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10/28/2003

Ramsey housekeeper wants Supreme Court to hear case

The Associated Press

DENVER — The attorney for JonBenet Ramsey’s former nanny has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on Colorado’s grand jury secrecy law.

New York attorney Darnay Hoffman on Monday filed a brief that asks the high court to overrule the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that the grand jury secrecy law prevents Linda Hoffmann-Pugh from using her testimony in a book.

“The Death of an Innocent” is scheduled to be published this spring.

A district court in Denver agreed that the secrecy rules violated Hoffmann-Pugh’s free speech rights by requiring her to remain silent even after the grand jury ended its term without issuing an indictment or report.

The Boulder County district attorney filed the appeal with the 10th Circuit, and a three-judge panel overturned the lower court ruling in August.

Hoffmann-Pugh worked for John and Patsy Ramsey when JonBenet was found dead in the basement of their Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996.

Her attorney initially said the book would be published with 32 blank pages of where the testimony would have been printed. But the brief said the author fears contempt charges if she includes the testimony.

“Linda Hoffmann-Pugh simply wants to disseminate her own knowledge about the facts of the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, and to relate an account of her personal experiences, without being subjected to criminal prosecution,” the brief states.

Boulder District Attorney Mary Keenan, named on the petition, would not comment Monday because she had not seen a copy of the brief yet, a spokesman said.

The Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case.