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Forum Name: Ramsey evidence
Topic ID: 60
Message ID: 8
#8, RE: Mark Beckner's deposition
Posted by jameson on Apr-10-03 at 05:00 PM
In response to message #7
19 MR. WOOD: Here is the point. One of the

20 issues in this case is whether or not Chris Wolf to

21 this day was properly and thoroughly investigated by

22 the Boulder Police Department.

23 And one of the issues in this case is

24 whether you understand that this lawsuit involves

25 more than just the allegations of libel. The heart


1 of the allegations are based on the contention of

2 Chris Wolf that Patsy Ramsey killed JonBent. That's

3 part of the case as it relates to Chris Wolf.

4 We believe there is a serious issue that

5 still exists to this day about whether or not Chris

6 Wolf based on a thorough investigation should have

7 been excluded as being involved in the crime.

8 Now, one of the areas that I'm trying to

9 go into is whether or not when he was uncooperative

10 in January of 1997, whether or not there was any

11 efforts made to put pressure on him publicly in an

12 effort to get him to cooperate.

13 MR. MILLER: Well, ask that question.

14 Q (BY MR. WOOD) Do you understand that

15 question?

16 A Repeat it --

17 Q Sure. I want to know whether or not any

18 efforts were made in 1997 through the media, use of

19 the media, to bring pressure on Chris Wolf publicly

20 in an effort to get him to cooperate with the

21 investigation.

22 A I can't answer prior to October of '97.

23 Q You weren't --

24 A After October '97, no.

25 Q Was there a plan in effect for that to be


1 done for a particular individual or possibly any

2 individuals who were under suspicion?

3 MR. MILLER: I think that that's outside

4 the purview of this deposition.

5 MR. WOOD: Well, I think I'm entitled to

6 know whether or not Steven Pitt and Bill Hagamaier

7 and Mark Beckner and others, not you, you weren't

8 there at the time, Eller, whether or not they had a

9 strategy and a plan to use the media to bring

10 pressure on individuals under suspicion in an effort

11 to get them to cooperate. And I also have evidence

12 that it was undertaken in an effort to get

13 individuals to potentially confess.

14 MR. MILLER: Well, he's answered --

15 MR. WOOD: And I think the issue -- I

16 think the issue of whether or not that existed and

17 then the secondary question being, if it did, was it

18 utilized with respect to a known uncooperative person

19 under suspicion, Chris Wolf, is absolutely relevant

20 and I'm entitled to an answer to it.

21 MR. MILLER: He's answered that as to

22 Chris Wolf.

23 MR. WOOD: I'm asking him whether he was

24 aware of the fact that that type of plan existed in

25 1997.


1 MR. MILLER: Let me talk to him a minute.

2 VIDEO TECHNICIAN: We're off the record at

3 approximately 10:55 a.m.

4 (Recess taken from 10:55 a.m. to 11:02

5 a.m.)

6 VIDEO TECHNICIAN: We're on the record at

7 approximately 11:02 a.m.

8 MR. WOOD: Let me say, Bob, to you, so

9 that you understand. I mean, I'm trying to walk a

10 line that is difficult because we're defending John

11 and Patsy Ramsey in a civil charge of murder. I

12 understand there is an ongoing investigation, at

13 least one described as an ongoing investigation, I

14 guess I would say an open investigation.

15 That's why I tried to explain to you why I

16 think this clearly relates to Chris Wolf and it's not

17 just pulled out of the air to talk about other

18 people, even though it might in fact relate to other

19 individuals, including John and Patsy. So I want you

20 to understand, I'm not trying to push the Chief or

21 you here beyond the limits and that's why I tried to

22 explain it. But I think you, and I hope you would,

23 appreciate the difficult task that we have.

24 And we -- I agreed to that request by you

25 because I wanted to try to get the relevant questions


1 as we perceived them that would relate to the

2 difficult case of defending the Wolf matter out to

3 perhaps in a way that avoids having to fight with you

4 all now about going further, which ultimately is

5 still an issue in the case if we don't survive

6 getting out of the case on summary judgment.

7 MR. MILLER: Let me just say I appreciate

8 what you say. It's difficult for you, it's also

9 difficult for us. Because as you point out, there is

10 an ongoing investigation, not just an open case.

