1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
2 ATLANTA DIVISION
3 ROBERT CHRISTIAN WOLF,
CASE NO. 00-CIV-1187(JEC)
6 JOHN BENNETT RAMSEY and
PATRICIA PAUGH RAMSEY,
VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITION OF
12 May 17, 2002
191 Peachtree Street, N.E.
14 Atlanta, Georgia
16 Valerie N. Almand, RPR, CCR-B-531
2 On behalf of the Plaintiff Robert Christian Wolf:
3 EVAN M. ALTMAN, Esquire
4 Lake Forrest Place
5 6085 Lake Forrest Drive, Suite 300-B
6 Atlanta, Georgia 30328
7 (404) 845-0695
9 DARNAY HOFFMAN, Esquire (via telephonic means)
10 Law Offices of Darnay Hoffman
11 Suite 209
12 210 West 70th Street
13 New York, New York 10023
14 (212) 712-2766
16 On behalf of the Defendants, John Bennett Ramsey and
17 Patricia Paugh Ramsey:
18 JAMES RAWLS, Esquire
19 ERIC P. SCHROEDER, Esquire
20 Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, L.L.P.
21 Sixteenth Floor
22 191 Peachtree Street, N.E.
23 Atlanta, Georgia 30303
24 (404) 572-6600
1 L. LIN WOOD, Esquire
2 L. Lin Wood, P.C.
3 2140 The Equitable Building
4 100 Peachtree Street
5 Atlanta, Georgia 30303
6 (404) 522-1713
8 Also Present:
9 John Ramsey
10 Matt Wood
1 Deposition of Gideon Epstein
2 May 17, 2002
3 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We are now on the
4 record, and the time is 9:34 a.m.
5 MR. RAWLS: Very good. Let me make
6 a brief stipulation by way of beginning.
7 Darnay, can you hear me?
8 MR. HOFFMAN: Yes.
9 MR. RAWLS: This is the deposition
10 of Mr. Gideon Epstein. The deposition is taken
11 of Mr. Epstein as an expert for the plaintiff,
12 Robert Christian Wolf, in this case.
13 The deposition is being taken at a
14 time and place determined by agreement of
15 counsel and formalized thereafter by a notice
16 issued by the defendants.
17 The deposition is taken for all
18 proper purposes under the Federal Rules of Civil
19 Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence.
20 Is that a suitable stipulation, Evan
21 and Darnay?
22 MR. ALTMAN: Yes, it is.
23 MR. HOFFMAN: Yes, it is.
24 MR. ALTMAN: Jim, one preliminary
25 thing. Did you also want to limit the
1 objections, the usual objection sort of thing?
2 I don't know if you mentioned that.
3 MR. RAWLS: Yes, let's agree as I
4 believe the rules provide that all objections
5 except as to the form of the question and as
6 to the responsiveness of the answer will be
7 reserved until the time of the trial, hearing or
8 other use of the deposition testimony.
9 MR. ALTMAN: That is acceptable.
10 MR. RAWLS: Darnay, is that --
11 MR. HOFFMAN: In fact, in New York
12 we usually, when we sit down we say usual
13 stips. That's fine, absolutely.
14 GIDEON EPSTEIN, having been first
15 duly sworn, was examined and deposed as
19 Q. Mr. Epstein, tell us, please, your
20 full name.
21 A. Gideon Epstein, G-I-D-E-O-N, Epstein,
23 Q. Do you have a middle name?
24 A. I do not.
25 Q. And have you ever had?
1 A. Never had a middle name. Two was
2 always enough, thank you.
3 Q. Have you ever had a different name?
4 A. Never had a different name.
5 Q. Your date of birth, please?
6 A. July 6th, 1938.
7 Q. And place of birth?
8 A. Riga, Latvia, that's spelled R-I-G-A.
9 Q. At birth were you a U.S. citizen?
10 A. I was not. I'm a naturalized
11 citizen. I was naturalized in 1956.
12 Q. Mr. Epstein, where do you make your
13 home, sir?
14 A. In Rockville, Maryland.
15 Q. And how long have you lived there?
16 A. I've lived in Rockville since 1988.
17 Prior to that I lived in Gaithersburg, Maryland,
18 just a short distance from there.
19 Q. When did you first come to the U.S.?
20 A. I came to the United States in July
21 of 1946.
22 Q. At approximately the age of --
23 A. Eight.
24 Q. -- eight. Shortly after your 8th
1 A. That's right.
2 Q. Would you describe for us,
3 Mr. Epstein, what you understand to be your
4 engagement in the case of Robert Christian Wolf
5 against John and Patsy Ramsey?
6 A. My engagement in the case, as I see
7 it, is to conduct forensic handwriting
8 examinations of the disputed ransom note, in
9 conjunction with the known handwriting that I
10 was provided of the Ramseys, and attempt to
11 establish, if possible, through that forensic
12 examination whether there was common authorship
13 between the known writing and the disputed
14 ransom note.
15 Q. When were you first retained in this
17 A. I was first retained in this case
18 about a little less than two years ago, I
20 Q. Can you be more specific?
21 A. No, because originally I became
22 involved in this case in a sort of an
23 unofficial capacity as a result of reviewing the
24 documents that another document examiner who was
25 in the case was looking at, Larry Zieglar.
1 At the time I was the chief document
2 examiner at the immigration laboratory and
3 Mr. Zieglar was a contractor for me, and so I
4 became aware of the documents and I saw the
5 documents prior to officially becoming involved,
6 but like I say, the best I can recall is that
7 it was about two years.
8 Q. When you were first retained did you
9 agree to assist for a fee?
10 A. No, I did not. In fact, I -- prior
11 to being officially retained and while still an
12 employee of the department of justice, I
13 contacted the ethics officer at the Immigration
14 and Naturalization Service and asked for
15 permission to become involved in the case on a
16 pro bono basis, and that permission was granted,
17 and it was at that time that I became involved
18 officially in the case, and there was -- I had,
19 from the beginning it was a pro bono basis
21 Q. Has that ever changed?
22 A. Not -- actually, I did receive a fee
23 for the Article 26 report, but prior to that I
24 had put in more than 50 hours of examination
25 time in the case for which I did not bill
2 Q. What was your fee for the Rule 26
4 A. Twelve hundred dollars.
5 Q. And was that paid?
6 A. It was.
7 Q. Do you now consider yourself a pro
8 bono expert or a for fee expert?
9 A. I consider myself a pro bono expert.
10 Q. And would you describe your reason,
11 please, for taking this matter on a pro bono
13 A. I've been involved in this profession
14 for 35 years, and have always considered that
15 the forensic sciences have a responsibility to
16 the criminal justice system, and I've felt very
17 strongly about that throughout my entire
18 professional career.
19 I feel that the questioned document
20 profession let the criminal justice system down
21 in this particular case, and I feel very
22 strongly that I would, if possible, like to set
23 that straight.
24 I don't believe that the forensic
25 reports that have been rendered in this case
1 thus far by those document examiners who earlier
2 examined these documents were correct, and I
3 don't believe that justice has been served, and
4 that's my only reason for becoming involved in
5 the case.
6 Q. Mr. Epstein, given all that, why did
7 you charge twelve hundred dollars for the Rule
8 26 report?
9 A. Because I had expenses and we all
10 have bills, and there were cases that I had
11 turn down that were fee cases.
12 In this kind of a case, you have to
13 be prepared to devote a great deal of time to
14 a case like this, and it's not a case that you
15 can bill for. It's not a case where every
16 hour can be counted and charged up to someone.
17 So there are, however, instances
18 where you do have static things, for instance,
19 this deposition is an example. It's a certain
20 number of hours that we know we're going to
21 devote to it and we can predict what we can
22 charge in it, and so therefore I think that to
23 work for two years on a case and sacrifice
24 other cases in place of it that you have to,
25 if you can, make up some of that, and I feel
1 that that's the reason I charged for the -- the
2 twelve hundred dollars for the Article 26 report
3 as well as for this deposition, is because these
4 are sort of static hours that we know we've put
5 in and it's something that can easily be billed,
6 whereas the amount of time that we actually
7 devote to the examination of a case like this
8 can't really be counted.
9 Q. How many hours did you spend working
10 on the Rule 26 report?
11 A. Approximately ten hours.
12 Q. So the twelve hundred dollars charge
13 was approximately --
14 A. I charged for an eight-hour day.
15 Q. All right, sir. In fact, was it
16 suggested to you, Mr. Epstein, that you would
17 have trouble charging my clients for your time
18 today if you had not sent a bill for the Rule
19 26 report to Darnay Hoffman?
20 A. No, that was never mentioned to me
21 at all.
22 Q. That was never any part of your
24 A. No, never part of my thinking.
25 Q. And if that was part of anyone
1 else's thinking, that was never shared with you.
2 A. If it was someone else's thinking it
3 was never shared with me, no. In fact, if
4 there had been any indication that there would
5 be difficulty collecting a fee for today, I
6 would have been very happy to come here without
7 a fee.
8 Q. Mr. Epstein, in this case counsel
9 have been furnished by your side's attorneys,
10 Mr. Altman and Mr. Hoffman, a document that is
11 styled plaintiff's disclosure of expert
12 testimony. On Page 2 of that document there's
13 a paragraph, in fact could you take a look at
14 the second full paragraph on Page 2 --
15 A. Mr. Epstein is being compensated
16 (inaudible). Yes. The twelve hundred dollars I
17 received for the Article 26 report, I have a
18 photographer who prepared all of my charts, he
19 received eight hundred dollars, that makes up
20 the two thousand dollars as far as the amount.
21 I didn't feel I could ask my photographer to
22 work pro bono. He has expenses, and so he was
23 paid eight hundred dollars for the preparation
24 of the charts.
25 Q. Mr. Epstein, would you look on with
1 me and tell me if I am reading this paragraph
2 correctly? "Mr. Epstein is being compensated
3 for his report and testimony at the rate of two
4 hundred dollars per hour for his trial and
5 deposition testimony, and at the rate of one
6 hundred fifty dollars per hour for his
7 laboratory examination and discovery report. To
8 date Mr. Epstein has paid -- excuse me, has
9 been paid two thousand dollars."
10 Have I read that correctly.
11 A. You've read it correctly, but I'm
12 not exactly sure what is meant by that. I can
13 only tell you what I received and my
15 I think that it was always
16 understood that the majority of my work and my
17 examination time would be on a pro bono basis.
18 The only fee that I've received has been the
19 twelve hundred dollars for the Article 26
20 report, which was invoiced at a hundred and
21 fifty dollars an hour for eight hours.
22 As far as any understanding, at the
23 time that the report was provided, I don't know
24 that there was any discussion about testimony
25 fees, so that's my understanding of it.
1 Q. Mr. Epstein, did your familiarity
2 with Chris Wolf play any part in your decision
3 to do any work on this case pro bono?
4 A. I don't know Chris Wolf.
5 Q. Do you know anything about
6 Mr. Wolf's situation, his story, his career, his
7 background, his plight, if you will?
8 A. I know nothing about Mr. Wolf, and
9 that's intentional.
10 Q. May I say I don't blame you.
11 Are you familiar with Mr. Wolf's
12 career in the entertainment industry?
13 A. As I say, I don't know anything
14 about Mr. Wolf at all.
15 Q. And why was it intentional that you
16 learned nothing about Mr. Wolf?
17 A. Because it's always been my policy
18 as a document examiner not to involve myself
19 with those outside things in a case that have
20 nothing to do with the documents that I examine.
21 Q. Mr. Epstein, you testified earlier
22 that forensic reports by members of your
23 document examination profession thus far in
24 connection with the ransom note found at the
25 home of John and Patsy Ramsey have not been
2 A. That's my feeling, yes.
3 Q. Which of those reports have you
5 A. I've read the report by Howard Rile,
6 and I've read the report by Lloyd Cunningham.
7 I think those are the only written reports that
8 I recall seeing. I know that there were other
9 document examiners who came to a similar
10 conclusion, but I don't know if they ever put
11 those findings into a written report.
12 Q. So the only reports that you have
13 observed are those provided in this case by the
14 Ramseys' experts, Howard Rile and Lloyd
15 Cunningham; is that correct?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. What, if anything, have those reports
18 had to do with the criminal justice system, sir?
19 A. They have had nothing to do with the
20 criminal justice system.
21 Q. You testified earlier that members of
22 your profession had, in your opinion, let the
23 criminal justice system down in this case; did
24 you not, sir?
25 A. I did, because I think that
1 originally if the examinations had been conducted
2 in a different manner that the results would
3 have been such that it may have become a
4 criminal justice matter.
5 Q. But the fact is you don't know how
6 those original document examination reports were
7 done at all; do you, sir?
8 A. Well, I know what the findings were
9 of the people that did it.
10 Q. Do you know the names of the people
11 that made the examinations?
12 A. I know that the people from the
13 Colorado bureau conducted examinations that were
14 inconclusive. I don't recall now the person
15 that did it, an older gentleman, I can see his
16 face, I can't recall his name. But there were
17 certainly forensic examinations done at the time
18 that there was a criminal investigation into
19 this matter.
20 Obviously that was significant
21 evidence in this case, and so therefore that had
22 to have been done, and I know that those
23 conclusions were inconclusive.
24 Q. The fact is, you know nothing about
25 the manner in which any of the experts retained
1 by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation rendered
2 their examinations, their analyses and their
3 conclusions; am I not correct?
4 A. Specifically, I don't know what they
5 concluded, but generally I know that the
6 conclusions were inconclusive.
7 Q. Mr. Epstein, I want to come back
8 later to the subject of the other reports and
9 analyses of handwriting that were done as part
10 of the criminal justice part of the
11 investigation of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
12 I'll come back to that later. I want to learn
13 a little bit more about you, if you don't
14 mind --
15 A. Not at all.
16 Q. -- sharing some additional information
17 with us.
18 First I'd like to know how you
19 prepared for this deposition.
20 A. I prepared for the deposition by
21 going over the work that I had done in this
22 case and going over my report and the
23 illustrations that are attached to it.
24 Q. Did you confer with any of the
25 attorneys for Mr. Wolf before this deposition in
2 A. I did not.
3 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
4 1 was marked for identification).
5 MR. ALTMAN: Jim, with respect to
6 the last question, when you say conferred, I
7 mean, we had discussions regarding the case. I
8 guess my question is could you maybe be a
9 little bit more specific about what you want to
10 know regarding that?
11 MR. RAWLS: Thank you, Evan.
12 Q. Mr. Epstein, what I want to know is
13 did you consult Mr. Altman or Mr. Hoffman about
14 this deposition?
15 A. I did not.
16 Q. Were you told anything about the
17 testimony earlier this week of Ms. Cina Wong?
18 A. I learned of that testimony this
20 Q. From whom did you learn of that?
21 A. From Mr. Altman.
22 Q. Have you ever seen Ms. Wong's
24 A. Yes, I did, almost two years ago.
25 I believe it was shown to me when I first
1 became involved in this case.
