Parents sue Star on behalf of JonBenet Ramsey's brother

Tuesday, November 30th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) -- John and Patsy Ramsey filed a $25 million lawsuit against the Star on Tuesday, alleging the supermarket tabloid
libeled their son with stories calling him the prime suspect in the killing of his sister, JonBenet.

The federal lawsuit said the stories, published May 25 and June 1 but later retracted, were false and defamatory, and subjected
12-year-old Burke to "public hatred, contempt and ridicule."

One story ran with a front-page photo of the two children under the headline "JonBenet was killed by brother Burke."

The Star said it would vigorously fight the suit and said it would give the tabloid a chance to "conduct a complete investigation of the murder, pursuing avenues of inquiry that were
not available to state investigators."

Speaking on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Tuesday night, the Star's attorney, Gerson Zweifach, said his clients were "going to be able to do that which the state has never been able to do: cross-examine John and Patsy Ramsey about everything involving this
murder, every inconsistency and every detail."

JonBenet, 6, was found beaten and strangled Dec. 26, 1996, in the basement of the family's home in Boulder, Colo.

No one has been indicted but the investigation is still active. Authorities have said the parents, who have since moved to the
Atlanta area, are under suspicion.

The Star's May 25 article alleged that Burke, who was 9 when his sister died, was the prime suspect in her slaying and that the family was negotiating a plea bargain for the boy.

The June 1 article said prosecutors were "closing in" on Burke and that he had a "sad, twisted life" because he was never able to compete with his beauty-queen sister.

In retracting the stories June 22, the Star said Burke had been cleared and was not a suspect.

The Ramseys are represented by Lin Wood, who has also handled lawsuits for Richard Jewell, the security guard initially called a
suspect in the Atlanta Olympic bombing.