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Experts Say Ramseys Passed Lie Detector TestsAired May 24, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN ANCHOR: We now go to Atlanta, Georgia where Ramsey attorney Lynn Wood is holding a press conference. Let's listen:
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
LIN WOOD, RAMSEY ATTORNEY: ... misrepresentative and false reports about some of the questions that were asked that day and the answers that were given.
I'd first like to very briefly read to you an excerpt from the official transcript of that April 1997 interrogation, first of John Ramsey. And these excerpts will be provided to you at the conclusion of this news conference in a press packet that we have compiled for you.
Former Boulder Detective Steve Thomas stated: "John, one of the things, as you know better than anybody, at some point, if you're not involved in this, we've got to take you out of the bucket. And you've been in it for four months and you certainly know why you're in that bucket, is you're in the house, and I don't need to say anything more than that. But -- and I asked this question of Patsy and where it might come out as, but I'll ask it. And I'm not asking you to take one, but if you were to take a polygraph, how would you do?"
John Ramsey stated in April of 1997: "Well, what I've been told is that -- and I felt tremendous guilt after we lost JonBenet because I had not protected her, like I failed as a parent, and was told that that kind of emotion, you shouldn't take a lie detector test because you did not -- because you did have that guilt feeling. So I don't know about the test, but I did not kill my daughter, if that's what you want to ask me. She was the most precious thing to me in the world. So if the lie detector test is correct, and if it is done correct, I'd pass it 100 percent."
Steve Thomas went on to say, "Well, I'll ask you point blank: At some point in this, would you take a polygraph?"
John Ramsey answered, "I would be insulted if you asked me to take a polygraph test, frankly. I mean, if you haven't talked to enough people, we're telling you what kind of people we are. You guys -- I mean, I'll do whatever these guys recommend to me to do. We are not the kind of people you're trying to make us out to be." That's an official transcript of the questions that were asked of John Ramsey with respect to a lie detector or polygraph exam in April of 1997.
Patsy Ramsey was asked the following question: Patsy said, first: "What does it take to move past me?" Steve Thomas said, "Well, let me ask you this. And I know Pat Berk's (ph)" -- who was there -- Patsy's lawyer -- "going to jump all over me. And I know -- well, let me ask you this way. I'm not asking you to take one, but, hypothetically, if you took a polygraph, how would you do?"
Patsy Ramsey stated: "I'm telling you the truth. I would -- I mean, I don't know how those things work, but if they tell the truth, I'm telling the truth. I've never, ever given anybody a reason to think otherwise. I want to find out who did this, period."
Steve Thomas: "Does that mean, yes, you'd pass it?"
Patsy Ramsey said, "Yes, I would pass it. I'll take 10 of them. I don't care. You know, do whatever you want."
In June of 1998, John and Patsy Ramsey again spent time asking -- questions with Boulder authorities. They again voluntarily agreed to answer questions, this time for three full days each. Interrogation for three full days in June of 1998 and not one word was asked, not one mention was made about a polygraph examination. In fact, from April of 1997 when they were interrogated by former Detective Thomas, until April of 2000, three years later, not one mention, not one request, no discussion from the Boulder Police or the Boulder D.A. about a lie detector or polygraph examination.
In March of this year, John and Patsy had their book published, "The Death of Innocence," and they agreed to and undertook to, engaged in media interviews. And just as they had done back in April of 1997 and in June of 1998, they answered every question, and they answered every question honestly.
And in defiance of their lawyers' advice to avoid getting embroiled in the polygraph controversy, counseled against it, but relying on their innocence and their honesty, John and Patsy Ramsey said in response to the media inquiries -- if asked, would you take a polygraph examination? -- they said, yes. Their only condition was that it be fair, that it be conducted by an examiner independent from the Boulder Police Department and its investigation, and that the results, whatever they may be, would be made public.
So that there is no future misunderstanding about this fact, John and Patsy Ramsey, at the time they made those statements on national television, had never taken a polygraph examination. They did not even have a basic understanding of how such an examination worked.
On April the 11th of this year, I learned from several phone calls from the media that the Boulder Police Department had apparently issued a press release, that Chief Mark Beckner had issued a press statement saying that he was going to accept the Ramseys' offer and wanted them to appear by a date certain to submit themselves to an FBI polygraph examination.
I actually thought when I received the letter -- despite the fact that it was publicized before I got it, I actually thought that perhaps Chief Beckner would, with some discussions and negotiations, actually be willing to allow John and Patsy Ramsey to take a truly fair and independent polygraph examination. And I did at that time what had not been done before, but what I believe any good attorney would do, and I then arranged for John and Patsy to be privately tested.
And I retained the services of an individual who was represented to me to be competent, qualified and fair: a gentleman by the name of Jerry Toriello, T-O-R-I-E-L-L-O, of Clifton, New Jersey. Jerry Toriello is not able to be here today. He had a minor surgical procedure on Friday and is not able to travel until the end of this week. Otherwise, Jerry Toriello would have been here.