2 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim.
3 MR. RAWLS: Yes.
4 MR. HOFFMAN: I'd just like to add
5 a note here, it can be on or off the record.
6 Mr. Epstein has never been shown the most recent
7 report by Cina Wong.
8 THE WITNESS: No, the most recent
9 one, the one I saw was several years old.
10 MR. RAWLS: I certainly take
11 Mr. Epstein at his word that if he saw a Cina
12 Wong report two years ago it could not have
13 been what Ms. Wong has later put together.
14 But Darnay, thank you for your
16 BY MR. RAWLS:
17 Q. Mr. Epstein, may I show you a
18 document that has been marked Defendant's
19 Exhibit-1 to your deposition? What is this,
20 please, sir?
21 A. This is my fee schedule.
22 Q. Did you provide that to Mr. Hoffman
23 and Mr. Altman?
24 A. I think I did at one time, but I
25 never, I never really adhered to this fee
2 Q. And does anything on this fee
3 schedule indicate that you are serving in this
4 case pro bono?
5 A. It does not.
6 Q. And do you know that this was given
7 us as if it were your fee schedule in this
8 case by Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Altman?
9 A. I'm not aware of under what
10 conditions that was given to you, but I can
11 tell you that I think they both understand that
12 I'm working this case on a pro bono basis.
13 Q. I don't know what they understand, I
14 only know what they have given me to believe
15 before today, Mr. Epstein, and that was this
16 Defendant's Exhibit 1.
17 A. And that, I'm not aware of.
18 Q. You did not thorough Mr. Hoffman or
19 Mr. Altman to misrepresent to me your fee; did
20 you, sir?
21 MR. ALTMAN: Object as to the form.
22 A. No, I know nothing about this whole
23 matter of the fee. I think it was rather
24 clear from the very beginning that I was working
25 this case on a pro bono basis. It hasn't
1 changed, and it will not change.
2 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim.
3 MR. RAWLS: Yes.
4 MR. HOFFMAN: Did I include with
5 that the letter of agreement that I had signed
6 with Mr. Epstein, I think it was in January or
7 late December, whereby I had agreed in a letter
8 agreement with him -- it was one page -- to,
9 you know, pay him for his time and whatever
10 else? I don't know if that was included there.
11 MR. RAWLS: I don't think so,
13 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay, because I have
14 it, and I don't know if I can find it like
15 during this deposition period, but I can fax
16 your office a copy of it.
17 MR. WOOD: Why don't you do that?
18 MR. RAWLS: That will be
20 MR. HOFFMAN: Because I think
21 there's some confusion here. There was a period
22 late December, early January where I got an
23 e-mail from Mr. Epstein to the effect that
24 because there was so much time involved in the
25 case that he needed at the very least nominal
1 compensation, and he faxed me a -- and, Gideon,
2 I don't know if you remember this or not --
3 faxed me a letter of understanding, agreement,
4 whatever you want to call it, it was a couple
5 of paragraphs, which I signed, duly signed and
6 faxed back to him, and that's the basis by
7 which it was my understanding that he would be
8 appearing at least for parts of the deposition
9 as a paid consultant.
10 So there's been no attempt to try to
11 misrepresent Mr. Epstein's understanding or my
12 understanding. There may be a little confusion
13 here. And to clear that up, I will fax you a
14 copy of the agreement that Mr. Epstein had me
15 sign, I think it was in January or late
17 MR. SCHROEDER: Darnay, Eric Shroeder
18 here. Would you mind faxing that to my
20 MR. HOFFMAN: To your attention,
22 MR. SCHROEDER: Yes.
23 MR. HOFFMAN: Yeah, fine.
24 BY MR. RAWLS:
25 Q. Mr. Epstein, would you agree with me
1 that for justice to be served candor is
3 A. Absolutely.
4 Q. Are you, Mr. Epstein, a trained
6 A. I am not.
7 Q. Do you need to be a trained
8 graphologist in order to be a qualified forensic
9 document examiner?
10 A. No, you don't.
11 Q. Does graphology add anything to your
12 ability to be a qualified document -- forensic
13 document examiner?
14 A. I don't believe it does, no.
15 Q. What is graphology, sir?
16 A. The study and examination of
17 handwriting with the purpose of establishing a
18 person's personality and character traits.
19 Q. Do you do that?
20 A. I do not.
21 Q. Have you ever aspired to do that?
22 A. I have never aspired to do that.
23 Q. Does that business of graphology
24 impress you as a science?
25 A. It does not.
1 Q. Does it have credibility with you in
2 any manner?
3 A. It does not.
4 Q. Do you believe in it?
5 A. I do not.
6 Q. When did you leave government
7 service, Mr. Epstein?
8 A. I left government service in December
9 of the year 2000.
10 Q. And at that time your employer had
11 been the United States Immigration and
12 Naturalization Service; am I correct?
13 A. Forensic document laboratory, that's
15 Q. And you were in charge of that
16 laboratory, if I'm not mistaken.
17 A. I was in charge of the forensic unit
18 of that laboratory. There's also an
19 intelligence unit that's a part of that
20 laboratory that I was not in charge of.
21 Q. When you sought permission to assist
22 Mr. Wolf pro bono, whose permission did you
24 A. I first went to the laboratory
25 director and then I went to the ethics officer
1 at headquarters, INS, and received permission
2 from both of them.
3 Q. And the name of the lab director?
4 A. Katherine Sheehan, S-H-E-E-H-A-N, and
5 she's still the laboratory director today.
6 Q. And who is the ethics officer in
8 A. That I can't remember. I did
9 receive an e-mail back from him, and Ms. Sheehan
10 would certainly know who the ethics officer is,
11 but I -- at the moment it slipped my mind who
12 he is.
13 Q. Do you still possess a copy of that
15 A. I probably do, yes.
16 Q. We would like to see that if you
17 will agree to --
18 A. Certainly.
19 Q. -- seek it, and if Mr. Hoffman and
20 Mr. Altman will agree to permit you to share it
21 with us.
22 MR. ALTMAN: We have no objection.
23 Darnay? No objection.
24 A. I will try to find that e-mail. I
25 know that I kept it because I felt that it was
1 important in case I was ever asked why or how
2 or under what circumstances I became involved.
3 Q. If I have done my math right, you
4 are approximately 63 years old now, is that
6 A. Sixty-four, will be sixty-five in
8 Q. And are you -- do you consider
9 yourself now to be semiretired, or a nonretired
11 A. Well, I don't consider myself a
12 businessman. Actually I'm a pretty poor
13 businessman, I found. But I am, I would say,
14 semiretired although sometimes I feel that I'm
15 busier now than when I was working, so . . .
16 Q. How many hours in a typical week do
17 you practice your field of forensic document
19 A. I have a contract at the present
20 time with the immigration service forensic
21 document laboratory to train their new document
22 examiners, and I devote about five hours in the
23 morning, five days a week, to that.
24 And then in the afternoons I have a
25 private practice and I devote, depending on the
1 cases, a good part of the afternoon to that.
2 So I would say that I devote probably pretty
3 close to eight hours a day to forensic document
5 Q. Well, that doesn't sound very retired
6 to me.
7 A. Sometimes it's not.
8 Q. Tell me what is involved in the
9 training program which -- or by which you train
10 immigration and naturalization service document
11 examiners, please.
12 A. Certainly. It's a 30-month program
13 at the laboratory where I was and where I'm
14 presently training people. The handwriting
15 portion of the training is approximately one
16 year in length, and it consists of a reading of
17 all of the recent and past literature, all of
18 the books on questioned document examination to
19 familiarize all of the trainees with the basic
20 principles of the profession.
21 It involves the reading of papers
22 and various research type projects that have
23 been conducted on the subject of handwriting.
24 It involves the study of handwriting systems,
25 and then a great portion of that training is an
1 apprenticeship-type training where actual cases
2 are used, past cases where exhibits have been
3 photographed and retained and where the cases
4 are assigned, and then the trainees will work
5 them and the cases are critiqued, and they move
6 from that into actual life cases where original
7 documents are available, and this goes on for
8 about a year to build a base and a foundation
9 for knowing and understanding how the basic
10 principle for document examination apply to the
12 Q. How many individuals are being
13 trained by you in the training program which you
14 are operating at present?
15 A. Right now there are three.
16 Q. And when did this 30-month program
17 begin which you are now in the midst of?
18 A. In June of last year.
19 Q. So the idea is that those three
20 students who have been in the program less than
21 one year now will complete 30 months of study.
22 A. Eventually. My contract has just
23 been extended for another year. We will be
24 finishing the handwriting block of the
25 instruction next month, and at that time they
1 will move on to other areas of document
3 Q. And are those three students being
4 paid as employees of the INS while they are
5 taking your training course?
6 A. They are. They are actually
7 employees. They were brought into the
8 laboratory as permanent employees and the
9 positions are the positions of trainee, and then
10 after they've completed their training they will
11 go into permanent positions as forensic document
13 Q. And what credentials did they need
14 to have before they could get admission into
15 your training program, if you know?
16 A. I do know. All three of them have
17 master's degrees in forensic science from the
18 George Washington University of Forensic
20 Q. Did you select these people?
21 A. These three, I did not. I've been
22 training people, though, for a number of years,
23 and previous trainees I have selected, but these
24 three were selected by my predecessor.
25 Q. At the end of the 30-month course
1 that you have described what will these three
2 individuals be qualified to do, in your
3 judgment, at least as you hope?
4 A. Well, hopefully, and so far we've
5 been very successful, is that they will be able
6 to assume a caseload of their own. The first
7 year or so afterwards their work will all be
8 check and countersigned by a more senior
9 examiner, but they will be in a position to
10 take cases to court, should testimony be
11 necessary, and they will conduct independent
12 examinations of handwriting, handprinting matters,
13 altered and counterfeit document cases, various
14 miscellaneous problems having to do with
16 Q. In your 30-month program how much
17 time is devoted to the study of graphology?
18 A. None -- well, let me say that I
19 spend time only to identify what graphology is
20 and that it is not a part of forensic document
21 examination, and that it is not something that
22 we consider in our work.
23 Q. What are the major books in the
24 literature which your training program asks these
25 students to read?
1 A. Well, there's only really a handful.
2 There's Suspect Documents by Harrison, Questioned
3 Documents by Osborn, Problem of Proof by Osborn,
4 Scientific Examination of Documents by Hilton,
5 Forensic Document Examination by Huber and
6 Hedrick, Conway's book on disputed documents.
7 That pretty much is the majority of the accepted
9 MR. RAWLS: May we take a brief
10 recess at this time? Is that convenient?
11 MR. ALTMAN: Sure.
12 MR. RAWLS: We're off the record
13 at --
14 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: 10:13 a.m.
16 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Back on the
17 record at 10:26 a.m.
18 BY MR. RAWLS:
19 Q. Mr. Epstein, we have a book here
20 that I'll show you, let me put it in the way
21 of the camera for just a moment, and, for the
22 record, this book was spoken of by Ms. Cina
23 Wong earlier this week.
24 Do you understand that Ms. Wong is
25 your co-expert on handwriting in the case of
1 Chris Wolf? Was that a smile captured just
2 then or an effort not to smile?
3 A. An effort not to smile. I don't
4 know what you mean by co- -- what was it you
6 Q. My word was co-expert on handwriting
7 in the case of Chris Wolf.
8 A. I really don't know how to answer
9 that question, to tell you the truth, because I
10 was not aware until this morning on my way here
11 that she had, in fact, been deposed and that
12 she had, in fact, written another report.
13 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim, can I interject
14 here, because this is a thing that involves
15 counsel and you can put this on the record or
16 keep it off, whichever you like.
17 MR. RAWLS: Well, Darnay, first I'd
18 like for Mr. Epstein to finish his answer. I
19 didn't think he was finished, but he might have
21 MR. HOFFMAN: I'm very sorry.
22 Q. Mr. Epstein.
23 A. I don't consider her as my co-expert
24 in this case.
25 Q. Why is that?
1 A. Someone else may consider her as a
2 co-expert in this case, but I don't.
3 Q. Why?
4 A. Because I don't believe that she
5 meets what I and the profession consider to be
6 the necessary qualifications for forensic
7 document examination.
8 Q. Mr. Epstein, I don't either.
9 MR. RAWLS: Darnay, if this is when
10 you would like to make your remark, please feel
11 free to do so.
12 MR. HOFFMAN: Yeah. One of the
13 things that I was most concerned about with
14 respect to both Cina and Gideon was that there
15 would be no opportunity for either person to
16 really be able to comment on the work of the
17 other individual, on the theory that keeping the
18 handwriting experts from knowing about the work
19 of the other person could lead to truthful
20 answers that, in fact, they were not influenced
21 in any way by the work being done by the other
22 person. So that was really the reason.
23 MR. RAWLS: Thank you. Darnay, are
24 you finished?
25 MR. HOFFMAN: Yes, Jim, thank you.
1 MR. RAWLS: Good. And back -- I
2 think it's true that perhaps all of us
3 digressed, including me.
4 BY MR. RAWLS:
5 Q. The book I referenced earlier,
6 Mr. Epstein, is called Attorney's Guide to
7 Document Examination, it's written by Katherine,
8 with a K, Koppenhaver with a K,
9 K-O-P-P-E-N-H-A-V-E-R. Are you familiar with
10 this text, Mr. Epstein?
11 A. I am familiar with her. I'm not
12 familiar with her book.
13 Q. What can you tell us about your
14 familiarity with her?
15 A. I consider her another one of the
16 people practicing on the fringe of forensic
17 document examination who probably have a
18 background in graphology, who have opposed a
19 number of qualified document examiners in the
20 Washington area.
21 I believe she's in Baltimore; is
22 that correct?
23 Q. I'm not certain.
24 A. I think she's in Baltimore. But
25 I've seen some of her findings and I don't have
1 any respect for her work, I guess is the
2 easiest way to say it.
3 Q. Do you agree that Ms. Koppenhaver is
4 not a qualified forensic document examiner?
5 A. As far as my profession is
6 concerned, yes.
7 Q. Is her book a book that has gained,
8 to your knowledge, credibility in the field of
9 forensic document examination?
10 A. I've never seen that book before,
11 and I've been in the field 35 years.
12 Q. Now, it is a relatively new book.
13 Is this one that's going to show up on your
14 reading list --
15 A. No, it won't.
16 Q. Why is that?
17 A. As I said, I have absolutely no
18 respect for her or her work, so there's no
19 reason for me to read her book.
20 Q. She, we were told, is actually the
21 president of an organization -- or is immediate
22 past president of an organization called National
23 Association of Document Examiners. Is that a
24 bona fide group of forensic document examiners?
25 A. It is not.
1 Q. What is that group, if you know?
2 A. It's a group that's composed
3 primarily of graphologists.