11 There is an active, ongoing criminal investigation.

12 And I think where we are on this line of

13 questioning is that you're impinging on that ongoing

14 investigation. He has answered the question with

15 specific reference to Chris Wolf and that's, I think,

16 the line that we seek to draw here. And so I have

17 advised the Chief that I do think that as it relates

18 to everybody else in the world, including the

19 Ramseys, does impinge on an ongoing investigation

20 and, therefore, I have advised him that it should be

21 privileged and he should not answer it.

22 MR. WOOD: Okay. I don't want to be

23 disrespectful to that instruction. I assume you are

24 taking a law enforcement statement privilege?

25 MR. MILLER: Yes.


1 MR. WOOD: I do want to go through some

2 areas that I think might be helpful to the court if

3 we need to go into that issue so that the court will

4 understand the basis for my asking the question.

5 Q (BY MR. WOOD) You are familiar, are you

6 not, Chief Beckner, with press releases issued by the

7 City of Boulder as it pertains to the Ramsey

8 investigation?

9 A Yes.

10 Q Have you had -- I'm sure when you took on

11 the matter in October of 1997 you familiarized

12 yourself with the public statements made by the

13 police department and the city about the case?

14 A Actually I did not.

15 Q Let me ask you to take a look at the

16 release of the December 27th, 1996 update on the

17 homicide investigation?

18 MR. MILLER: Do you want to mark that?

19 MR. WOOD: We can. It's the only copy. I

20 didn't lug extra copies. We can make a copy of it if

21 we can. We'll mark it and then we'll copy it later.

22 Why don't we mark it as Exhibit 4.

23 MR. MILLER: Why don't we just have a copy

24 made.

25 MR. WOOD: Here, we've got two others


1 here.

2 MR. MILLER: Here, let's get them all,

3 make two or three of them.

4 VIDEO TECHNICIAN: Do you want to go off?

5 MR. WOOD: Let me see. I'll switch gears,

6 let's stay on if that's okay and I will move on to

7 something else real quick.

8 Q (BY MR. WOOD) Don Foster, do you agree

9 that ultimately the Boulder Police Department learned

10 information about Don Foster that led to Foster being

11 discredited as a credible witness on the issue of

12 linguistic analysis in the Ramsey case?

13 THE DEPONENT: Counsel?

14 MR. MILLER: How is this relating now?

15 MR. WOOD: Bob, he's testified that Don

16 Foster did a linguistic analysis on Chris Wolf. He's

17 testified that that analysis was favorable for Wolf

18 in that it indicated that he did not find sufficient

19 similarities to conclude that Wolf was the author of

20 the note.

21 It seems to me that I'm entitled to find

22 out about Mr. Foster and his credibility with the

23 Boulder Police Department --

24 MR. MILLER: How does that relate?

25 MR. WOOD: It does relate.


1 MR. MILLER: Well, as specifically

2 related?

3 MR. WOOD: I don't think you can embrace

4 Don Foster with respect to his findings about Chris

5 Wolf. On the other hand you know that he has been

6 subsequently discredited, and I think that goes to

7 what weight the Boulder Police Department and others

8 might give to any statements about Don Foster finding

9 in his analysis that Chris Wolf was not the author of

10 the note.

11 MR. MILLER: I don't want to tell you how

12 to ask the question but isn't the appropriate

13 question is there anything that has come to light

14 subsequently to discredit Don Foster as it relates to

15 his opinion on Chris Wolf?

16 MR. WOOD: I think the question doesn't

17 have to be limited to Chris Wolf. If he's

18 discredited as a linguistic analysis as to one

19 person, I think that raises, certainly should raise,

20 concerns about being discredited as to others.

21 MR. MILLER: Possibly and possibly not.

22 If you go to others, that's where we're having the

23 same problem as we had with your last line of

24 questioning.

25 MR. WOOD: Well, again, I just


1 respectfully disagree. I think the question of

2 whether the department --

3 MR. MILLER: Perhaps we should have gone

4 to the court in the beginning, then we would have had

5 the contours laid.

6 MR. WOOD: I did not know that Don Foster

7 did a linguistic analysis on Chris Wolf's writings.

8 I am told that today. So that raises in my mind the

9 question of whether the Chief will acknowledge what I

10 think is at least pretty common knowledge and so it

11 doesn't seem to me to be a matter of privilege here

12 at this point. That there was information submitted

13 to the Boulder Police Department that it learned

14 about subsequent to the time of the Foster analysis

15 of Wolf's writings that discredited Foster as a

16 linguistic analyst. That's my question.