Consistent with their honesty and their candor, I will tell you that John and Patsy Ramsey, when tested by Jerry Toriello, ran what is referred to in the field as inconclusive charts, inconclusive examinations. Jerry Toriello recommended that John and Patsy be retested. But in making his recommendation, he made it clear to me that the appropriate protocol to be followed would be for someone else to perform the retest. He told me, if you want to go to the best in the country for a retest, you go to Dr. Edward I. Gelb in Los Angeles.
I check out Dr. Gelb. Dr. Gelb's reputation was as represented by Jerry Toriello. He was, from everyone that I spoke with, considered to be the foremost polygraph examiner in the country: over 30,000 polygraph examinations conducted, former president of the American Polygraph Association, performs polygraph examinations on a regular basis for five law enforcement agencies in California, a man that was represented to me as one that could not be bought, that could not be fooled, a man of integrity, a man of ethics, one of the, if not the most qualified polygraphic examiners in the United States.
I discussed Dr. Gelb with John and Patsy Ramsey, and said this, apparently, is the person that we should try to get to do the re-test, and John and Patsy said no, that if Dr. Gelb was as represented, if he was the best, and if he was fair, that they wanted me to go directly to Chief Mark Beckner and offer to take the test from Dr. Gelb. I did that having never spoken to Edward Gelb.
I called Mark Beckner, and I said: John and Patsy Ramsey will take the test from Ed Gelb of Los Angeles, California. We made the offer fully aware of the fact that the test results from Dr. Gelb would be made public and, as part of the process Dr. Gelb would be fully aware of, and it would also be public that John and Patsy had run inconclusive tests from Jerry Toriello.
Within a matter of a few short hours, Mark Beckner called me back and rejected the offer of Dr. Gelb without explanation. For the first time, I then called Dr. Gelb, told him what I had done, in offering his name, asked for his permission to use his name if I was asked who I has offered, and asked him if he would consider doing a private retest. He told me he did not want to discuss a private retest, that he would prefer to wait a period of time to see if Chief Beckner might learn of his reputation and standing and perhaps reconsider and ask him to do to test.
I waited approximately one week. With each passing day, it became more clear that Mark Beckner was not going to reconsider. I called Dr. Gelb and asked if, in fact, he would be retained by me to perform the polygraph examinations. I also upon, his agreement, retained Cleve Baxter from San Diego, California. I had been told that if you want the best quality control review of a polygraph examination in the United States call Cleve Baxter. Cleve Baxter is the originator of the Baxter Zone Comparison Technique, and the originator of the numerical scoring system for polygraph examinations, both of which are now standard protocol in the field of polygraphy. This is the gentleman thought to be, literally, the father of the modern polygraph testing techniques, Cleve Baxter. He agreed to do to quality control of Dr. Gelb's test.
John and Patsy Ramsey made a commitment to the public. They made a public commitment to take a fair and independent polygraph examination and to make the results public. They had hoped and we tried to get the Boulder Police Department to participate in a truly fair and independent examination.
We offered for the examination to be conducted by a non-FBI examiner with FBI oversight of the entire process. That offer was rejected. We offered to have the FBI polygraph group come up with a list of non-FBI polygraph examiners that they felt were reliable, qualified, and trustworthy, and we would pick one of those examiners, and we would take the test, and that offer was rejected.
My belief has been from very early on in this process that Boulder Police Department never intended to allow John and Patsy Ramsey to take a truly fair and independent polygraph examination in which they would participate. And my belief was confirmed May 16, when Mark Beckner rejected the offer of the American Polygraph Association to provide an examiner and a test that would be fair to both sides.
John and Patsy Ramsey are here today to honor their commitment. I would now like to ask Dr. Gelb to address for you the test that was performed by him and the results of those tests -- Dr. Gelb.
ED GELB, POLYGRAPH EXPERT: Thank you, Lin. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
I think, in the interest of time, my reading to you the result report of the polygraph examinations may be the most succinct way to provide you with the information that I gleaned from all of the examinations that I conducted with the Ramseys. So I think that I will actually read the report to you. We'll have time for questions and answers, but I think this will give you a basic understanding of the process.
This is a report that was directed to L. Lin Wood, the attorney in this matter. "Psychophysiological detection of deception examinations of John and Patsy Ramsey. This is summary report covering a series of examinations of John and Patsy Ramsey, conducted between May 6 and May 17 of the year 2000. The examinations were conducted in Atlanta, Georgia and Los Angeles, California. The issues under consideration dealt with the allegation that the Ramseys were involved in the murder of their daughter, JonBenet, who was found dead in the Ramsey home in Boulder, Colorado, December 26, 1996. Case information was provided by attorney L. Lin Wood and, through numerous reports of the murder in print.