4 Q. Do you recognize board certifications
5 by the National Association of Document Examiners
6 of forensic document examiners?
7 A. The only recognized body for the
8 forensic profession in document examination in
9 North America is the American Board of Forensic
10 Document Examiners. They're the only recognized
11 board to certify document examiners. A lot of
12 these fringe organizations, and there are others
13 besides that one that certify their own members,
14 and that's so that the individual can go into
15 court and state that they're board-certified, and
16 the court doesn't know the difference between
17 one board and another.
18 Q. Unless, of course, an expert
19 qualified by the American Board of Forensic
20 Document Examiners is hired by another party in
21 the case.
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. Mr. Epstein, in the course in which
24 you train representatives of the Immigration and
25 Naturalization Service in document examination,
1 do you give feedback on the work done by your
3 A. Certainly. The entire program is
4 monitored in such a way as to evaluate any
5 weaknesses or any progress that the student
6 makes or any particular area of the program that
7 has to be -- where you have to devote more
9 Different people learn at different
10 speeds and different levels and have come into
11 the program with different backgrounds, and so
12 to some degree you have to be monitoring this
13 kind of thing very closely.
14 Q. Do you give critiques on the work
15 done by the students?
16 A. Absolutely.
17 Q. Do you critique them on their work
18 on past cases that have been solved?
19 A. They're critiqued on the cases that
20 they work and whether they correctly recognized
21 the elements of that particular case that either
22 resulted in an elimination or an identification
23 or resulted in a qualified conclusion.
24 I think during the training program
25 it's important for the trainees to develop
1 certain skills that will allow them in the
2 future to be able to recognize such things as
3 disguise, as individual highly unique
4 characteristics, as class characteristics, as
5 what is handwriting variation versus what is a
7 I mean, these are all important
8 elements of handwriting, and if you don't learn
9 these things at the beginning, they affect you
10 the rest of the time that you're in the
12 Q. Do you critique the work done by
13 these students on live cases?
14 A. I am doing that now. They now have
15 gotten to the point where they are assigned live
17 Q. Is 30 months enough to enable a good
18 student in your class to become a qualified
19 forensic document examiner?
20 A. It's enough time for them to reach a
21 point where they can start to do independent
22 work that is checked by a more senior examiner.
23 None of the work, even after the 30-month
24 program, will go out without a more senior
25 examiner looking at their work.
1 Q. So what they need is 30 months plus
2 perhaps a year's apprenticeship in which their
3 work is checked out by an experienced INS
4 forensic document examiner?
5 A. Yes, and the length of time that
6 their work is reviewed will depend on the
7 individual and the progress that individual
9 When the senior examiner feels that
10 they have developed their skills to such a
11 degree that they can be relied upon to send a
12 report out on their own without it being
13 reviewed, then they will move into that phase of
14 their career.
15 Q. And that is thirty months at five
16 days per week and five hours per day; am I
18 A. It's five hours a day of my
19 instruction. They have assigned beyond that
20 five hours other things, reading assignments,
21 special projects, so they are training more than
22 five hours a day, but my actual involvement with
23 them is for about five hours a day.
24 Q. So it's five hours a day plus
25 homework five days a week for thirty months.
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. Did you ever train Cina Wong?
3 A. I did not.
4 Q. Did you ever train David Leibman?
5 A. I did not.
6 Q. Do you know David Leibman?
7 A. I know that he rendered a report
8 early on in this case. I think I remember
9 seeing something a couple of years ago that he
11 Q. Is he a qualified forensic document
13 A. He is not, no.
14 Q. Why not?
15 A. Again, for the same reasons. I
16 don't believe that he ever went through any kind
17 of recognized or accepted training program.
18 The profession requires that for a
19 person to be qualified to do this work, they
20 must complete, at a minimum, a two-year resident
21 training program in a recognized laboratory or
22 by a recognized forensic document examiner.
23 Many of these people are self-taught.
24 This is not a profession that you can learn by
25 yourself. I mean, this is an apprenticeship
1 type of profession. You have to learn from
2 others, people who have been doing this for
4 Q. Do you have any information about
5 the International Society of Handwriting
7 A. I don't know that I've ever heard of
8 them. It sounds like one of the many
9 organizations that sound so much alike, but I
10 don't know about that one, I don't believe.
11 Q. What is involved, if you know, in
12 the forensic science Master's Degree program at
13 George Washington University?
14 A. Well, I taught that program for
15 seven years. I taught questioned document
16 examination at George Washington University until
17 about 1992, from 1985 to 1992, so I'm pretty
18 familiar with the program.
19 It's an overview of forensic science
20 is basically what the program involves. It has
21 classes in all of the various forensic areas,
22 firearms and tool marks, serology,
23 instrumentation, chemistry, criminal law, personal
24 identification, pathology, odontology, questioned
25 document examination, which I taught.
1 In fact, one of my -- all of my
2 students are graduates of that program and one
3 of them is just graduating, actually graduating
4 tomorrow, I believe.
5 It's a good program. It's one of
6 the few programs in the country where you can
7 get a master's in forensic science. There
8 aren't a great many universities that allow you
9 to get that.
10 It's good in that it allows a person
11 to try to determine whether they're interested
12 in this profession or not, and so it's good for
13 that reason. But it doesn't in and of itself
14 qualify a person to go into questioned document
15 work upon completion of the master's program.
16 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
17 2 was marked for identification).
18 MR. ALTMAN: Jim, do you have a
19 copy for me, by any chance?
20 MR. RAWLS: Yes, I do.
21 Q. Mr. Epstein, let me show you a
22 document that's been marked Defendant's Exhibit-2
23 to your deposition. Do you recognize this, sir?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. Is this your resume?
1 A. It's my CV, yes.
2 Q. Your CV. And, in fact, you yourself
3 received not only a bachelor's degree in
4 criminal justice, but also a Master's of
5 Forensic Science degree; did you not?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. And when did you receive your
8 Bachelor of Science degree from the University
9 of Nebraska?
10 A. I received that in, I believe --
11 let's see, I was in Japan '79 to '82. I
12 believe it was in 1983, or was it -- let's
13 see, I was in Japan from 1979 to 1982, yes, I
14 believe it was -- no, I wasn't in Japan, from
15 1969 to -- okay. I was in Japan from 1969 to
16 1972, so I graduated from Nebraska in 1973, I
18 Q. And when did you receive your
19 Master's of Forensic Science?
20 A. 1982.
21 Q. And that was from Antioch School of
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You've been with the INS, as I
25 understand it, from approximately 1980; is that
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. Until about -- well, until December
4 2000, as you told us earlier.
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. When did you become active in
7 administration of the document examination
8 laboratory at the INS?
9 A. I first became involved in a limited
10 way because we had a small laboratory at that
11 time, around 1985, and became more involved as
12 we added additional staff and as the budget of
13 the laboratory grew over the years, but until my
14 retirement in the year 2000.
15 Q. You were chief forensic document
16 examiner beginning in what year?
17 A. I believe it was around 1985.
18 Q. How many document examiners reported
19 to you in about 1985, approximately?
20 A. I think at that time we probably had
21 only about three.
22 Q. And when you retired from the INS in
23 December 2000, approximately how many document
24 examiners reported to you?
25 A. About 14.
1 Q. In the year 2000 were you handling,
2 yourself, individual cases, or were you
3 supervising the work of other document examiners
4 on individual cases?
5 A. I always remained a working
6 supervisor. Because of my desire to remain in
7 this work I always assign myself cases, and they
8 were primarily handwriting cases, because that's
9 my true love as far as this work is concerned.
10 Q. How many cases in a year did you
11 assign yourself in the year 2000, approximately?
12 A. Oh, I don't know. It would probably
13 be in the neighborhood of 30 or 40, perhaps a
14 little bit more than that. I can't really be
15 sure because I really don't have any figure like
16 that, but I would say it might -- it was
17 certainly a much smaller number than the work,
18 full-time working examiners.
19 Q. And approximately how many would they
20 be assigned in a year?
21 A. Total cases or just handwriting
23 Q. Total handwriting cases.
24 A. Well, that would -- that actually
25 fluctuated, because it depended upon what the
1 primary concern of INS was at any particular
2 period in time. There were times when we were
3 involved with marriage fraud where there was a
4 lot of handwriting involved.
5 It's hard to say, but I would say
6 probably a couple of hundred cases a year in
7 handwriting would be probably an average. There
8 may have been times when it was more. INS
9 always has certain priorities that they have,
10 and you sort of work those kinds of cases that
11 are a priority at that time.
12 Q. What were -- and let's take the
13 decade of the 1990's ending in December 2000.
14 What were the principle INS priorities that
15 related to handwriting examination in that
17 A. Well, to give it a broad category,
18 of course, they were fraud cases. There's all
19 kinds of fraud. Handwriting becomes involved in
20 numerous ways.
21 As I mentioned, they could have been
22 marriage fraud cases, they could have been
23 counterfeit document cases with authorizing
24 signatures, they could have been student fraud
25 cases, they could have been outright criminal
1 cases that involved the various task forces that
2 INS was involved in: drug enforcement task
3 forces, gang task forces where INS people were
4 assigned, when documents would come up they
5 would submit them to the laboratory. So it
6 really was a whole mixture of different types of
7 cases that came in.
8 There were handprinting cases, there
9 were support -- a lot of times the various
10 types of actions in INS require support
11 documents, in other words where a person is
12 claiming something on behalf of someone else,
13 and many times these types of documents are, in
14 fact, fraudulent.
15 You have cases where three or four
16 different people were supposed to have written
17 letters and you find that, in actuality, one
18 person wrote all of them.
19 There's just a whole different array
20 of cases.
21 Q. The INS does not have jurisdiction
22 over ransom cases; does it?
23 A. Ransom cases, per se?
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. No.
1 Q. How many ransom notes did you
2 yourself examine as an employee of the
3 Immigration and Naturalization Services?
4 A. I don't believe I examined any
5 ransom notes.
6 Q. In your career as a questioned
7 document examiner before you looked at the
8 ransom note that was found at the home of John
9 and Patsy Ramsey, how many ransom notes have you
10 looked at?
11 A. I don't know that I've looked at any
12 ransom notes, but a ransom note is nothing more
13 than handwriting, and I don't know that it is
14 any more unique than any other kind of
15 handwriting on a document.
16 MR. RAWLS: I object to the
17 responsiveness of the answer and move to strike
18 it after the words "I don't know that I've
19 looked at any ransom notes", and I would like
20 the record to reflect a period there.
21 BY MR. RAWLS:
22 Q. Mr. Epstein, to the best of your
23 knowledge you have looked at only one ransom
24 note in your life for the purpose of analyzing
25 it as a document examiner; am I correct?
1 A. My recollection, I can't recall that
2 I've examined -- I may very well have when I
3 was a military examiner, I worked thousands of
4 cases over the years. I can't recall every
5 single case that I worked.
6 (Off-the-record discussion).
7 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibits
8 Numbers 3 and 4 were marked for identification).
9 Q. Mr. Epstein, let me show you
10 Defendant's Exhibit-3. This purports to be a
11 list of court testimony of yourself from 1997 to
12 present. Am I correct that that is a complete
13 list of your court testimony from 1997 to
15 A. I believe it is, yes.
16 Q. And were -- as you look at those
17 cases, were any of those cases concerned with
18 the authorship of a ransom note?
19 A. They were not.
20 Q. And let me show you, please,
21 Defendant's Exhibit-4. This purports to be a
22 list of cases in which you have given court
23 testimony from January 1990 to present. Is it
24 a complete list?
25 A. To the best of my knowledge, it is,
2 Q. And as you look at that list, and
3 please take a few moments if you need to to
4 refresh your recollection about each case, my
5 question is the same: Are any of those cases
6 cases in which you testified about authorship of
7 a ransom note?
8 A. They are not.
9 Q. As you look at those cases or that
10 list, Mr. Epstein, is there any case on the
11 list in which any of the judges or hearing
12 officers ruled that you would not be permitted
13 to give testimony?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Has any judge ever ruled that you do
16 not have sufficient expertise to be permitted to
17 give expert testimony on any given matter that
18 you recall?
19 A. No, I have not.
20 Q. Are you familiar with a Daubert
22 A. I am.
23 Q. For the benefit of the judge and
24 jury, would you describe your familiarity with
25 what a Daubert motion is, please?
1 A. The Daubert motion challenges the
2 scientific -- well, the Daubert motion
3 challenges, I guess questioned document
4 examination, the scientific basis upon which
5 handwriting examination is based, whether or not
6 it's based on empirical data, whether the person
7 who is being identified as the expert witness
8 is, in fact -- does, in fact, have the
9 necessary qualifications to testify on the
11 Q. Do you familiarize yourself or try
12 to stay current on judicial decisions about
13 whether document examination and forensic
14 handwriting analysis is a field of science that
15 is sufficiently established that experts in the
16 field can provide their opinions on that subject
18 A. I try to. It's sometimes difficult
19 because cases come up all over the country, but
20 I make an effort to, and it is a subject that
21 is covered in the training.
22 Q. Did you read the ruling last year
23 from a federal district judge that refused to
24 permit a handwriting analyst to provide
1 A. Is this the one in Alaska?
2 Q. Yes, sir. Did you agree or disagree
3 with the judge's ruling?
4 A. I disagreed with the judge's ruling.
5 Q. Do you know the expert involved in
6 that case?
7 A. I believe he was a postal service
8 document examiner out of the postal lab in San
10 Q. Do you know of that individual's
12 A. No, I don't. And I actually don't
13 know the person either, I just know where he's
14 from. I believe that he's actually been
15 involved in two Daubert challenges, the same
17 Q. Did he prevail, to your knowledge?
18 A. I don't believe he did.
19 Q. How many Daubert challenges have ever
20 been made against you as a testifying witness,
21 to the best of your recollection?
22 A. To the best of my recollection,
23 there was a case in Nevada involving the
24 president of a Latino organization, but the
25 judge immediately, as soon as the challenge was
1 made, informed the attorneys that he would, in
2 fact, accept the testimony, so it didn't go very
4 And then I believe there was an
5 attempt made in Cleveland on the part of the --
6 on the part of the Tiger law firm in the case
7 of John Demjanjuk to try to use Daubert to
8 prevent my testimony in that case, that I --
9 again, the judge ruled very quickly that he
10 would accept it.
11 Q. You mentioned the Cleveland case of
12 John Demjanjuk, I believe that's
13 D-E-M-J-A-N-J-U-K, am I correct?
14 A. (Nods head). You are.
15 Q. A number of accusations were made
16 with respect to criticizing your testimony at
17 various times in that long series of lawsuits;
18 were there not?
19 A. There were some accusations made
20 regarding the initial examinations back in 1980,
21 I think, but they were totally inaccurate. The
22 court record clearly reflects exactly what I
23 said, and my findings on that case never changed
24 from over the 21 years that I was involved in
25 that case.