17 MR. MILLER: Well, I -- what do you want?

18 Do you want to talk about it? Can I suggest you ask

19 the question specifically related to Chris Wolf and

20 whether or not what he has learned later has any

21 impact on his weight that he attaches to his opinion?

22 MR. WOOD: I'll do that but I still think

23 I have to go into the other area in order to try to

24 figure out what significance, if any, to give the

25 answer. But let's go back and I'll do it your way


1 first.

2 Q (BY MR. WOOD) Subsequent to the time that

3 Don Foster completed his analysis of Chris Wolf's

4 writings from a linguistic standpoint, did the

5 Boulder Police Department obtain information about

6 Don Foster that led the department to raise concerns

7 about Foster's credibility with respect to his

8 reports, including the report on Chris Wolf?

9 A Yes.

10 Q Tell me what information the department

11 learned about Foster that led to that position.

12 A He had written a letter to Patsy Ramsey

13 prior to his involvement in the case where he

14 indicated to her that he did not believe she was

15 involved in the case.

16 Q And so the weight that you might have

17 otherwise given to his report on Chris Wolf was

18 really undermined in its entirety by virtue of the

19 subsequent information you learned about Foster?

20 A Not in its entirety.

21 Q But significantly?

22 A Well, I don't know; I don't know whether

23 that's accurate or not. There certainly were some

24 problems raised.

25 Q But how could it not be significant,


1 Chief? The man is -- you've seen the three-page

2 letter. He has staked his career and reputation that

3 Patsy Ramsey didn't write the notes, she is

4 absolutely, unequivocally innocent and that he didn't

5 make those statements without being right and he

6 didn't reveal that information to the Boulder Police

7 Department before you all hired him and paid him

8 taxpayer money, and then he came up with an analysis

9 that said that it was impossible for anyone else to

10 have written the note except for Patsy Ramsey.

11 That contradiction and concealment has to

12 be significant enough that any report he submitted on

13 any other person could not be relied upon by the

14 department because you knew that he would be

15 subjected to having his credibility destroyed; isn't

16 that a fair statement?

17 A That's fair.

18 Q Okay. Let me go back and we'll get these

19 marked.

20 MR. WOOD: We have a two-minute warning.

21 Do you need to change the tape?

22 VIDEO TECHNICIAN: Do you want to do it

23 now?

24 MR. WOOD: Yeah, why don't you do it now.

25 And we will mark these 3, 4 and 5 and the Chief can


1 be looking at them.

2 VIDEO TECHNICIAN: This concludes tape

3 number one, to be followed by tape number two. We're

4 off the record at approximately 11:12 a.m.

5 (Recess taken from 11:12 a.m. to 11:15

6 a.m.)

7 (Exhibits 4 through 6 were marked.)

8 VIDEO TECHNICIAN: This begins tape number

9 two. We're on the record at approximately 11:15

10 a.m.

11 Q (BY MR. WOOD) Chief Beckner, while we

12 were off the record, did you have an opportunity to

13 review the documents that have been identified for

14 purposes of this deposition as Exhibits 4, 5 and 6?

15 A Yes.

16 Q Do those documents appear to you, sir, to

17 be true and correct copies of Boulder -- the City of

18 Boulder press releases dated chronologically,

19 December 27, December 28, December 29, 1996?

20 A As taken off the website, yes.

21 Q December the 27th, 1996, next to the last

22 paragraph it states "Commander Eller added, quote,

23 The family has been cooperative and our investigation

24 is continuing." Stopping there, do you have any

25 knowledge, first or secondhand or otherwise, that


1 would indicate that that statement by Commander Eller

2 was inaccurate?

3 A On December 27th?

4 Q Yes. As of the time that it was made.

5 A Probably not.

6 Q Looking at Exhibit Number -- and that was

7 Exhibit Number 4.

8 A Yes.

9 Q Looking at Exhibit Number 5, next to the

10 last paragraph, the last sentence of that paragraph

11 "The family is cooperating with the investigation

12 which is ongoing." As of December 28th, 1996, have

13 you ever been made aware of any information that

14 would indicate that that statement was inaccurate as

15 of the time that it was issued by the Boulder

16 authorities?

17 A I don't know what time the press release

18 was issued but I know that evening there was a

19 request for interviews.