"During extensive pre-test interviews, both John and Patsy Ramsey denied involvement in JonBenet's murder. These examinations were requested by the Ramseys who agreed that the results of the examinations could be given to the authorities prior to their knowing the outcome themselves.
"The equipment utilized, an axiton (ph) computerized polygraph calibrated to factory specifications were used for the five series of examinations.
"Technique, a zone comparison technique was utilized for all of the examinations with three polygrams being collected for each of the five series conducted. The zone comparison technique has been validated in numerous studies conducted for United States governmental agencies. The resultant polygrams were numerically scored on a 7- position scale by the primary examiner Edward I. Gelb, Ph.D, and then subjected to quality control and blind scoring by Cleve Baxter, the originator of the numerical scoring system.
"John Ramseys examinations: Two series of single-issue examinations were conducted with John Ramsey. In a single issue examination all of the relevant questions are necessarily included in one and are designed to mean the same thing; hence, it is a single- issue examinations.
"The first examination was conducted to determine if he had direct involvement in the murder. In other words, whether John inflicted the injuries that caused the death of JonBenet.
"The second examination was conducted to determine whether John knew who killed JonBenet.
"The questions asked during the two single-issue examinations follow with John Ramsey's answers.
"Series one, John Ramsey. Question 1: Did you inflict any of the injuries that caused the death of JonBenet. Answer: no.
"2. Regarding JonBenet, did you inflict any of the injuries that caused her death. Answer: No.
"3. Were those injuries that resulted in JonBenet's death inflicted by you? Answer: No.
"Conclusion: Based on the numerical scoring of the examination in this series, John Ramsey was telling the truth when he denied inflicting the injuries that caused the death of his daughter, JonBenet. "Series 2, John Ramsey, Question 1. Do you know for sure who killed JonBenet? Answer: No.
"Regarding JonBenet, do you know for sure who killed her? Answer: No.
"Are you concealing the identity of the person who killed JonBenet? Answer: No.
"Conclusion: Based on the numerical scoring of the examinations in this series, John Ramsey was telling the truth when he denied knowing who killed JonBenet.
"Patsy Ramsey's examinations. The first polygraph examination was unusable due to distortions. Appropriate cautions were suggested to eliminate the artifacts so that conclusive results could be obtained. Three series of single-issue examinations were conducted with Patsy Ramsey. The first examination was conducted to determine if Patsy Ramsey had direct involvement in the murder. In other words, whether Patsy inflected the injuries that caused the death of JonBenet. The second examination was conducted to determine whether Patsy knew who killed JonBenet. The third examination was conducted to determine if Patsy wrote the ransom note that was found at the scene.
"The questions asked during the three single-issue examinations follow with Patsy Ramsey's answer.
"Series one, Patsy Ramsey: Did you inflict any of the injuries that caused the death of JonBenet? Answer: No."
"Regarding JonBenet, did you inflict any of the injuries that caused her death. Answer: No.
"Were those injuries that resulted in JonBenet's death inflicted by you? Answer: No.
"Conclusion: Based on the numerical scoring of the examinations in this series, Patsy Ramsey was telling the truth when she denied inflicting the injuries that caused the death of his daughter, JonBenet.
"Series two, Patsy Ramsey. Do you know for who inflicted the injuries that caused the death of JonBenet? Answer: No.
"Regarding JonBenet, do you know for sure who killed her? Answer: No.
"Are you concealing the identity of the person who killed JonBenet? Answer: No.
"Conclusion: Based on the numerical scoring of the examinations in this series, Patsy Ramsey was telling the truth when she denied knowing who killed JonBenet.
"Series 3, Patsy Ramsey: Did you write the ransom note that was found in your house? Answer: No.
"Question 2: Regarding the ransom note, did you write it? Answer: No."
"Question 3: Is that your hand-writing on the ransom note found in your house? Answer: No."
"Conclusion: Based on the numerical scoring of the examinations in this series, Patsy Ramsey was telling the truth when she denied writing the JonBenet ransom note.
"Quality control: A separate report covering the quality control of these examinations has been written by Cleve Baxter, who is one of the world's foremost experts in the field of detection of deception and the person who originated numerical scoring. Baxter's independent analysis corroborated the findings of the undersigned primary examiner.
"Final conclusion: Based on extensive polygraph examination, neither John nor Patsy Ramsey were attempting deception when they gave the indicated answers to the relative questions."
I will now turn this over to Cleve Baxter, who will discuss his quality control.
CLEVE BAXTER: All, right my name is Cleve Baxter. I have been working with the polygraph for 52 years. They say, how do you become an expert in the field? I say, you just live longer and the rest of them die off.
In 1948, I was trained by the late Leonard Keeler, who is a famous person in the background of polygraph. And 1949, I started the Central Intelligence Agency polygraph section. In 1962 -- which is, by the way is still in existence, that section. In 1962, I started the Baxter School of Lie Detection. And I have been director for 156 basic polygraph courses. And with 154 of these, I was also the chief instructor. The difference of the two, were two classes were taught in Spanish and I couldn't be chief instructor.