1 Q. Was it your position in that case
2 that John Demjanjuk was quote Ivan the Terrible
3 close quote?
4 A. It was not, and that was not what I
5 concluded. My determination was that the
6 document, the identity document that identified
7 him as a prison guard was a genuine, unaltered
8 document, and that the signatures of the camp
9 commander that appeared on that document as well
10 as the quartermaster were, in fact, written by
11 those people.
12 Q. And the ultimate outcome, at least
13 up to this time in the case of John Demjanjuk
14 I believe was just most recently determined
15 earlier this year; am I correct?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. And that is that while Mr. Demjanjuk
18 might not be Ivan the Terrible, he was ruled to
19 be a former prison guard in a Nazi concentration
20 camp; am I correct?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. And at every course of that
23 proceeding throughout the U.S. and also in
24 Israel, your own testimony was important; was it
1 A. It was, yes.
2 Q. Did you testify in Israel?
3 A. I did.
4 Q. How many times?
5 A. One time over a period of three
7 Q. Has your work in connection with the
8 case of John Demjanjuk been published in any
9 publication, journal or article so that it can
10 be studied or reviewed by your peers?
11 A. There was an initial paper that was
12 written and given out at a professional meeting
13 some years ago, but I was aware that the case
14 was not over and I didn't feel it appropriate
15 for me to discuss or publish the -- anything
16 pertaining to the case until after it had been
17 totally adjudicated.
18 Q. Who wrote the -- I'm sorry, please
20 A. And that's the reason that it was
21 never published in total, the total examination.
22 Q. Who wrote the original paper that
23 you just referred to?
24 A. I did do an initial paper, I
25 believe. It was probably after the -- it was
1 probably after the Israeli trial, I'm not sure
2 when it was, but it was simply a paper that
3 dealt primarily with the types of examinations
4 that could be conducted on a document of this
5 type, the various types of examinations that
6 could authenticate a document of this type.
7 Q. To whom did you present that paper?
8 A. I believe it was presented to the
9 American Society of Questioned Document
10 Examiners, or it may have been presented to the
11 American Academy of forensic Sciences, I'm not
12 sure which organization I presented. Probably
13 the society, I would think.
14 Q. Do you retain a copy of your paper?
15 A. I do, but I would have to see if I
16 could find it. I'm not sure that I have it.
17 I think, though, that if you -- I think you
18 can find it, though, by going to the -- the
19 ASQDE, the American Society of Questioned
20 Document Examiners, has a database of papers
21 that you can search by author, and I know that
22 I have 17 papers listed, I believe, under my
23 name, and so you probably would be able to
24 obtain that paper that way.
25 Q. We will try that. If not, we may
1 ask you for assistance in locating that.
2 Have you yourself published any
3 books, Mr. Epstein?
4 A. I have not.
5 Q. Have you published any articles in
6 professional or scholarly or scientific journals?
7 A. I have, not recently. Earlier I
8 published articles, I know there was an article
9 on a Joseph Mengele handwriting case that I
10 worked which was published in the American
11 Academy of Forensic Sciences Journal. I
12 published some articles in the International
13 Association for Identification News, and some in
14 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Journal. Some
15 were probably published in a publication called
16 the Detective, which was a CID army criminal
17 investigation publication. But these should all
18 be listed in that database.
19 Q. In the same American Society for
20 Questioned Document Examination database.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is the database a place where one
23 can find copies of the articles, or simply a
24 bibliography of the articles?
25 A. Actually, the articles are now being
1 retained by the FBI laboratory. They have now
2 taken over the storage of all of the
3 professional papers, and I think there's about
4 eight thousand now in the database, and they are
5 now the keepers of that file.
6 Q. Mr. Epstein, we spoke about some of
7 the priorities of the Immigration and
8 Naturalization Service in the field of document
9 examination while you were the chief document
10 examiner at the INS.
11 Let me ask you how many times did
12 you yourself have experience with the authorship
13 of documents that I will categorize as extended
14 handwriting documents.
15 A. That's -- it's a common, common
16 case. There are various types of cases that
17 involve extended writing: letters, applications
18 of various kinds, threatening letters, obscene
19 letters, sometimes -- there's all kinds, and
20 when I was with the military we had -- I had a
21 great deal of exposure to suicide notes and
22 other extended writings of that type.
23 Q. How many times, Mr. Epstein, in your
24 career, to your knowledge, have you observed
25 extended handwriting samples where the
1 handwriting took place within just a few minutes
2 before or after the murder of any individual?
3 A. I recall two cases, where one was a
4 suicide where the writing had been done just
5 moments before the woman committed suicide.
6 Actually, there were a number of suicides that I
7 recall now in France where, for whatever reason,
8 we had a great many suicides and I was -- but
9 at that time I was not a document examiner, I
10 was a criminal investigator, but I kept a lot
11 of suicide notes, photographs of suicide notes
12 that I was involved in, and later when I became
13 a document examiner I actually did a study of
14 suicide notes.
15 But anyway, there was another
16 situation involving a homicide that was committed
17 by a prostitute in Wisconsin, and she had --
18 shortly after she had committed the crime she
19 wrote a very long letter to her family, and I
20 examined that writing.
21 So there have been occasions, and
22 there may have been others, I just can't
23 remember all of them.
24 Q. When was the situation involving the
25 homicide committed by the prostitute in
2 A. It was while I was with the Alcohol,
3 Tobacco and Firearms laboratory, so it had to be
4 between 1978 and 1980, probably around 19 --
5 probably around 1979.
6 Q. What was your position with the
8 A. I was a senior document examiner.
9 Q. For the most part, the INS is not
10 the agency that is likely to be principally
11 involved in the analysis of an extended document
12 such as a threat, an extortion demand or a
13 blackmail demand; am I correct?
14 A. Well, normally, if you apply the
15 word normally to the case, that would be
16 correct. But there are exceptions to that, and
17 they are brought in by task force members. The
18 INS has members assigned to various task forces
19 in the government, and these task force members
20 often work various types of cases involving
21 these kinds of things and they submit the cases
22 for laboratory work.
23 In addition, I oftentimes accepted
24 cases from other government agencies. I did not
25 only do cases for INS. There are a number of
1 government agencies that don't have forensic
2 capabilities, and if the case warranted a
3 document examination and they had nowhere to go
4 with it, I would accept those cases and work
5 them for the federal prison system and various
6 other government agencies.
7 Q. What was the purpose of your
8 examination of the letter written by the
9 prostitute in Wisconsin to her family shortly
10 after the homicide?
11 A. They were trying to identify -- the
12 letter was unsigned, it was found on the woman's
13 desk, and it was incriminating in the sense that
14 it said that she had committed a terrible thing
15 and that she would go away for awhile and for
16 the family not to worry, basically that was the
17 text of the letter, and it was -- there was --
18 the purpose of the examination was to attempt to
19 identify whether she, in fact, had written the
21 Q. The purpose was to identify
22 authorship --
23 A. Authorship.
24 Q. -- by a given individual.
25 A. That's right.
1 Q. Did you do so? Did you identify
2 the author?
3 A. I didn't identify her completely.
4 There were a number of factors in this case
5 that restricted a definitive conclusion. There
6 were indications, strong indications that she
7 could have written this letter, but there were
8 -- this is one of those situations that I've
9 come across a number of times over the years
10 when a woman oftentimes becomes involved in a
11 violent type of crime.
12 The handwriting oftentimes reverts, I
13 think unconsciously, to a previous lower level
14 or style of writing. I saw the same thing in
15 the suicide case. I don't know, since I'm not
16 a psychiatrist I can't explain why that happens,
17 but I know that it happens in women. I
18 haven't seen it in men.
19 Oftentimes it's a style of writing
20 that they may have used earlier in their life,
21 and when you get writing, known writing that's
22 produced under stress, under the same sort of
23 conditions, if you can, you find the handwriting
24 characteristics that you're looking for.
25 What I did in the case in the
1 Philippines in the suicide case was I wrote the
2 family and asked them to send me letters that
3 the woman had written when she was under stress
4 with her husband -- it was a bad marriage --
5 and when I received those letters I was able to
6 positively identify the writing, but prior to
7 the receipt of those letters there were
8 handwriting characteristics present that I was
9 not able to identify.
10 In the case of Wisconsin I received
11 writings made while the woman was in prison, and
12 some of those writings were comparable and
13 others were not. By that I mean there was
14 unlike text for comparison. And so I was able
15 to state that there were indications that this
16 woman had written it, but I was not able to
17 state with any definitive conclusion that she
19 Q. We've talked, Mr. Epstein, about the
20 training that you feel is necessary to qualify a
21 person to be a forensic document examiner.
22 A. Well, that the profession considers
23 to be necessary.
24 Q. Is a weekend survey course taught
25 over three or four weekends, even by a person
1 as qualified, say, as Larry Zieglar, sufficient
2 to train a professional forensic document
4 A. No, and Larry Zieglar would be the
5 first to tell you that.
6 Q. Actually, sir, with all due respect,
7 you're the first to tell me that, but I did
8 have my suspicions about the matter.
9 In addition to a three- to
10 four-weekend survey course taught, for example,
11 by Larry Zieglar at a local community college,
12 would it be sufficient if the person not only
13 had that Larry Zieglar three- to four-weekend
14 survey course but also had a three- to four-day
15 course conducted by a Secret Service investigator
16 such as John Hargett at a conference held by
17 the Northwest Fraud Investigators Association?
18 Would that be sufficient?
19 A. No, it wouldn't.
20 Q. Taken together?
21 A. Wouldn't matter.
22 Q. When were you certified by the
23 American Board of Forensic Document Examiners?
24 A. 1982, I believe. The board actually
25 came into existence -- I was the 36th person to
1 be certified by the board. It might have been
2 a little earlier. It was shortly after the
3 board was formed and after it came into
5 Q. Do you know approximately how many
6 members the American Society of Questioned
7 Document Examiners is comprised of?
8 A. It's not a very large organization.
9 It's actually quite small. I don't believe that
10 there are probably -- they have various
11 categories of membership. They have
12 corresponding members, which are people outside
13 the country; they have regular members who are
14 people from the United States and Canada; but I
15 would say right now that there are probably, I
16 would say, 60, 50, 60, 70 members, something
17 like that.
18 Q. And how many, to your knowledge,
19 board-certified forensic document examiners are
20 there? And by that I mean certified by the
21 American Board of Forensic Document Examiners,
22 which you told us was the recognized -- the
23 only recognized body to certify such
25 A. I would say a couple of hundred,
1 probably, something like that. All of these
2 organizations, by the way, do have their
3 websites, in ABFDE.org, ASQDE.org, all of that
4 will give you all of their members.
5 Q. If a person claims to be a
6 board-certified questioned document examiner but
7 has no certification from the American Board of
8 Forensic Document Examiners, is that person being
9 misleading when the individual states he or she
10 is a board-certified questioned document
12 A. Unless they truly believe that the
13 organization that they belong to has the
14 authority and is recognized by the profession to
15 do that, but again, if that's what they think
16 then they really don't know the profession at
18 Any mainstream document examiner in
19 this country knows what the certifying body for
20 this profession is, and if they, in fact, know
21 that and then inform the court that they are
22 board-certified, then I believe they're
23 misleading the court.
24 Q. Does the American Society of
25 Questioned Document Examiners discriminate?
1 A. Discriminate in what way?
2 Q. In any way.
3 A. Not to my knowledge. I was
4 president of that organization two years, and
5 the only thing it requires is that the people
6 who join have the credentials necessary to meet
7 the standards. They have to take the tests,
8 they have to have the proper training. They
9 have to be recommended by people within the
10 profession who know their work. But if they
11 meet those standards, that's the only
13 Q. Does the American Society of
14 Questioned Document Examiners discriminate against
15 document examiners who are in private practice,
16 as opposed to government service?
17 A. Not at all. That organization
18 actually was established by private examiners,
19 and for many years there were very few
20 government examiners in that organization.
21 Albert Osborn, when he started that
22 organization and for many years after that, it
23 was strictly an organization of private
24 examiners, and today there are probably --
25 certainly there are as many, if not more,
1 private examiners in that organization as there
2 are government examiners.
3 Q. Does the American Board of Forensic
4 Document Examiners discriminate against those
5 documents examiners who are in private practice?
6 A. No, not at all, and again, that
7 organization, I'm sure, has probably more private
8 examiners than government examiners.
9 Again, the only thing that those
10 organizations require is that the people meet
11 the requirements. I mean, that's the only
13 Q. If a person testified that she
14 received board certification from the National
15 Association of Document Examiners because the
16 American Board of Forensic Document Examiners and
17 the American Society of Questioned Document
18 Examiners discriminated against her based on her
19 private as opposed to government practice, would
20 that individual, would that person's testimony
21 simply indicate the person is misinformed?
22 A. Well, I know for a fact that that
23 is not a reason for disallowing membership in
24 either or any of those professional
25 organizations. They will disallow membership if
1 a person doesn't have at least a bachelor's
2 degree. They will disallow membership if the
3 person hasn't gone through at least a two-year
4 training program.
5 There are those reasons why a person
6 would be denied membership, but not because
7 they're in private practice, because a majority
8 of the people, like I say, are in private
9 practice that are members.
10 Q. Do the American Board of Forensic
11 Document Examiners and the American Society of
12 Questioned Document Examiners practice nepotism?
13 A. No, they don't.
14 Q. Do you know of any forensic science
15 organization that accredits the National
16 Association of Document Examiners?
17 A. No, I don't.
18 Q. Do you refer business to -- ever, to
19 Cina Wong?
20 A. Never.
21 Q. To David Leibman?
22 A. Never.
23 Q. But you have from time to time
24 referred business to Larry Zieglar.
25 A. I have.
1 Q. Have you not?
2 A. I consider Larry Zieglar to be a
3 qualified forensic document examiner.
4 Q. Mr. Epstein, do you have your own
6 A. I do.
7 Q. Is that in your home or do you have
8 an office outside your home?
9 A. It's in my home.
10 Q. What equipment is in your home lab?
11 A. I have all of the necessary
12 instrumental equipment. I have a video
13 spectrocomparator that allows for paper and ink
14 examinations. I have an electrostatic
15 deciphering apparatus that allows for the
16 examination of indented writing.
17 I have stereoscopic microscopes,
18 photographic equipment, measuring instruments, a
19 very extensive library. I can do most
20 examinations that are necessary to be done.
21 Q. Mr. Epstein, in your career have you
22 been mentioned or quoted in the news media, to
23 your knowledge?
24 A. I have.
25 Q. When?
1 A. Over the years I've been fortunate
2 in having been involved in some interesting
3 cases that received public attention.
4 My 20 years with the office of
5 special investigations in the war crimes area,
6 many of those cases such as the Viral Trifa
7 case, the Archbishop of Romania, the Joseph
8 Mengele, a number of others that were important
9 at the time.
