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Special prosecutor to

by Amanda Arthur
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER A special prosecutor will decide if criminal libel charges will be filed against the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper in connection with the JonBenet Ramsey murder .

Former Ramsey friends Fleet and Priscilla White brought the allegations to Boulder police in response to an article published Feb. 25.

The couple alleges the paper printed libelous statements against them, made by an anonymous woman from California who suggested JonBenet was murdered as part of a child sex and pornography ring.

The woman claimed to know the Ramseys through association with the White family and said JonBenet's murder was similar to abuse she had suffered as a child.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Wise said Boulder police forwarded their 600-page investigation report to the D.A.'s office around noon on Thursday.

"I have read through enough of it to know that we need to get a special prosecutor on this because Alex (Hunter) is a potential witness in the case," he said.

Boulder County District Court Judge Roxanne Bailin is expected to appoint a special prosecutor today or Monday.

Wise said Hunter is a possible witness in the case because the article said Hunter had interviewed the woman concerning her suggestions.

Hunter and his office are required to withdraw from any case in which the D.A. or any of his prosecutors are involved as a witness, victim or otherwise, therefore disqualifying the office from prosecuting the potential case, Wise said.

Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said all police investigations into the potential case are finished and no other entities are being investigated at this time.

"All of our investigations were forwarded to the D.A.'s office. We are not sure whether it (the allegation) meets all the standards of criminal libel. That's for the courts to decide," he said.

The Whites filed the allegations against the paper Aug. 3.

The Whites are former neighbors of the Ramsey family and key witnesses in investigations into the yet-unsolved murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey .

Fleet White was with John Ramsey when he discovered his daughter's body in a basement room of the Ramseys ' Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996.

Lawyers representing the Daily Camera have responded to the complaint by citing freedom of the press under the First Amendment of the Constitution.