In 1960, I developed the Baxter Zone Comparison polygraph technique and also introduced, as already has been mentioned, the first system for the numerical evaluation of polygraph charts, which is still in use.
Now, most of this has already been covered. The results down- the-line, I am not going to repeat that because it is the same as yours.
Now the quality control of polygraph examinations, a lot is dependent upon the adequacy of your case information, the strength of the issue concerned, and the distinctness of the issue of the issue concerned, in order to try to eliminate inconclusive polygraph examination results.
The familiarity with the technique is not a factor, and the most a person may do is produce distortions on questions we call comparison questions that are compared against the relevant questions.
In the zone comparison technique, we are not satisfied at all with the lack of reaction on a relevant question unless we see an accompanying reaction to the right or left of that question to show the person's capability of reactions at that very time.
Now, in this particular case, the case information was adequate, the strength of the issue was really severe. The distinctness of the issue also was very very good. So this was a very acceptable case for polygraph testing.
Now, I can only mention in conclusion. I could not fool the polygraph examination myself if a serious issue were involved. The most I could do is possibly create some kind of a apparent reaction on the comparison questions, but I could not eliminate the legitimate reaction on the relevant questions, and I have been in the field a long time.
So I also, as far as the conclusion is concerned, after careful review. By the way, in reviewing these charts, I just don't accept the identity of the charts, not any kind of reflection with Edward Gelb, but I listen to the tape recording or videotape recording and I recreate, through a moving chart paper, a replica of the timing of each of the questions concerned, which varies. And then I take that and hold it up against the chart that has been submitted to me to be sure that I can identify that as being the actual chart.
So I listened to everyone -- every minute of these polygraph examinations through videotape or through audio tape. And I really, without any reservation whatsoever, agree with the conclusions that have been reached by the original examiner.
WOOD: Let me add one last thing that today I have faxed to Alex Hunter, the Boulder district attorney, and to Mark Beckner, the chief of police for the city of Boulder, a letter that states very clearly that John and Patsy Ramsey have taken these tests from Dr. Gelb with quality control by Mr. Baxter.
I have offered to wave any attorney privilege and allow the Boulder police, the Boulder district attorney, or their associates at the FBI to interview Dr. Gelb and Mr. Baxter so that they can answer any and all questions they may have with respect to this test. And we will be waiting to see what response we get.
If any of you have questions now, I would ask that you would please identify yourself, if you have a question directed to one of the individuals, please so state, and we'll try to answer as many as we can within a fairly limited period of time.
PATSY RAMSEY: I feel great. It is something that I have known the answers to for three years. The trust is the truth and it doesn't change. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)
P. RAMSEY: I think that's unfortunate. I really wish we would stop playing games and I wish they open their eyes and their minds and their hearts and know that we did not kill our daughter and that a killer walks the streets of in this country, and we need to be look for that person.
QUESTION: Is there ever a time -- ever a time despite the fact that you believe that the FBI is, in effect, working with the Boulder police, let's do this with the FBI, so at least we'll have the seal of approval so Commander Beckner can't say anything? Because right now, at this point, Commander Beckner is going to say: We don't accept these results.
WOOD: Well, let me point out a couple of things, in fairness, because I dealt with this issue of the FBI for John and Patsy. Number one, the only condition, other than public disclosure, was a fair test that is conducted by an examiner independent of the Boulder Police Department.
Now, I spoke with the FBI agents in Denver and the FBI polygraph examiner in Denver, who has conducted polygraph examinations for the Boulder police in connection with this very investigation. I asked those individuals: Tell me your protocol. The first thing that happens when you walk in the door, you sit down with a stranger and you are read your Miranda Rights, intimidation tactic number one.
You then are not allowed to know in advance whether you will take a zone comparison test or another type of technique where evidence connecting questions are asked; and it's extremely difficult to prove truthful. You are then subjected to not knowing whether you are videotaped or audiotaped, even if you want it for quality control. You are not told what type of machine, computer or analogue, will be used. And you are going in the door, told that if there are any reactions, you will be subjected to an FBI interrogation that could last for hours.
Now, when John and Patsy Ramsey walk into a room and close the door and sit down beside a stranger and get themselves hooked up to all these various contraptions in this test; I think that a fair- minded person would agree that they are entitled to walk in there and not have the slightest concern over whether that examiner will be fair to them. The FBI has worked closely with the Boulder police department since this matter started three years ago. They are not independent, but remember, we offered this test with FBI oversight, they refused. Mark Beckner can now complain that law enforcement was not involved. But Mark Beckner chose not to have law enforcement involved when he rejected the offer to have FBI oversight. We will give him another chance, when he can allow the FBI to come in and look at the work of the two foremost polygraph examiners in the country, and in that way, provide law enforcement, peer review or oversight.