10 I was also involved in the Noriega
11 case in Miami, as a special request by the
12 attorney who was handling that case to do the
13 work in that case, which I did. So over the
14 years there have been cases where the news media
15 has been interested.
16 Q. To the best of your knowledge have
17 you been quoted in the tabloids?
18 A. I have, yeah.
19 Q. On what matters?
20 A. On the types of examinations that
21 were conducted in a particular case, the
22 circumstances surrounding the examinations that
23 were performed.
24 Q. Have you spoken to the news media
25 about the anthrax letters?
1 A. I was, I forgot about those.
2 Q. Were you approached by reporters, or
3 did you initiate the calls?
4 A. No, I was approached by some
5 reporters out of Royters and also out of the
6 New York papers, as well as I think USA Today.
7 Q. Have you given any statements to the
8 responsible press or the tabloid press about the
9 murder of JonBenet Ramsey?
10 A. Absolutely not.
11 Q. Have you said anything to any
12 reporter about the murder of JonBenet Ramsey?
13 A. Absolutely not.
14 Q. Or about your having signed on as an
15 expert witness on behalf of Chris Wolf?
16 A. Absolutely not.
17 Q. Or about your having analyzed or
18 studied the ransom note that was found at the
19 home of John and Patsy Ramsey?
20 A. I have told no reporter anything
21 that I'm doing in this case.
22 Q. Has any reporter called you about
23 anything you're doing in this case?
24 A. I don't believe they have, no.
25 Q. Have you spoken to any broadcast
1 entity, radio or television, or any cablecast
2 entity concerning the death of JonBenet Ramsey?
3 A. I have not, no.
4 Q. Did you authorize anyone to give
5 your report or any report you have given to
6 Mr. Darnay Hoffman to any news entity?
7 A. I have not.
8 Q. To any tabloid?
9 A. I have not.
10 Q. Did you know that it was given to
11 the tabloids?
12 A. I have seen the -- yes, in answer
13 to your question, I did know that it was given,
14 but I never gave permission for that.
15 Q. How do you know it was given?
16 A. I read it.
17 Q. What did you read and when?
18 A. I don't recall really when it was.
19 It was an article stating that -- basically my
21 Q. Do you recall in which publication
22 that was found?
23 A. It was in one of the trash, trash
24 sheets, the Globe or World or whatever those
25 things are called.
1 Q. Enquirer?
2 A. Enquirer, yeah, I guess it was the
4 Q. Did you suggest to Mr. Hoffman that
5 you'd prefer that not happen?
6 A. I didn't -- I didn't really discuss
7 it with him. I didn't feel it was my position
8 to tell him that.
9 Q. With respect -- jumping back to the
10 anthrax letters, did the United States government
11 ask you to study those letters?
12 A. No, they didn't.
13 Q. Or officially provide you with any
14 of those letters?
15 A. They did not, no. The news media
16 provided me with copies of the envelopes and the
18 Q. Did you ever see the original
19 anthrax envelopes or letters?
20 A. I did not see the originals, no.
21 MR. RAWLS: Let's take a brief
22 recess, if this is a convenient time.
23 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: This is the end
24 of Tape 1 to the deposition of Mr. Epstein.
25 The time is 11:34 a.m., and we're off the
3 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: This is Tape
4 Number 2 to the deposition of Mr. Epstein, the
5 time is 11:53 a.m. and we're back on the
7 BY MR. RAWLS:
8 Q. Mr. Epstein, have you kept records
9 of your own accuracy and your own errors during
10 your career as a questioned document examiner?
11 A. I have not, no.
12 Q. As best you recall, how many times
13 have you been mistaken on the authorship of a
15 A. To the best of my knowledge, if I
16 have made a mistake it's never been brought to
17 my attention.
18 Q. So is it your view that your success
19 at questioned document examination has been 100
20 percent throughout your career?
21 A. As I say, if I have made a mistake
22 in this work, it has never been brought to my
23 attention. So I'm not aware of my mistakes
24 that I've made in the identification of
1 Q. Have board-certified, by the right
2 board, the American Board of Forensic Document
3 Examiners, have board-certified examiners ever
4 disagreed with you before the case of the ransom
5 note in this case?
6 A. I'm sure they -- yes, they have,
7 certainly. In government service you don't have
8 as much disagreement as you have in the private
9 sector, but in some of the war crimes cases,
10 now that I think back, there were some document
11 examiners on the other side who did not conclude
12 the same way I did.
13 Q. Have judges ever disagreed with you?
14 A. Not to my knowledge, no.
15 Q. Have juries ever disagreed with your
17 A. Oh, I'm sure they have. That would
18 be almost an impossibility to have 100 percent
19 with juries.
20 Q. But you have never after the fact
21 looked back and said that your identification of
22 authorship of a questioned document has been
24 A. I have not.
25 Q. Not ever, not once.
1 A. Not once.
2 Q. Even after juries have disagreed.
3 A. Juries disagree for various reasons.
4 Q. Even after board-certified, qualified
5 document examiners have disagreed.
6 A. Absolutely.
7 Q. Now, when you first signed on to
8 accept this case on a pro bono basis while you
9 were still in government service sometime during
10 the year 2000 --
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. -- what documents had you examined
13 with reference to this case at that time?
14 A. I examined the copies of the ransom
15 note and I examined some normal course of
16 business standards of Patsy Ramsey.
17 Q. What ones in particular?
18 A. Could I refer to my notes?
19 Q. Please.
20 A. I examined a copy of a three-page
21 handprinted ransom note, and then as far as the
22 standards there was a copy of a two-page letter
23 dated Wednesday, June 4th that was signed,
24 "Fondly, Patsy and JonBenet."
25 I examined a copy of the inside of
1 a greeting card with the entry starting, "Hi,
2 Bob," and additional writing.
3 I examined a color copy of a
4 hand-printed sign. I examined some color copy
5 of package wrappers with the name Ramsey and
6 Ramsey Christmas written on it.
7 I examined a copy of a color
8 photograph with the writing Rainbow Fish Players.
9 I examined a copy of a photo album
10 pages with hand-printed entries, copy of an
11 ornamental circle with some handwriting in there.
12 I examined a two-page document which
13 was a copy of an entry form for the 1996
14 Lights of December parade bearing the known
15 handwriting of -- attributed to Patsy Ramsey.
16 Q. From whom had you received those
18 A. Those documents originally I received
19 from Larry Zieglar.
20 Q. What steps did you take to confirm
21 the authenticity of those documents and the fact
22 that they originated from the hand of Patsy
23 Ramsey at that time?
24 A. They were submitted to Larry Zieglar
25 as known writings, and I accepted them as known
2 Q. You did not independently seek to
3 verify that they were known writings of Patsy
5 A. I did not.
6 Q. By whom had Mr. Zieglar been hired,
7 if by anyone, to your knowledge?
8 A. By Mr. Darnay Hoffman.
9 Q. He disclosed that to you at the
11 A. Disclosed what?
12 Q. Mr. Zieglar disclosed to you that he
13 had been hired by Darnay Hoffman.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And for what purpose did Mr. Zieglar
16 tell you he had been hired?
17 A. To conduct the examinations of the
18 ransom note.
19 Q. With a view to doing what?
20 A. Attempting to identify its authorship.
21 Q. Well, actually, Mr. Hoffman's purpose,
22 you've known all along, was to try to pin the
23 ransom note on Patsy Ramsey; was it not?
24 A. Well, there was also a writing from
25 Mr. Ramsey that was also involved, and I don't
1 -- I don't use the word pinned on anyone.
2 The writing -- it was an examination
3 to establish authorship, and that was the known
4 writing that was submitted. If that was not
5 the writer, you know, in other words, you don't
6 -- I don't enter a case with a preconceived
7 notion of any writer having done a particular
8 writing. My findings rest on what I find once
9 I do the examination, and so I don't accept any
10 case with the notion that a particular writer
11 has been preidentified. That's what I do.
12 That's the purpose of my being there is to
13 determine that.
14 Q. Mr. Epstein, this was a yes or no
15 question, and I object to all of your remarks
16 just now that were something other than yes or
17 no as unresponsive.
18 Let me remind you of the question.
19 MR. ALTMAN: Let me object, Jim, in
20 all due respect. I'll object to that. I
21 think he did respond to the question.
22 Q. Here's the question, Mr. Epstein:
23 Mr. Hoffman's purpose, you've known all along,
24 was to try to pin the ransom note on Patsy
25 Ramsey; was it or was it not?
1 MR. ALTMAN: Objection to form.
2 A. Again, no, I didn't -- I was never
3 told when I was retained that the purpose of my
4 being retained was to pin the writing of the
5 ransom note on Patsy Ramsey.
6 Q. Now, did you at the time you were
7 first retained have a report from Cina Wong?
8 A. I did.
9 Q. Did you study it?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Did you read it?
12 A. I did read it.
13 Q. Did you know of her conclusion?
14 A. I know of her conclusions.
15 Q. At that time what was her
16 conclusion, as you recall?
17 A. Her conclusion was that Patsy Ramsey
18 wrote the ransom note.
19 Q. Now, as you sit here today, are you
20 telling us that when you first signed onto this
21 case in the year 2000 you did not know that
22 Darnay Hoffman had a prior history with regard
23 to the case of JonBenet Ramsey?
24 A. Quite honestly, I didn't know
25 Mr. Darnay Hoffman or his history as it involved
1 this case. I became involved in this case, and
2 when I did is when I learned of Mr. Hoffman's
3 involvement. I did not know prior to my
4 involvement in this case anything about him or
5 actually not very much about the case.
6 Q. Mr. Epstein, are you telling us
7 today under oath that when you took this case
8 pro bono you neither knew about or cared about
9 Darnay Hoffman's previous efforts with respect to
10 the murder of JonBenet Ramsey to blame her
12 A. I knew that Mr. Hoffman had been
13 working on this case for a number of years, and
14 I was aware of other document examiners, if you
15 will, and I put it in quotes, who examined the
17 But my entry into this case, as far
18 as I was concerned, had nothing to do with what
19 had been done previously or what any intentions
20 were. My entry into this examination was to
21 conduct an examination and be able to examine
22 the known handwriting of the people involved.
23 Q. Well, let's take the first words you
24 just used in the part of your answer that was
25 responsive. Quote, I knew that Mr. Hoffman had
1 been working on this case for a number of
2 years, end quote.
3 A. Right.
4 Q. What side did you know he was on?
5 A. Well, obviously I knew that he was
6 not on the Ramsey's side.
7 Q. You say obviously. Why was that
8 obvious to you?
9 A. Well, I was aware that -- actually,
10 I really don't know how much I was aware of at
11 the time. I was aware of very little.
12 I mean, Mr. Hoffman contacted Larry
13 Zieglar, who then contacted me and asked me to
14 take a look at this writing.
15 At that point in time I really
16 didn't know very much about the involvement of
17 Mr. Hoffman in the case or his past history.
18 All I knew was that he was representing
19 individuals who had sued the Ramseys, and,
20 therefore, I knew what side he was on. But as
21 far as the details or the other things that
22 went on, I was not familiar to them and I
23 really am not even today that familiar with it.
24 Q. Did you know that Mr. Hoffman had
25 been involved for years with the matter of
1 JonBenet Ramsey, even before he had the benefit
2 of having a client in the matter?
3 A. I did not, no.
4 Q. Have you ever met Darnay Hoffman?
5 A. I have not.
6 Q. Your only contact with Darnay Hoffman
7 has been by telephone and by correspondence?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. I'm going to show you, Mr. Epstein,
10 a copy of a letter from 1997 that was sent by
11 Darnay Hoffman to Thomas C. Miller, Esquire, of
12 Denver, Colorado.
13 This document, I'll tell you for the
14 benefit of yourself and Mr. Hoffman and
15 Mr. Altman, is Defendant's Exhibit-9 to the
16 deposition of Cina Wong, which was taken on May
17 13, 2002, Monday of this week.
18 Have you seen that document before,
20 A. No, I haven't.
21 Q. Mr. --
22 MR. WOOD: Ask him to read it.
23 Q. Would you please read that letter?
24 A. Okay.
25 Q. Have you, before today Mr. Epstein,
1 have you -- and since you didn't see the letter
2 before today, were you aware from Mr. Hoffman of
3 what he says in that letter before today?
4 A. No, I wasn't aware.
5 Q. Would you read, sir, please, into
6 the record Mr. Darnay Hoffman's remarks? And
7 I'll show you where I'd like for you to begin.
8 The second full paragraph of Mr. Hoffman's
9 remarks about Paul Osborn.
10 A. "You might be interested to know
11 that I spoke with handwriting expert Paul A.
12 Osborn, who is, as you probably already know,
13 the grandson of Albert S. and son of Albert D.
14 Osborn. He refuses to touch the Ramsey case
15 with a ten-foot pole. His reasons: He knows
16 the handwriting experts who gave their reports
17 to the defense team and to CBI -- four in all.
18 According to Osborn these experts are supposedly
19 top of their field. (He won't give me their
20 names) with impeccable ethical credentials.
21 Their verdict: the similarities between Patsy
22 and the ransom note writer's handwriting is at
23 the very lowest of the spectrum. There is
24 little or no basis for a match."
25 Q. The "he won't give me their names"
1 was in parentheses, was it not, of the letter?
2 A. Uh-huh.
3 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
4 5 was marked for identification).
5 Q. Mr. Epstein, I'm going to show you a
6 document that's been marked Defendant's
7 Exhibit-5. This purports to be a letter of
8 December 11, 1997 from John Paul Osborn,
9 forensic document examiner in New York, to
10 someone whose name has been obliterated. Have
11 you ever seen this document before?
12 A. I have not, no.
13 Q. This document, you will notice,
14 Mr. Epstein, has a BPD document number on it.
15 The BPD is the Boulder Police Department. Would
16 you take a look -- would you read this document
17 to yourself and familiarize yourself with its
18 contents for a moment?
19 MR. HOFFMAN: Evan, would you read
20 this document to yourself also, because I've
21 never heard of this document.
22 MR. ALTMAN: Okay.
23 Q. Have you finished reading that
24 document to yourself?
25 A. I have.
1 Q. And do you know John Paul Osborn?
2 A. I do, yes.
3 Q. Is he well-qualified?
4 A. He meets all the qualifications of
5 the profession.
6 Q. Is he an author of one of the texts
7 that you described earlier?
8 A. No, he's not.
9 Q. That was a different Osborn.
10 A. That was his father and grandfather.
11 Q. In fact, the name of his father is
12 on the same letterhead on Defendant's Exhibit 5;
13 is it not?
14 A. Albert, yes, Albert and Albert D.
15 Albert S. is the author of the books, and
16 Albert D. was his son.
17 Q. And who is Paul A. Osborn?
18 A. He's the son of Albert -- no, of --
19 John Paul Osborn is the son of Paul Osborn, who
20 is, I guess, the fifth generation.
