant testimony to give.
The case involved lawyer Thomas Miller, who was accused of trying to buy a copy of the ransom note found in the house. Miller was acquitted.
White refuses to talk to reporters. And several people in law enforcement and the media have wondered aloud why a man obsessed with punishing news outlets for publicizing his name keeps himself in the spotlight.
Travis Henry can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 326, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.