QUESTION: ... the polygraph test administered is more accurate than the test FBI administered? WOOD: I'll let Ed Gelb address that in terms of whether you can have a more accurate test. What I know is that going in the door, John and Patsy Ramsey knew that they would be treated fairly.
Now let's clear up another misconception. It's not a matter of John and Patsy not trusting the FBI, John and Patsy do not trust the Boulder police department. They have seen their detectives go on national television and first blame John, and then another one go on national television to sell a book and then blame Patsy.
They have been subjected to the leaks, they have been subjected to the lies, they have been subjected to having their child's grave monitored with video cameras and microphones and discussions with FBI agents about breaking into their home in Atlanta and planting a bug. They do not trust the Boulder police department and unfortunately any law enforcement agency that has worked with the Boulder police department in this investigation, is tainted by the incompetence and the mishandling given this case by the Boulder police department.
J. RAMSEY: Well, we shouldn't have to prove our innocence. The Constitution was drafted with that very cleverly put into it, that you're innocent until proven guilty. But nevertheless, we've been forced through leaks, innuendoes and allegations to try to defend ourselves in the court of public opinion.
We have, as Lin said, not one ounce of trust in the Boulder police, and that's sad, I wish that we did. We gave them our trust when this horrible thing happened and they lost it by their actions that took place in the beginning, and they continue even through today. That is a difficult predicament, we want the killer of our daughter found. The only thing we know to do now is to appeal to the public and say look: We have done everything we can, that we know we can do, you need to realize there's a killer of children that walks among us, it's not Patsy, and it's not I. Let's get on with finding the killer. That is our single and only objective in doing any of this.
WOOD: Let me say something here, real quick. You just made a point that I think proves the point. Apparently Mark Beckner, if the news reports are accurate this morning, yesterday had his PR spokesperson announce that the test results today were meaningless. He did not know what the results were. He did not know who the examiners were. He did not have one shred of information about the test results that he attacked yesterday.
So Mark Beckner proves the point. He is willing to jump to conclusions without even knowing the facts. This is the same thing he did early in this investigation with respect to John and Patsy. And he proved it again yesterday, that he is not willing to give them a fair and full opportunity to review the facts of this matter before he rushes to judgment.
WOOD: I'm going to let you speak to the experts on that -- Dr. Gelb.
GELB: Well, there are two things I'd like to cover here. One is when an examination is inconclusive and the government now calls that a "no opinion" examination, the examination is inconclusive. If we knew why it was inconclusive, it wouldn't be inconclusive. That's the simple answer to that. It was inconclusive, meaning, according to the government, no opinion.
There was a question posed about whether the FBI test would be accurate. That's not what's at issue here. What's at issue is the examination that I conducted which was properly conducted and which was accurate. If you look at this thing statistically. What are the chances that two separate individuals would take a series of five polygraph examinations and pass them all, and yet be lying. You're going to find that it's somewhere between four in a thousand and one in a trillion, depending upon the variables.
QUESTION: Dr. Gelb, does the FBI have a good reputation for doing polygraph tests?
QUESTION: ... polygraph tests, do they get to see the questions beforehand?
GELB: Refra -- Give me that again?
GELB: All of the questions are reviewed with you before the test. There are no trick questions, there are no hidden questions, because you want the subject to focus on that which they perceive the greatest threat to their immediate well-being. And let me tell you, if either of these people inflicted the injuries that caused the death of JonBenet, or knew who killed JonBenet, or Patsy wrote that note, they would certainly perceive those questions as the greatest threat to their immediate well-being and fail the test; they did not.
QUESTION: Mr. Wood said earlier you offered to have the Ramseys take these tests with his independent examiner under FBI scrutiny, or observation. What difference would that make to you if you were conducting the test?
GELB: Absolutely no difference, no difference, I would run the examination the way I ran it. You can look at the videotape of the examination and that's how a properly conducted polygraph examination is to be conducted. I don't care who is looking at that examination in real-time, in a video room, or who second-guesses the examination. It is what it is, a properly conducted examination. It wouldn't matter to me who.
QUESTION: I talked to you earlier on in the investigation about the Ramseys and the test. And you were concerned that you had not made contact about all the information at the time. Do you question or wonder why the Boulder authorities have not looked at your background, looked at the fact you are the president of this organization and have you do the test for them? GELB: That's not my province, that's not my area of expertise. I have nothing do with the Boulder police department. What I have to do with is a properly constructed examination that was administered to these people. I have nothing to do with those other issues or areas.
QUESTION: Did you conduct a drug test, a urinalysis test on John and Patsy Ramsey, prior to these examinations?
GELB: No, I did not, because, one, the drugs that you might be thinking of do not effect the type of examination that was herein conducted. We did what's called a zone comparison examination, this requires reactivity to certain questions and those questions are compared to other questions where you might have less reactivity. No drug that you can name or that I know of can selectively effect that type of examination.