21 Q. Would you please read into the
22 record the paragraph that's the fourth paragraph
23 of the letter, it begins with the words "in
24 your letter"?
25 A. "In your letter, which accompanied
1 the reproductions you submitted, you indicate
2 that you may wish to have a more detailed
3 analysis," in parentheses, "should I find any
4 similarities between the writing samples --"
5 MR. WOOD: Excuse me, the two
6 writing samples.
7 Q. The two writing samples.
8 A. "-- the two writing samples. There
9 are some similarities between the handprinting in
10 the ransom note and the writing you submit as
11 that of Christian Wolf. However, there are also
12 similarities between my own handprinting and that
13 on the questioned note, if you disregard the
14 poor line quality. Similarities, while playing
15 a role in the process of examination and
16 comparison of writing, are not as significant as
17 fundamental or significant differences. Many
18 people share common handwriting characteristics
19 and even been some distinctive handwriting
20 characteristics. The proper weight must be
21 given to differences which cannot be accounted
22 for by natural variation of a single writer."
23 Q. Do you agree with that paragraph you
24 have just read?
25 A. I agree with the paragraph, but not
1 its application in this case.
2 Q. Do you agree with that paragraph
3 with respect to Christian Wolf in this case?
4 A. No. I can't say, because I really
5 did not do a comprehensive examination of the
6 Christian Wolf writing.
7 Q. Why not?
8 A. Because I had already been working
9 on the handwriting of Patsy Ramsey, and after I
10 concluded that examination, which was more than
11 50 hours of work, I felt that I had identified
12 sufficient significant handwriting characteristics
13 with no significant differences, and that's where
14 I differ with Mr. Osborn is where he states
15 that there are significant differences.
16 There are no significant differences.
17 There are variations to the same basic
18 handwriting patterns, but there are no
19 significant differences. So once I've identified
20 a writer, there's no reason for me to examine
21 the handwriting of another person. If I didn't
22 identify it or if I had qualified the
23 identification, there would have been reason to
24 continue to look at other writers. But once
25 you've identified a person as having produced
1 the writing, there is no reason to look for
2 other writers.
3 Q. And what was the date that you made
4 that identification of Patsy Ramsey as the
5 author of the ransom note?
6 MR. ALTMAN: Do you need to refer
7 to something?
8 A. Well, there was a prior report to
9 this -- to the Article 26 report, so it was
10 the initial, the initial report that I
11 submitted, and let me see if I have that.
12 It was after the exemplars had all
13 been released to me, and I produced the report
14 prior to the Article 26 report, and that was
15 probably in late -- in late 2001, but I don't
16 have -- I don't have that particular report.
17 MR. WOOD: We have it. We have it,
18 we'll show it to you.
19 Q. Why did you look at Chris Wolf's
20 handwriting at all if you had already decided
21 who wrote the ransom note?
22 A. I didn't examine Chris Wolf's
23 writing. It had been sent in to me, and I
24 don't recall exactly at what point in time I
25 received it in relation to when I actually
1 completed the writing of Patsy Ramsey, but if I
2 had not completed that examination or if I had
3 not already reached a conclusion in the case,
4 then I would have probably examined that, but I
5 didn't because I had already completed my
6 examination of the Patsy Ramsey writing.
7 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
8 6 was marked for identification).
9 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim, just as a point
10 here, I never heard who the Paul Osborn letter
11 was addressed to.
12 MR. RAWLS: Darnay, the --
13 MR. WOOD: It's been redacted.
14 MR. RAWLS: There was a redaction
15 after the word "dear", so none of us has ever
16 seen the word or the name.
17 MR. HOFFMAN: So basically, for the
18 record, there is no identification as to who
19 that letter was sent to; is that correct? Do
20 you know who that letter was sent to?
21 MR. WOOD: It was in the Boulder
22 Police Department files.
23 MR. HOFFMAN: Oh, I see. Okay. Is
24 this something that was turned over to you by
25 the Boulder police?
1 MR. RAWLS: Yes.
2 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay. And they did
3 not identify through any other document or list
4 or anything else who the person that that was
5 addressed to, was addressed to.
6 MR. WOOD: No, they redacted the
8 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay.
9 MR. WOOD: The Boulder police did.
10 MR. HOFFMAN: All right, thank you.
11 BY MR. RAWLS:
12 Q. Mr. Epstein, I'm showing you
13 Defendant's Exhibit-6. Do you recognize that
14 document, sir?
15 A. Yes, that's the report, that's the
16 previous report.
17 Q. This is the only previous report
18 that you made in the year 2001 to Mr. Hoffman;
19 is it not, sir?
20 A. Yes, it is.
21 Q. There was not another written report
22 that you prepared other than this written report
23 to Mr. Hoffman and the Rule 26 report concerning
24 this case; am I correct?
25 A. I believe that's correct.
1 Q. This is important, so if there is
2 some other report that you have rendered, please
3 tell us now.
4 MR. ALTMAN: Well, Jim, if you're
5 asking are these the reports that were prepared
6 based on, you know, the actual reports, these
7 are the only reports, I think is what he's
9 If you're saying there was any other
10 communication between attorney and expert,
11 obviously we've communicated.
12 MR. HOFFMAN: And, Jim, I take it
13 to the best of Mr. Epstein's current
14 recollection; correct?
15 THE WITNESS: Yes, that's right.
16 There were correspondence over a couple of
17 years, but I believe that this is the only
18 report other than the Article 26 report.
19 Q. You had made only two written
20 reports, to the best of your knowledge,
21 concerning the ransom note found at the home of
22 John and Patsy Ramsey; true?
23 A. I believe so, yes.
24 Q. And I want to talk for a moment
25 about several parts of this exhibit, Defendant's
1 Exhibit 6, your report dated February 25, 2001.
2 And you're a trained questioned document
3 examiner, so I'd like for you to look at Page
4 3 and tell me is that, indeed, your signature?
5 A. It is.
6 Q. Back to Page 1, please, you have
7 listed several items as quote the known
8 documents on Page 1 and Page 2; have you not?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. You say, "Exhibit 2 is a copy of a
11 two-page letter dated Wednesday, June 4, signed
12 quote fondly, Patsy and JonBenet, end quote,
13 bearing known handwriting attributed to Patsy
15 A. That's attributed to Patsy Ramsey.
16 That's how it was given to me, and that's how
17 I have to accept it. I was not there when the
18 writing was done, so if someone gives me writing
19 and says this is the known writing of an
20 individual, then that is the writing -- that is
21 the way that I have to accept it.
22 Q. How did you verify that Exhibit 2
23 was, in fact, written by Patsy Ramsey?
24 A. By comparing it against other writing
25 within the known samples to see if there is
1 similarity in the same handwriting
3 Q. And to what documents did you
4 compare Exhibit 2?
5 A. Well, all of the documents were
6 compared one to the other. Whatever comparable
7 text there was within each document was compared
8 against similar texts if it appeared in other
10 As an example, like letter
11 combinations were compared to like letter
12 combinations; like letter forms were compared to
13 like letter forms within the various documents
14 that were submitted.
15 Q. Did you make notes of those
17 A. I did make notes. I don't have
18 those notes with me, however.
19 Q. Are they still in your office?
20 A. I'm sure they are, yes.
21 Q. Can you share those with us, please?
22 A. Certainly.
23 Q. Did you take any steps to
24 authenticate Exhibits 2 through 9? And I'm
25 using the exhibit numbers that you used in what
1 is Defendant's Exhibit 6 to this deposition.
2 Did you take any steps to verify that those
3 documents contained the handwriting of Patsy
4 Ramsey except to compare them to one another?
5 A. No, I did not.
6 Q. Did you ask Mr. Darnay Hoffman for
7 verification that those documents contained the
8 handwriting of Patsy Ramsey?
9 A. I asked Mr. Hoffman for additional
10 writings. I asked him from the very beginning
11 to attempt to locate the same normal course of
12 business writings that had been previously used
13 in the examinations when they were first done by
14 the Boulder people and by Howard Rile and the
15 Ramsey document examiners. That was something
16 that I requested from the very beginning of my
17 involvement in the case.
18 Q. Now, I first want to, before I
19 follow up on what you did answer, I want to
20 ask you please to answer the question I asked
21 you, which was this: Did you ask Mr. Darnay
22 Hoffman for verification that those documents
23 contained the handwriting of Patsy Ramsey?
24 That's a yes or a no.
25 A. I'm not sure that I can answer that
1 as a yes or a no, because -- and the reason is
2 because we spoke about known writings a lot, and
3 I made it, you know, clear that we would need
4 additional writings, additional known writings.
5 Whether I --
6 Q. I'm not talking about --
7 A. Whether I specifically asked that
8 these particular documents be further verified, I
9 don't believe I did.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 Now, why did you need additional
13 A. Because I didn't have enough verbatim
14 material. I didn't have enough of the same
15 words, the same letter combinations, repeated
16 sufficiently to be able to establish habituality,
17 to be able to establish handwriting patterns.
18 Q. And that's why you were constantly
19 seeking more writings.
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. Now, let's look at some of your
22 findings that are in Defendant's Exhibit 6.
23 First of all, Finding Number 1, you
24 state, and this is Page 2 of Defendant's Exhibit
25 6, "The handwriting on the ransom note is a
1 classic example of an attempt to disguise the
2 true handwriting habits of the writer."
3 In your judgment is it prudent for a
4 person who is writing by hand a ransom note to
5 try to disguise his or her handwriting?
6 A. It is prudent.
7 Q. You would be very surprised if the
8 author of a handwritten ransom note did not try
9 to disguise his or her handwriting; would you
10 not, sir?
11 A. It would be unusual.
12 Q. Now, did you, when you made this
13 finding about the ransom note itself, did you
14 consider whether the ransom note was written
15 under stress?
16 A. I did consider that.
17 Q. Did you find any indication that the
18 author of the ransom note had lapsed into an
19 earlier type or style of handwriting?
20 A. No. The poor line quality of the
21 writing can be attributed to stress, it could be
22 attributed to disguise, it could be attributed
23 to an unconscious return to an earlier form of
24 writing. But in my evaluation of the writing I
25 felt that it was most likely that it was --
1 the poor line quality was due to disguise,
2 rather than to other reasons.
3 Q. So you found no indication at all --
4 you did not conclude in 2001 and you do not
5 conclude now that the author of the ransom note
6 lapsed into earlier handwriting habits; am I
8 A. I found that the writing was of a
9 poor quality; that the writing, the
10 microstructure of the writing line was such that
11 it could have been either the person writing
12 under stress or a conscious attempt to disguise.
13 I felt there was more evidence of a conscious
14 attempt to disguise.
15 Q. You never ruled out the effect of
16 stress with regard to the handwriting in the
17 ransom note; did you, sir?
18 A. Not entirely, no.
19 Q. You never ruled it out in 2001, you
20 never ruled it out in the year 2000, and you
21 have not ruled it out today; have you, sir?
22 A. I haven't ruled out that it could be
23 a contributing factor to the poor line quality.
24 Q. And, as a matter of fact, is it
25 possible that the author of this ransom note was
1 not under stress, under severe stress, if the
2 author of the ransom note had murdered JonBenet
3 Ramsey shortly before writing the note or did
4 murder JonBenet Ramsey shortly after writing the
5 ransom note?
6 A. Are you asking would the person be
7 under stress at that time?
8 Q. I'm asking is it possible that the
9 author of the ransom note was not under stress?
10 A. I don't know how I could answer a
11 question like that. I mean, I have to go by
12 what I have in front of me to examine, and
13 based on my experience and having seen disguise
14 for so many years, I felt that it was more as
15 a result of disguise than it was as a result
16 of stress.
17 Q. Mr. Epstein, have you seen any of
18 the photographs that depict the brutality of the
19 murder of JonBenet Ramsey?
20 A. I have not.
21 Q. Have you read articles about the
22 brutality of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey?
23 A. I have not.
24 Q. Turn, please, to the third page of
25 Defendant's Exhibit 6. Am I correct,
1 Mr. Epstein, that you reminded Mr. Hoffman in
2 your paragraph numbered 3, found on Page 3 of
3 Defendant's Exhibit 6, that, "This forensic
4 examination was not undertaken with the belief
5 that a definitive finding concerning the
6 authorship of the note could be established with
7 the type and quantity of known writing presently
8 available, end quote?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. And what I've just read from your
11 report is true; isn't it?
12 A. It is true, yes.
13 Q. From what you had available, you
14 knew you could not make a definitive finding;
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. And, therefore, did you not make a
18 definitive finding; correct?
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. In fact, your whole purpose and your
21 whole assignment as you and Mr. Hoffman had
22 worked it out at that time, in February of
23 2001, or by that time, was to quote determine
24 if further forensic examinations of Patsy
25 Ramsey's handwriting is justified, end quote.
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. You said that was your purpose and,
3 indeed, it is true that that was your purpose;
5 A. That was my purpose.
6 Q. And you also told Mr. Hoffman
7 exactly what you needed; true?
8 A. I did.
9 Q. You needed the originals of Exhibits
10 2 through 9.
11 A. And we also discussed other known
13 Q. By this time in February 2001 when
14 you completed this report, how many hours had
15 you spent on the matter of this ransom note
16 assisting Darnay Hoffman?
17 A. Up to this point, the majority of
18 the time was involved with the ransom note
19 itself, not so much with the known writing,
20 because I recognized that the known writing was
21 inadequate for any kind of a definitive finding.
22 So the majority of the time, and I
23 would say, I don't know, 20, 25 hours, was
24 devoted to identifying the habitual handwriting
25 characteristics and the consistency of those
1 habits within the ransom note and to try to
2 identify whether or not the degree of disguise
3 would somehow limit the possibility of an
5 Q. And about how much time in total up
6 to now?
7 A. Once I received the exemplars, which
8 if you will recall in my report I relied on
9 the exemplars only in my report and not the
10 standards, when I stated my conclusions, after I
11 received the exemplars I devoted a great deal of
12 time to going over all of the handwriting of
13 Patsy Ramsey taken at various times to determine
14 whether or not I had enough and sufficient
15 significant handwriting characteristics in
16 comparison with the ransom note to be able to
17 reach any kind of a definitive conclusion.
18 Q. Mr. Epstein, by February 25, 2001,
19 how much total time had you spent assisting
20 Darnay Hoffman with regard to the ransom note
21 found at the home of John and Patsy Ramsey?
22 A. About 20 to 25 hours.
23 Q. Thank you. And let me make sure
24 that we're all clear, that before February 25,
25 2001 you had agreed, for the reasons you've told
1 us earlier, you had agreed to be an expert
2 witness and to assist Darnay Hoffman on a pro
3 bono basis; correct?
4 A. I had agreed to do the examinations
5 of the writing, right, on a --
6 Q. On a pro bono basis.
7 A. -- on a pro bono basis.
8 Q. For the reasons you've given us
10 A. Exactly.
11 Q. When did you first see the original
12 of the ransom note in this case?