20 Q It looks like it was released immediately

21 December 28th. But we don't have the time of day.

22 A Right, right.

23 Q So let's look at --

24 A Probably when this was released, it

25 probably --


1 Q Was accurate?

2 A Would have been accurate, yes.

3 Q And then the next day, December the 29th,

4 1996, second paragraph, Exhibit Number 6 "The family

5 continues to cooperate with the police investigation,

6 although police have not yet conducted interviews

7 with the father and mother. They have been in no

8 condition to be interviewed up to this point. There

9 are a number of people, including some family

10 members, who have provided lengthy interviews and

11 non-testimonial evidence. The non-testimonial

12 evidence includes hair, blood and handwriting

13 samples." Have I read that correctly?

14 A Yes.

15 Q Based on your information, firsthand,

16 secondhand or otherwise, was that a true and accurate

17 statement as of the time it was released on

18 December 29, 1996?

19 A I would say not completely, no.

20 Q In what way was it not completely

21 accurate?

22 A It's my understanding that the family

23 would not come in that day for interviews and that

24 the detectives were advised by the attorneys at the

25 time that they would not be coming in.


1 Q But doesn't the department say that

2 itself, they, referring to the father and mother,

3 have been in no condition to be interviewed up to

4 this point?

5 A I can't speak for this press release.

6 This was before my involvement in the case. All I

7 can tell you -- you asked me do I have knowledge

8 beyond this press release that would indicate

9 otherwise. The answer is yes.

10 Q Your information being that they had been

11 asked to be interviewed?

12 A Um-hum.

13 Q But for whatever reason had declined at

14 that time?

15 A That's correct.

16 Q Do you believe from this press release

17 that they may have declined because, as the release

18 states, they were not in a condition to be

19 interviewed up to the point of time where this

20 release was issued to the public?

21 A Are you asking my opinion?

22 Q I'm asking what you know. I mean, I just

23 can't imagine why the City of Boulder would release

24 this?

25 A Well, I know what did not happen. And


1 that's all I can tell you is that they refused to be

2 interviewed. Now, if I know all the reasons why, I

3 can give you an opinion, if that's what you're

4 asking.

5 Q Well, what appears to be the reason why

6 according to the City of Boulder press release?

7 A Do you want an opinion?

8 Q Yeah, based on this press release, what

9 does it say?

10 A My opinion would be is that they are

11 giving the family the benefit of the doubt.

12 Q Okay. You have had police officers

13 24/seven, you're aware, with the family?

14 A Um-hum.

15 Q And not standing guard outside the door

16 but actually standing in their presence 24 hours a

17 day during this time period?

18 A I'm not sure that's accurate.

19 Q And recording comments, conversations and

20 events?

21 A I'm not sure that's accurate.

22 Q Do you know it to be inaccurate?

23 A I would have to go back and review the

24 reports again.

25 Q Do you have any factual basis as we sit


1 here today to dispute any representation made by the

2 family as of the 29th of December that they were

3 either physically or emotionally not in a condition

4 to be interviewed?

5 MR. MILLER: Let me just interject here a

6 minute. What does this got to do with Chris Wolf --

7 MR. WOOD: Trying to do --

8 MR. MILLER: -- as opposed to a defense of

9 the Ramseys?

10 MR. WOOD: I understand. I'm trying to

11 establish that there was a level of cooperation

12 acknowledged by the Boulder Police Department,

13 certainly not a level of uncooperation, with respect

14 to the Ramseys that was in stark contrast to the lack

15 of cooperation in January of 1997 by Chris Wolf. And

16 that is the basis in part on my inquiry into whether

17 there existed a plan to bring public pressure through

18 the media on an individual under suspicion to

19 effectuate cooperation.

20 That's the question I asked the Chief

21 because if there is or was such a plan, and I have

22 evidence that there was under oath, then I think that

23 I am entitled to know why it was applied to John and

24 Patsy Ramsey, who had evidenced cooperation and had

25 given non-testimonial evidence, but it was not


1 utilized against Chris Wolf, who had not been

2 cooperative and who had refused to give

3 non-testimonial evidence.

4 MR. MILLER: We've already been down that

5 road.

6 MR. WOOD: And respectfully I know we

7 have. And I told you I was going to go back and try

8 to make the record to be able to tell the court or

9 show the court why I wanted it and why I think it was

10 clearly within the scope of our agreement as a matter

11 relating to Chris Wolf.

12 MR. MILLER: Yeah, my understanding,

13 however, Lin, was in our phone conversation you said

14 you were going to show him various press releases,

15 ask him if it was true or not and that was the end of

16 it.