In other words, if this was a guilty knowledge test, that would be a different issue. This is a zone comparison test. I don't know of a drug, and neither do you, that will selectively cause a suppression on certain questions and an elevation on other questions. And the FBI does not do drug screening before they run their polygraph examinations.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) was asked by the Ramsey team to do this polygraph. He insisted on a drug test. Lin Wood said, no.
WOOD: Please, tell me who this individual is.
QUESTION: I don't have his name.
WOOD: Well, let's get our facts right. Let's have the name of the person because I will tell you that I have asked two polygraph examiners to conduct tests on John and Patsy Ramsey: Jerry Toriella, who accepted, Ed Gelb, who accepted. I have never discussed, never discussed anyone else conducting this examination. I have never had anyone asked -- be asked and refused. I've never had anyone discuss with me that they wouldn't do it because of a drug test. That's an absolute, unadulterated falsehood. Let's put it to rest right now.
There was a requirement in Chief Beckner's letter to me to send to John and Patsy where he asked for a urine test to be performed with respect to the FBI polygraph. When I spoke with the FBI agents, I asked them specifically about that. They told me that was a requirement of the Boulder Police Department. They wanted it in the letter, that the FBI didn't want it, didn't need it. They didn't need any type of drug screening test because the exam itself, as Dr. Gelb has said, cannot be skewed by drugs. And if it is, the examiner would know it.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) the umbrella of suspicion that has been there. Where do we go now, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey? Now that you've taken this polygraph test, now that we've heard the results, what's next? People have said, why can't they move on with their live? Why don't they just continue to live life?
P. RAMSEY: As long as there is a killer at large who has murdered our child, our lives will never go on. I mean, that is just ridiculous.
J. RAMSEY: Someone killed this 6-year-old child. We know that and we want them captured.
P. RAMSEY: Ask Mark Beckner where we go next.
J. RAMSEY: We're not going to go on with our lives until that happens.
WOOD: One second.
QUESTION: Is there anything you could have done privately?
J. RAMSEY: Oh, yes.
P. RAMSEY: There's a lot going on privately. Yes, there is.
J. RAMSEY: Definitely. We're doing everything we can as private citizens to find the killer.
QUESTION: Is there anything you can share with us?
QUESTION: Have you hired investigators?
J. RAMSEY: Oh yes.
P. RAMSEY: Yes, we have.
J. RAMSEY: We've had investigators on this for 3 1/2 years.
J. RAMSEY: Who's that?
P. RAMSEY: Lou Smitt.
J. RAMSEY: Lou Smitt has offered to work with us but not for us, so he's been of great assistance to us. We have other investigators that are working on this. We're not going to be very public about it because this isn't -- these people work best when they're not known and they're -- that's the way they operate. But I can tell you they're working on it every day of the week.
QUESTION: Can give us a comment about the lawsuit that's been filed here in Atlanta, about someone who's named in your book as a suspect?
WOOD: We didn't name any suspects in the book. What they did do is they discussed in the book an individual named Chris Wolfe (ph), and they discussed information about him that was already in the public domain. That lawsuit is frivolous. It's filed for publicity purposes by a lawyer who has sued a number of different cases relating to JonBenet. We will address that in a court of law, but that case has gotten an undue and undeserved amount of publicity. It really is not worth the paper it's written on.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) there are some out there, possibly in the Boulder Police Department (UNINTELLIGIBLE), this news conference, the polygraph tests, is all a part of a purpose of which is to persuade or sway potential jurors in the future. How do you respond to that?
WOOD: Well, number one, I'm not in the business of persuading jurors by press conferences. The trial of any of the civil case will be probably years down the road. The purpose of this press conference is for John and Patsy to do exactly what they said they would do, to honor their commitment to take a fair and independent test and to make those results public.
But let me say something to you that I think people need to appreciate: These people have been on trial in the court of public opinion for over three years, but they have never been charged with a crime. A grand jury met for months and did not find the evidence sufficient to indict them. Yet the leaks and the lies have persisted, books written, television shows, movies, putting these people on trial every day, convicting them of a crime they did not commit every night.
So I want you to know that part of holding this press conference is for John and Patsy Ramsey to have their opportunity to let the public know their side of the story, to let the public know the truth. We're going to do it again in the future if we have to until we finally get an investigation that heads in the right direction.
QUESTION: Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey, a polygraph is sort of an unknown. What were you thinking as you went into this? You're walking in the door, you're beginning this process: Are you nervous? Are you concerned? What are you thinking during this time?
P. RAMSEY: It was nerve-wracking. I mean, I really didn't know what a polygraph test amounted to. And there's been so much hoopla over it, you know, basically our guilt or innocence or whatever was hanging on whatever happened in this room, you know? So that's pretty heavy.
What was I thinking? I had JonBenet's face in my mind from the moment I went into that room and I just kept saying, this is for you, honey, because we're going to find out who did this. And whatever I have to do, I will do until we find the person.
