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12/10/2003

Man who’s active in Ramsey case denied file copies

By Amanda Arthur
The Daily Times-Call

BOULDER — A seemingly ever-present peripheral character in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case was under the spotlight again Monday when a judge denied one of three requests he’s filed this year.

Judge Morris W. Sandstead Jr. ruled that Fleet White cannot have unredacted copies of files kept by the District Attorney’s Office on a California woman who came forward in 2000 with allegations of ritualistic sexual abuse by a group that included people associated with the murder case, including Fleet White.

Since police said the woman’s claims were not connected to the Ramsey case and were discredited later that year, White has been on a rampage against the media, seeking criminal libel charges against outlets who told the woman’s story.

According to Deputy District Attorney Bill Nagel, White in September requested that the office turn over its complete files on the woman’s allegations after Nagel had provided him with copies of the files with portions blacked out.

“I redacted some words and phrases that I did not feel were appropriate for release,” Nagel said Tuesday.

White has been involved in the Ramsey case since Day 1. He was with John Ramsey when JonBenet’s body was found in the wine cellar of the Ramsey 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.

District Attorney Mary Keenan was the driving force behind having a special prosecutor look into White’s criminal libel complaints, which eventually turned up empty.

However, Keenan became the target of one of White’s legal actions this year when he filed a motion in April claiming Keenan failed to prosecute whoever leaked information from grand jury proceedings in the summer of 1999 that centered around JonBenet’s murder on Dec. 26, 1996.

In an affidavit, White refused to say what he believes that violation was, saying he was afraid he’d be releasing the grand jury information himself.

In that motion, White — along with his wife, Priscilla — demanded 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.

Nagel said Tuesday that the April motion was withdrawn by the Whites in May after he filed a motion to dismiss the case because of a lack of jurisdiction.

“They conceded that my motion was right, and that their motion was improperly filed,” Nagel said.

Judge Daniel Hale dismissed the case May 12.

A third motion that White filed in May focused on Jefferson County district attorney Dave Thomas, demanding that Thomas explain why he failed to prosecute Globe tabloid editor Craig Lewis, who was indicted by a grand jury for criminal extortion and commercial bribery.

The motion also demanded that Thomas explain why he failed to appoint a special prosecutor to the case, or investigate Lewis and Globe attorneys, whom White claims attempted to illegally influence the way Thomas handled the case.

Lewis was arrested in 1999 for trying to buy a copy of the JonBenet Ramsey ransom note. Bribery and extortion charges were dropped after the Globe agreed to donate $100,000 to a journalism ethics program at the University of Colorado.

Lewis was accused of offering a handwriting analyst $30,000 for a copy of the note JonBenet’s mother said she discovered before the 6-year-old’s body was found.

Pam Russell, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office said in May that her office had filed motions to have White’s demands dismissed.

According to Colorado court documents, that case was closed Sept. 23. Messages left for Russell seeking information about the outcome of that motion went unanswered Tuesday.

That motion isn’t the first conflict White has had with Jefferson County authorities.

In October 2001, White was sentenced to 30 days in jail by a Jefferson County judge 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 has refused to talk to reporters and could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Amanda Arthur can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 215, or by e-mail at aarthur@times-call.com.