13 A. I've never seen the original of the
14 ransom note.
15 Q. Well, what generation copy was the
16 copy you saw?
17 A. I couldn't tell you what generation
18 it was because I don't know -- it was not
19 possible to establish from the copy I received
20 what generation it was, but it was a copy that
21 was sufficient in quality to identify those
22 areas of the handwriting that had to be
24 Q. When did you first see the original
25 of what you in your report refer to as Exhibit
2 A. I never received -- I don't believe
3 I received copies -- could I look at my next
5 Q. Please, indeed.
6 A. Yes, I always referred to those
7 documents as copies. I don't believe I was
8 ever given the originals of those documents.
9 Q. You say those documents. I was
10 asking you about Exhibit 2.
11 A. Exhibit 2.
12 Q. Did you ever receive or review or
13 see the original of Exhibit 3?
14 A. No, nor 4, nor 5, nor 6, nor 7, nor
15 8, nor 9.
16 Q. To your knowledge, Mr. Epstein, have
17 any of your reports been sent to the Boulder
18 Police Department?
19 A. I would have no knowledge of that.
20 If they have, I'm not aware of it.
21 Q. Did Mr. Hoffman not tell you that he
22 was going to send your report to the Boulder
24 A. He did not.
25 Q. You did not authorize that?
1 A. I was not aware of it.
2 Q. Have you ever spoken to anyone with
3 the Boulder police?
4 A. I have not.
5 Q. Have you ever spoken to anyone with
6 the district attorney's office in Colorado that
7 investigated the murder of JonBenet Ramsey?
8 A. I have not.
9 Q. In 1996, 1997, 1998 or 1999, were
10 you contacted by any law enforcement
11 representatives with respect to the authorship of
12 the ransom note found at the home of John and
13 Patsy Ramsey?
14 A. I was not.
15 Q. Did you volunteer your assistance in
16 any way in 1996, 1997, 1998 or 1999 to any law
17 enforcement official with respect to the ransom
18 note or its authorship?
19 A. I did write actually two letters.
20 When I became familiar with the case, and, I
21 think, in fact, I may have even mentioned it to
22 Mr. Hoffman, I did contact the previous district
23 attorney's office in Boulder, along with my CV,
24 offering my services on a pro bono basis, and I
25 never received an answer from him.
1 When the new district attorney took
2 office, I did the same thing. I wrote a
3 letter to her and also never received a reply.
4 Q. Can you tell us approximately the
5 dates that you wrote those letters?
6 A. I believe I have a copy of the
7 second letter. I don't believe I have a copy
8 of the first letter.
9 The dates, the letter going to the
10 present one was shortly after she took office,
11 when she replaced the previous district attorney,
12 and the original letter, I really can't recall
13 when that was. I mean, it was after I had had
14 an opportunity to look at the writing and study
15 the note, but prior to my being retained by
16 Mr. Hoffman.
17 Q. Do you have any of those letters
18 here with you today?
19 A. I do not, no.
20 Q. Do you have the second letter back
21 in your office?
22 A. I do.
23 Q. Can you please share that with us?
24 A. Certainly.
25 Q. Is there a copy of the first letter
1 back in your office?
2 A. No. I looked for the first letter.
3 Actually, I don't know why it wasn't in my
4 files or my database. But I couldn't locate
5 the first one. But I did send one and they
6 may have it, I don't know.
7 Q. And did you, in either one of those
8 letters, did you volunteer any conclusion about
9 the matter?
10 A. I did not.
11 Q. Any opinion about the matter?
12 A. I did not.
13 Q. Did you hold any opinion about the
15 A. The only thing I stated was that I
16 felt that I could be of assistance to them, and
17 that I would be willing to work the case on a
18 pro bono basis.
19 Q. At that time had you seen any
20 reproduction or copy of the ransom note in any
21 medium whatsoever?
22 A. I did have copies of the ransom
23 note, yes.
24 Q. How had you obtained them?
25 A. I believe that those copies were
1 given to me by Mr. Zieglar, but it was prior
2 to my involvement with Mr. Hoffman. I had
3 already seen -- or seen the copies of the
4 ransom note, and I had also seen some of the
5 known writing --
6 Q. Of?
7 A. -- of Patsy Ramsey.
8 Q. But you did not say so to the
9 Boulder district attorney.
10 A. I did not, no. All I was doing was
11 telling -- I simply offered my services to them.
12 Q. Did you ever get a phone call in
14 A. No, I never received any answer from
16 Q. Had you reached any conclusion when
17 you wrote your second letter to the Boulder
18 district attorney?
19 A. No, I hadn't, because I had not done
20 all of the examinations that were necessary.
21 All I was doing was offering my services to do
22 the examinations.
23 Q. When did you first do a detailed
24 study of the ransom note itself?
25 A. It was probably around the end of --
1 the end of 2000 or the very beginning of 2001
2 when I was given copies of the ransom note.
3 Q. Did you draw up a master plan as a
4 result of your study of the ransom note?
5 A. A master plan?
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. I don't know what you mean by that.
8 I went through the note and identified the
9 significant handwriting similarities, and I
10 numbered the lines, I identified various
11 combinations of habits that were repeated
12 throughout the note. I studied the writing over
13 a considerable period of time. I did those
14 kinds of things.
15 But as far as a master plan, I'm
16 not sure what you mean by that.
17 Q. And did you commit to writing your
18 observations about the ransom note that you've
19 just described to us, the significant handwriting
20 similarities, the various combinations of habits
21 that were repeated throughout the note?
22 A. They were reflected in my work right
23 here (indicating).
24 Q. Well, you're showing us pages of
25 your report, but did you, when you first studied
1 the ransom note, create a written document or
2 any notes that --
3 A. I did not.
4 Q. -- summarized your study of the
5 ransom note?
6 A. What I created was the information
7 that led to the creation of these charts.
8 Q. And did you create that in writing?
9 A. I did not create it in writing. I
10 created it through actually cutting out the
11 various combinations and various words within the
12 ransom note and comparing them against the known
13 similar writings from the exemplars.
14 Q. When you wrote your first letter to
15 the Boulder district attorney, this being Alex
16 Hunter, I assume; am I correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Had you at that time seen the ransom
20 A. Yes, I had.
21 Q. Had you at that time seen any
22 documents attributed to Patsy Ramsey?
23 A. Yes, I had seen some copies of the
24 normal course of business writings.
25 Q. And are those exhibits listed in
1 your report?
2 A. They are.
3 Q. Which ones, please?
4 A. I believe they were the Exhibits 2
5 through 9.
6 Q. So you had seen Exhibits 2 through
7 9, as you used those numbers in your report
8 dated February 25, 2001, at the time of your
9 first and at the time of your second letter to
10 the Boulder district attorney.
11 A. I did not identify any exhibits in
12 my letter.
13 Q. No, sir, my question is different.
14 You had seen --
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. -- Exhibits 2 through 9 as you used
17 those numbers in your February 25, 2001 report
18 before either one of your letters to the Boulder
19 district attorney that you've told us about
20 today; true?
21 A. Would you ask that again? I'm not
22 sure exactly what you're asking.
23 Q. You wrote to district attorney Alex
24 Hunter volunteering your services.
25 A. Right.
1 Q. You later wrote to his successor,
2 Mary Keenan; did you not, sir?
3 A. Right, that was the name, yes.
4 Q. And before sending the first of
5 those letters, you had seen both the ransom note
6 and Exhibits 2 through 9, as you use those
7 exhibit numbers in your February 25, 2001
9 A. I had seen -- I had seen those
10 exhibits, yes.
11 Q. And did you state in either one of
12 those letters that there was any indication
13 known to you that Patsy Ramsey authored the
14 ransom note?
15 A. I did not.
16 Q. And did you have any information or
17 conclusion or opinion at the time you wrote
18 either letter that --
19 A. No, and I didn't -- and I didn't --
20 Q. -- excuse me, let me finish, please.
21 Mr. Epstein, this is an important
23 A. I --
24 Q. Mr. Wolf is accusing Patsy Ramsey of
1 A. Right.
2 Q. He's accusing John Ramsey of covering
3 it up, and it's important that this record has
4 both my question and your answer.
5 A. I understand.
6 Q. So would you please let me finish?
7 A. Certainly.
8 Q. When you wrote district attorney Alex
9 Hunter and when you wrote district attorney
10 Keenan, did you hold any opinion or conclusion
11 that there was any indication that Patsy Ramsey
12 authored the ransom note?
13 A. I did not. I -- from what I had
14 seen, I felt that there were additional
15 examinations that were warranted, and that I
16 felt that if additional known writing that was
17 necessary to do a proper examination could be
18 collected and obtained, that an examination could
19 be conducted.
20 Q. In volunteering your services or
21 assistance to the Boulder district attorney, did
22 you inform the Boulder district attorney that
23 your investigation would be limited to Patsy
25 A. No, I did not.
1 Q. Did you suggest that your examination
2 would involve Patsy Ramsey?
3 A. No, I did not.
4 Q. Did you use the name of any person
5 in your letter --
6 A. I didn't.
7 Q. -- other than JonBenet Ramsey?
8 A. I did not. I did not indicate in
9 any way which way, you know, I would reach any
10 kind of conclusion. My whole point of this and
11 what I've always said from the beginning is that
12 I just felt that there was not -- a sufficient
13 type or proper examination had not been
15 Q. Did you ask the Boulder district
16 attorney to furnish you the originals of
17 Defendant's Exhibits --
18 A. No, I didn't, because I first --
19 Q. -- I'm sorry, of Exhibits 2 through
21 A. I did not ask them for anything. I
22 was simply introducing myself.
23 Q. Turn with me, please, to Page 3,
24 again of Defendant's Exhibit 6. At the top of
25 the page in the first full sentence on that
1 page your report states as follows: "Based on
2 the presently available documents, there are
3 strong indications that Patsy Ramsey is the
4 author of the ransom note."
5 Did I read that correctly?
6 A. You did. Strong indications is not
7 a definitive conclusion, it's only indications.
8 There were characteristics within the known
9 writing that I had at that time that were
10 comparable, and that were -- that if additional
11 known writing could be obtained of a sufficient
12 amount that there were indications that the
13 findings could be strengthened, but at this
14 point in time, it was strictly indications.
15 Q. When you wrote Alex Hunter and
16 volunteered your assistance, did you tell him
17 there were such strong indications?
18 A. I did not.
19 Q. Did you believe there were?
20 A. Myself?
21 Q. Yes, sir.
22 A. In my own mind, I believed there
23 were. But I never expressed them to anyone.
24 Q. When you wrote to district attorney
25 Keenan and volunteered your assistance, did you
1 tell her that in your judgment there were quote
2 strong indications close quote?
3 A. No, I did not. I did not.
4 Q. Did you believe there were?
5 A. I believed there were, but I didn't
6 express it.
7 MR. RAWLS: All right. This is a
8 good time for a lunch break.
9 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Off the record at
10 12:56 p.m.
12 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: On the record at
13 2:12 p.m.
14 BY MR. RAWLS:
15 Q. Mr. Epstein, in 1996, 1997, 1998 and
16 1999, what was your familiarity with the murder
17 investigation into the death of JonBenet Ramsey?
18 A. Only what I had read in the
19 newspapers and magazines, which was just
20 basically a description of the crime. I didn't
21 know any more than the average person who read
22 the paper.
23 Q. Have you read about the lawsuit
24 which Mr. Darnay Hoffman had filed against
25 district attorney Alex Hunter?
1 A. No, I didn't.
2 Q. Were you aware that Mr. Hoffman had
3 sued and claimed that the district attorney,
4 Alex hunter, should be required to charge the
5 Ramseys with murder?
6 A. No, I'm not familiar with that.
7 Q. Do you know the outcome of that
9 A. I don't, no.
10 Q. That's never been shared with you by
11 Mr. Hoffman.
12 A. No.
13 Q. Or by anybody else.
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did you review any handwriting report
16 of Larry Zieglar?
17 A. Yes, I did.
18 Q. With respect to the ransom note?
19 A. Right.
20 Q. Left -- or found at the home of
21 John and Patsy Ramsey?
22 A. The initial report. I don't believe
23 he ever did a final Article 26 report.
24 Q. And when did you read the initial
25 report of Larry Zieglar?
1 A. As far as the date, I really can't
2 tell you. He -- after he had done the
3 examination he showed me the report and asked me
4 to read it over to see if it -- you know, if
5 there was anything that I saw in there that he
6 had left out or, you know, that didn't -- where
7 he didn't use the proper wording or whatever.
8 It was just basically to see if it
9 was -- if he had covered the subjects that he
10 was required to cover, that kind of thing. I
11 don't even really recall, you know, exactly what
12 he had said in the report because we did our
13 work independently. He did his examinations and
14 I did mine. And -- but I did have occasion to
15 see his report prior to him finalizing it.
16 Q. Did you see any report of his in
17 the year 2000?
18 A. I only saw one report. I don't
19 know whether that was the report in 2000 or
20 whether it was a different report.
21 Q. Well, let me --
22 A. I think he only provided one report.
23 I don't know.
24 Q. He only provided one to you; is that
1 A. I've only seen one that I know of.
2 Q. And do you know if you saw that
3 while you were still employed by the Immigration
4 and Naturalization Service?
5 A. I believe I was.
6 Q. Did you see Larry Zieglar's report
7 before you were retained by Darnay Hoffman?
8 A. I think I had already been retained
9 by Darnay Hoffman and I think I had just
10 retired. Really, the date of when I first saw
11 it is not that clear in my mind, but I recall
12 that -- I think that I had already been
14 Q. And what did you tell Larry Zieglar
15 about whether his report covered the subjects
16 that it should cover?
17 A. I recall that there was nothing in
18 the report that I really found, you know, that
19 I could comment on. I mean, I read the
20 report, it sounded fine. Larry Zieglar writes
21 a, you know, a good report, he's been writing
22 them for years. I think he just wanted to
23 show it to me, basically, before he sent it
24 out. But I don't recall making any comments
25 about anything that he had to change in the
2 Basically it was -- it covered, I
3 imagine, whatever it was supposed to cover. I
4 don't really recall.
5 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
6 7 was marked for identification).
7 Q. Mr. Epstein, let me show you
8 Defendant's Exhibit-7 and ask you to take a look
9 at it, please, and tell us if this is the
10 report you saw.
11 A. This looks like, best of my
12 recollection, what I remember seeing.
13 Q. Did you copy from Mr. Zieglar's
14 report any language for your own?
15 A. I did not. Mr. Zieglar saw my
16 report. I don't know whether he saw my report
17 first or his report came to me first. I just
18 don't remember the sequence of events, but I
19 know that I didn't take anything from his
21 Q. Let me share with you, or ask you
22 to focus, please, on the following language on
23 Page 2 of Defendant's Exhibit 7, and this is
24 from the paragraph numbered 2.