WOOD: Would have been my call. And my recommendation would have been, no, but I can't tell you what John and Patsy would have said about that recommendation.
But I want to make a point with respect to that. And I think we ought to all fairly ask the question: If they had failed the lie detector test, would you not agree there would have been a demand by the public to charge them because the cry of the public and the media would be, guilty? Shouldn't we, now that they've passed the test from the foremost polygraph examiners in the country, be equally fair and say that the results show innocence? QUESTION: It would seem that the question...
WOOD: I had promised to come back here. You've been trying hard for a question. I'm sorry.
QUESTION: I'm just wondering if the Ramseys have trust in the court of public opinion, that the things that you're saying might influence people? And could they make a difference?
J. RAMSEY: We've been overwhelmed by people that we don't know coming to us with cards, letters, e-mails, stopping us in the street, giving us hugs. You know, surprising that we've come through this experience realizing that there's a lot of good people in the world, and they care. They're silent, they're quiet. They don't go on national television, they don't write letters to the editor, but they're out there. So we are very heartened by the people that have supported us through all this. Happens every day.
J. RAMSEY: I hope so. I sincerely hope so.
P. RAMSEY: Everything we've done for three years we've hoped would make a difference. You know, I think this is a big thing. I hope it will make a difference. But we needed to make a difference in Mark Beckner and the Boulder Police. That's who really counts here.
QUESTION: Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey, is there a part of you that says, why didn't we do this two or three years ago? That would have helped retrain the focus of the investigation (OFF-MIKE)?
P. RAMSEY: Oh yes.
J. RAMSEY: Sure, absolutely. Sure.
QUESTION: Why didn't that happen?
J. RAMSEY: It never occurred to us. I mean, we -- throughout all this, we have never really focused on trying to prove our innocence. We've been focusing on trying to find the killer and how do we get the police to do the rest of the investigation? It should be done beyond just the family. It's always seemed fruitless to try to prove our innocence because that's not the objective. The objective is to find the killer.
WOOD: Whoa, whoa, whoa.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) the focus was on you folks. I mean, it was clear all across the United States the focus was on you folks. How can you say you had no idea that the focus might be on you?
P. RAMSEY: I didn't say that. You totally misunderstood me. Ask the question again.
J. RAMSEY: No, that's not what I said. I said we were not focused on trying to prove our innocence. We knew we were the only targets of this investigation, and that was tragically wrong.
QUESTION: Since you knew that, why did you not (OFF-MIKE)?
J. RAMSEY: That's a silly question.
WOOD: There was never a request made. When you look at the press packet, read the questions of Steve Thomas. Now, they know how to write a letter because they wrote one to me and said, we would like for your clients to submit to a polygraph investigation conducted at the FBI headquarters in Atlanta by a date certain. No such letter was ever sent. No formal...
WOOD: Who was not interested?
QUESTION: The Boulder Police.
WOOD: I think you ought to ask Mark Beckner why there was never a formal request made until April of 19 -- April of 2000 for a polygraph test. I think it was made at that time because Mark Beckner was feeling the heat from the media in Colorado demanding that they ask for the test because John and Patsy said they'd take it. I don't think Mark Beckner puts any great stock in polygraph examinations.
QUESTION: Didn't they claim they couldn't interview them early on, though?
WOOD: You know, if you take the time to go back and look at the facts of this case, you will find that John and Patsy Ramsey spent hours being interviewed by the Boulder Police and the district attorney's office. And keep in mind, they didn't have to answer one question -- not one question.
WOOD: No one's ever taken a polygraph test with respect to the family, that I'm aware of, except for John and Patsy.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) if I may ask, why would you not just submit to an FBI-given polygraph test?
WOOD: Well, I said John and Patsy Ramsey didn't necessarily themselves not trust the FBI. I said four years ago that I don't trust the FBI because I learned four years ago up close and personal how they tried to deceive and trick and fool an innocent man named Richard Jewell. And I would not let Richard Jewell take an FBI polygraph test. Wayne Grant and I said very publicly on your air, Richard Jewell will not take an FBI polygraph test because we don't trust the FBI.
I haven't seen anything in the last four years, unfortunately, that has changed my mind about the FBI. But I will say this: I did not allow my own feelings from the Jewell case to interfere with John and Patsy's decision-making process. The issue that they addressed was simply this: Is the FBI, from an objective standpoint, an independent examiner, independent from the investigation? The answer is, no.
Now, the question should be asked of Mark Beckner and the Boulder Police Department, why are you unwilling to allow these people, with participation by the Boulder Police, to take a truly fair and independent exam? Do you know why he was not willing to endorse that exam? Because the exam would be taken by someone like Ed Gelb and they would pass, and then what would Mark Beckner say to you and the citizens of Colorado whose millions of dollars and emotions he has wasted over the past three and a half years going after the wrong people? That's why he would never agreed to it.
QUESTION: If he changes his position and agrees to do it with FBI oversight with Mr. Gelb, would the Ramseys agree to take another test?
WOOD: Why would you want them to do that? They've now taken five tests: two by John, three by Patsy from the nation's leading polygraph examiner whose ethics, integrity, experience and qualifications cannot be attacked or questioned. Those results have been peer-reviewed by another gentleman, top in the country, whose ethics and integrity and qualifications cannot be questioned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I give workshops to the FBI examiners.
WOOD: These people -- by the way, these people have taught at the FBI academy in Quantico and they've taught at the Department of Defense. My question would be: They've taken the test from the best. Why would you expect them now to go back and take an FBI test?
QUESTION: The potential might be that the questions were pretty soft. I mean, if the FBI were to give the test...
J. RAMSEY: I don't think so. What's next? What's next, a bed of coals you want us to walk across?
P. RAMSEY: It's on videotape. It is -- you know, they can review this.
GELB: Let's take the question or the statement these questions are soft. What would you ask?
QUESTION: Well, I'm not an FBI agent (OFF-MIKE).
GELB: Right, but what would you ask?
QUESTION: I think you asked the same question...
VAN SUSTEREN: We've been listening to a press conference coming out of Atlanta, Georgia. The headline in the Ramsey case is the Ramseys have two experts who say they have taken a polygraph test and they have passed it, that they were truthful.
They actually took two polygraph tests. The first one was done be a man named Jerry Toriella out of the state of New Jersey. It was inconclusive. They then hired a man, Dr. Edward Gelb, who took the test for them -- or who gave them the test, and the questions were essentially this: Did they commit the murder? They denied it and the experts said that was a truthful response. They were then asked if they have knowledge as to who committed the murder. Again, they both denied it and, again, the experts said that response was truthful.
Patsy Ramsey was asked an additional question, whether she wrote the ransom note. She denied that. Again, the expert says she was truthful. And there was a quality control done by a man named Cleve Baxter and he concluded that the tests given to the Ramseys were good tests, and he concluded that they, indeed, had answered correctly and truthfully in response to the polygraph test.
We're expecting a reaction from the Boulder Police Department sometime today. And of course CNN will bring that to you when we get it.
Roger, seems like the ball is now in the court of the Boulder Police. Ramseys have taken the test. They've passed it, according to their experts. Now what?
ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I don't think this really changes very much. Remember, the most important thing I think we can remember is that a grand jury investigated these people for a long, long period of time and there's no indictment and a lie detector test has never been admissible in court. So, you know, the fact that they've passed one really, perhaps, makes their side feel better, but it doesn't really add much one way or the other, and it's sure not going to have any influence on the police department.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, except that there's been incredible pressure on the Ramseys. A lot of people have assumed them guilty. They were never charged, never had a trial, and there's been this debate about whether or not they should take a polygraph examination or not. They said, we will take one, we just don't want the FBI to administer it. And the police department, which says they want to get to the bottom of this murder, apparently said no to their experts. They took it, they passed it, it now changes public opinion, and I think it puts a lot of pressure on that Boulder Police Department to explain what's wrong with the test and what they're doing to solve the crime.
COSSACK: Well, but the problem is this: I mean, I don't know if there's anything wrong with the test. The problem is, though, that a lie detector test, as you know, is just not admissible in court. So it's not the kind of thing where suddenly someone says, oh my goodness, they've passed the lie detector test so obviously they didn't do it. And on the other hand, if they had failed the lie detector test, you couldn't say, well, obviously they must be guilty. They're simply just not admissible in court. And the fact is that they took two lie detector tests, as you pointed out. One was inconclusive, and they went and found another operator and they passed that one. I just don't know what this adds, Greta. VAN SUSTEREN: Well, actually, I think the fact that they had an inclusive first and then they passed it doesn't hurt them at all. I mean, what the important part is that they passed it. Indeed, it may not be admissible in court, but it's certainly -- you know, if they -- these polygraph exams are generally quite good. They're quite telling whether or not someone's being deceitful. If only one of them had passed it, that might be significant.
VAN SUSTEREN: But they both passed it. These are direct question: Did you do it? Do you have knowledge who did it? And, Patsy, did you write the note?
COSSACK: No, I hear you.
VAN SUSTEREN: And they both passed it. I mean, these polygraph examiners are very experienced polygraph examiners.
COSSACK: Right. All right, but the fact is -- and we have to go -- is -- everything you say is correct, but they're still not admissible in court.
But we have to go, but we'll continue to monitor the situation, what is happening with the Ramseys. But I'm afraid that's all the time we have for today on our extended BURDEN OF PROOF. Thanks to our guests and thank you for watching.
For more on the Ramseys and on the United Airlines acquisitions of US Airways, stay tuned to "CNN TODAY" with Natalie Allen and Kyra Phillips.
VAN SUSTEREN: And we'll be back tomorrow with another edition of BURDEN OF PROOF. We'll see you then.
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