25 A. Okay.
1 Q. It's in the sentence beginning "but
2 rather", and the quote I want to --
3 A. You said Page 2?
4 Q. Page 2, Number 2.
5 A. Okay.
6 Q. The language --
7 A. Oh, but rather. I see it, yes.
8 Q. Do you see the language that
9 follows, quote was undertaken to determine if
10 further forensic examinations of Patsy Ramsey's
11 handwriting is warranted. Do you see that?
12 A. Uh-huh.
13 Q. Did I read it correctly?
14 A. You did.
15 Q. That identical verbatim language is
16 found in Paragraph 3 of your report, which is
17 Defendant's Exhibit 6. How can you account for
18 that, please?
19 A. I can account for that because my
20 report -- Larry Zieglar saw my report before I
21 saw his report and he probably borrowed that
22 sentence. We were asked -- we were asked the
23 same questions. We were asked to establish the
24 same thing.
25 After I had done my draft report, I
1 know I showed it to Larry, he showed me his,
2 and now that that's in there I know that I
3 didn't take it from him, so if it's the same
4 sentence then he must have taken it from mine
5 because I didn't take it from his report.
6 Q. And would I be correct in stating
7 this as fact, Mr. Epstein: Before you finalized
8 your 2001 report to Mr. Hoffman you showed it
9 to Larry Zieglar; is that true?
10 A. After I had done my examination,
12 Q. And before Larry Zieglar finalized
13 his 2001 report, which is Defendant's Exhibit 7,
14 he shared it with you.
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. And at least one of you borrowed
17 language of the other.
18 A. It appears to be. But I can tell
19 you that I did not borrow his language, so
20 therefore he must have borrowed mine.
21 Q. Did you suggest any language for
22 Mr. Zieglar's report?
23 A. No, I didn't suggest any language.
24 Larry was well aware of the limitations that we
25 had at the time, and his examinations -- it's
1 not unusual to come to similar language because
2 basically in questioned document work there are
3 certain standard sentences that are used in
4 different types of conclusions, and we were both
5 working with the same documents, we both came to
6 the same conclusions. But as far as that
7 particular sentence, it's very possible that he
8 borrowed it from me.
9 Q. Well, when you read his report
10 before he completed it, did it strike you as
11 strange that he used verbatim identical
12 phrases --
13 A. I really --
14 Q. -- from your report?
15 A. I'm sorry for interrupting you. But
16 I really didn't remember that that sentence was
17 verbatim from mine when I read it. I mainly
18 was looking to see whether the exhibits were
19 listed, whether or not, you know, he had
20 answered the question. But as far as the words
21 that he used, I wasn't really that concerned
22 with it.
23 Q. Who is James Gardiner?
24 A. James Gardiner?
25 Q. Yes, sir.
1 A. I think he's the individual that I
2 also received some writing from, or he was
3 somehow involved, I think he was a homeless
4 person. Is this the homeless person that was
5 living in --
6 Q. I don't know, I'm asking you.
7 A. And I say, my memory is very sketchy
8 because I didn't really do very much with
9 anything from James Gardiner, but I remember
10 that the name rings a bell, but I'm not
11 specific as to exactly who he is.
12 Q. So Mr. Darnay Hoffman furnished you
13 with handwriting exemplars which he told you
14 were from Patsy Ramsey; correct?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. He furnished you with handwriting
17 exemplars which he told you were from Chris
18 Wolf; is that correct?
19 A. I believe so, yes.
20 Q. And he furnished you with handwriting
21 exemplars which he told you were from James
22 Gardiner; am I correct about that as well?
23 A. Whether those were exemplars or some
24 other kind of writing, I did receive something
25 from James Gardiner, but I don't know if you
1 could classify them as exemplars, that is
2 collect writings, or not. I don't believe they
3 were exemplars. I think they were some kind of
5 Q. Now, did you eliminate Chris Wolf as
6 the author of the ransom note based on Chris
7 Wolf's handwriting alone at any time?
8 A. No, I didn't, because again --
9 Q. "No" is sufficient, Mr. Epstein.
10 A. Okay.
11 Q. Did you at any time eliminate James
12 Gardiner as the author of the ransom note based
13 on his own handwriting alone?
14 A. I did not, no.
15 Q. Now, you gave a Rule 26 report to
16 Mr. Hoffman containing a conclusion of yours
17 that Patsy Ramsey authored the ransom note; did
18 you not, sir?
19 A. I did.
20 Q. What is your degree of certainty
21 yourself as you sit here today that Patsy Ramsey
22 wrote the note?
23 A. I am absolutely certain that she
24 wrote the note.
25 Q. Is that 60 percent certain?
1 A. No, that's 100 percent certain.
2 Q. You are 100 percent certain that
3 Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom note in this case;
4 is that your testimony?
5 A. Yes, it is.
6 Q. And the word 100 percent came out of
7 your mouth, not mine; correct?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. At least first.
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. And you are an individual who, to
12 the best of your knowledge, has never made an
13 error in determining the authorship of a
14 document; am I correct?
15 A. As I stated, if I have, and it's
16 very possible that I have, it's never been
17 brought to my attention.
18 Q. You will acknowledge that as a human
19 being the possibility of error is a part of
20 your genetic makeup.
21 A. Absolutely.
22 Q. But you will not testify that
23 there's any possibility of a mistake on your
24 part with respect to Patsy Ramsey; am I correct?
25 A. No, that's -- in regards to Patsy
1 Ramsey I feel that the conclusion that I reached
2 is the correct one, and that is that she is
3 the author of that note.
4 Q. And again, that is with not just a
5 little bit certainty, that is with 100 percent
6 positive conviction.
7 A. Yes, sir.
8 Q. Do you know Lou Smit?
9 A. Lou Smith. I don't believe so.
10 Q. Do you know who he is?
11 A. I don't think so.
12 Q. Have you seen him on television?
13 A. Not that I can recall.
14 Q. You are, by the way -- you have had
15 some contact with Nebraska, I believe I recall
16 in your testimony and in your resume. I
17 believe that was your college; is it not?
18 A. Right.
19 Q. University of Nebraska? Did you
20 ever come to know Mr. Robert Stratbucker?
21 A. I don't believe so.
22 Q. Do you know who he is?
23 A. I don't.
24 Q. Mr. Epstein, Lou Smit, for your
25 information, is a retired former homicide
1 investigator who was asked by the Boulder Police
2 Department to come out of retirement and assist
3 in the investigation into the murder of JonBenet
4 Ramsey. Does that ring a bell for you of any
6 A. No.
7 Q. That does not help you determine who
8 he is.
9 A. No.
10 Q. We have in the case called upon
11 Mr. Smit to share some of the results of his
12 investigation, and we've asked him to place that
13 in evidence and I'm going to share with you
14 some of the portions of Lou Smit's own personal
15 presentation as he has shared it with us.
16 Would you please mark this
17 Defendant's Exhibit-8, I believe is next.
18 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
19 8 was marked for identification).
20 Q. Mr. Epstein, this is a series, this
21 Defendant's Exhibit 8 which I'm about to hand
22 you, is a series of one, two, three, four,
23 five, six, seven pages of information which
24 comes -- these pages come from one portion of
25 Lou Smit's presentation.
1 First, Mr. Smit -- and this is Page
2 1, if I could ask you to direct your attention,
3 please, to this case. Mr. Smit identifies six
4 individuals who have evaluated the ransom note.
5 First I want to ask you, are you familiar with
6 Chet Ubowski?
7 A. I've met him many years ago. I'm
8 not really acquainted with him, but I think I've
9 met him.
10 Q. Do you know that he is --
11 A. I do know that he's a document
12 examiner at the Colorado bureau.
13 Q. Have you seen his name in the press
14 reports you have followed about the Ramsey case?
15 A. I have, yes.
16 Q. Do you know Leonard Speckin?
17 A. He's a chemist. Yes, I know him.
18 Q. Is he a qualified document examiner?
19 A. Not in my view, no.
20 Q. Do you know Edwin Alford?
21 A. Ed Alford I've known for many years.
22 Q. Is he a qualified document examiner?
23 A. He is.
24 Q. Do you know Lloyd Cunningham?
25 A. I do know him, yes.
1 Q. Is he a qualified document examiner?
2 A. He has all of the credentials.
3 Q. Do you mean to say he is or he is
5 A. I really don't know much about his
7 Q. But by all of the credentials, does
8 that include board certification?
9 A. I believe he's board certified. I'm
10 not sure.
11 Q. By the proper board, not by the --
12 A. Yeah, whenever I say board certified
13 I'm only assuming one board. And I believe he
14 is, but I don't really know for sure.
15 Q. Do you know Richard Dusick?
16 A. Secret Service, yes.
17 Q. Is he a qualified document examiner?
18 A. Best of my knowledge, he is.
19 Q. The Secret Service is more often
20 involved with criminal investigations than the
21 INS is; is it not, sir?
22 A. Dusick has a special job there. He
23 works with a particular database. I don't know
24 how much actual handwriting work he does.
25 I mean, he works with what's known
1 as the Fish database, it's a database for
2 handwriting, and he's pretty much responsible for
3 that. But I have -- you know, I have no
4 qualms about his qualification.
5 Q. What is the Fish database?
6 A. It's an automated database that was
7 developed by the Germans to track similar
8 handwriting characteristics, and they use it for
9 their threatening letters against the president
10 and members of the cabinet.
11 What they do is they capture these
12 particular notes and later they're able to
13 search these notes by handwriting characteristics
14 to see whether or not that particular writer has
15 ever been identified before, ever written a note
17 Q. And now back to the question that I
18 asked you a couple of questions ago, is this
19 true or is this false, that the Secret Service
20 is more often involved with criminal
21 investigations than is the INS?
22 A. That's true.
23 Q. Thank you. And do you know Howard
25 A. I do.
1 Q. Is he a qualified document examiner?
2 A. He meets all the qualifications.
3 Q. And you don't mean to be criticizing
4 him or his skills when you say that; do you?
5 A. Again, I've never really seen Howard
6 Rile's work. I know that he's one of the
7 busiest private document examiners in the
8 country. Probably has one of the largest
9 practices, and he's been doing it for 20 years,
10 so -- but I've never seen his work. We've
11 never been involved in the same case. So he
12 meets all the qualifications.
13 Q. The fact is you have never seen his
14 work before this case.
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. Am I correct? You have seen it in
17 this case; have you not?
18 A. I have.
19 Q. You have seen Lloyd Cunningham's work
20 in this case.
21 A. I have.
22 Q. Turn, please, to Page 2 of
23 Defendant's Exhibit 8. And according, at least,
24 to Lou Smit's presentation, Chet Ubowski of the
25 CBI found indications, that's the first bullet
2 The second bullet point is Chet
3 Ubowski found there is evidence which indicates
4 that the ransom note may have been written by
5 Patsy Ramsey.
6 You found the same to be true, did
7 you not, sir? There is such evidence.
8 A. Yes, I did.
9 Q. Mr. Ubowski, however, went on to
10 find, according to Lou Smit, as we see it here
11 in Defendant's Exhibit 8, that, quote, the
12 evidence falls short of that necessary to
13 support a definite conclusion, end quote. Did
14 you know before today that Mr. Ubowski had
15 reached that conclusion?
16 A. I don't believe I knew exactly what
17 conclusion he had reached, but I believe I did
18 know that he had some degree of indications. I
19 knew that his conclusion of the document
20 examiners that had been retained or used was the
21 strongest of the others, as compared to the
23 Q. Where did you get the information
24 you've just told us that you knew?
25 A. Recently I was given a list of the
1 document examiners that had work on the case.
2 Q. From whom?
3 A. From, I think, Mr. Darnay Hoffman.
4 Q. Do you have that with you?
5 A. No, I don't.
6 Q. Do you have it in your office?
7 A. I don't know that I even kept it.
8 It may be in my office, but I didn't consider
9 it, you know, that important.
10 Q. We would like a copy if you can
11 find that, please, sir.
12 A. Okay.
13 Q. When was the first time that you had
14 any information about Chet Ubowski's findings or
15 conclusions concerning the Ramsey note in this
17 A. Well, I knew that Chet Ubowski had
18 worked on the case because he was a member of
19 the Colorado bureau and I think he was the
20 senior person in the Colorado bureau, or he's
21 not. But anyway, I knew that he was there.
22 I knew that he had worked on it,
23 but I did not know what his findings or
24 conclusions were up until recently when I
25 received the note or the letter stating who the
1 different --
2 Q. How recently did you receive the
3 note or letter from Darnay Hoffman stating who
4 the different document examiners were who were
5 involved in the case?
6 A. I don't know. It might have been
7 30 days, 45 days ago. I mean, it was fairly
9 Q. It was after you did your Rule 26
10 report in this case.
11 A. Yes, it was.
12 Q. Let's turn to the next page, please,
13 of Defendant's Exhibit 8, that being the page
14 concerning Leonard Speckin.
15 A. Speckin.
16 Q. Speckin, thank you. According to
17 Lou Smit's presentation, Mr. Speckin is a police
18 expert and a private forensic document analyst.
19 Do you agree that those are among Mr. Speckin's
21 A. I know that that's what he
22 advertises himself to be, yes.
23 Q. When did you learn of Mr. Speckin's
24 conclusions about the ransom note?
25 A. At the same time as I did about all
1 the others, about 30 to --
2 Q. Thirty to forty-five days ago.
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. When Mr. Hoffman sent you that
5 letter did he send you these pages from Lou
6 Smit's report?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Did Mr. Hoffman send you information
9 that is consistent with this page that you're
10 now looking at, which is Page 3 of Defendant's
11 Exhibit 8?
12 A. So far it is, yes.
13 Q. Is it consistent with the entire
14 page of -- the entire third page of Defendant's
15 Exhibit 8?
16 A. I believe it's very similar to what
17 I read. I can't be sure that it's word for
18 word, but it's basically the same thing.
19 Q. According to Mr. Smit, and apparently
20 according to what you received independently from
21 Darnay Hoffman, Mr. Speckin concluded quote I
22 can find no evidence that Patsy Ramsey disguised
23 her handprinting exemplars, end quote.
24 Do you yourself agree that there's
25 no evidence that Patsy Ramsey disguised her
1 handprinting exemplars?
2 A. No, I don't agree.
3 Q. Okay. Mr. Speckin also, according
4 to Lou Smit and apparently also according to
5 what Mr. Hoffman shared with you before today,
6 but sometime this year, am I correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Mr. Speckin also concluded, quote,
9 when I compare the handprinting habits of Patsy
10 Ramsey with those presented in the questioned
11 ransom note, there exists agreement to the
12 extent that some of her individual letter
13 formations and letter combinations do appear in
14 the ransom note, end quote.
15 Now, you would agree with that
16 bullet point; would you not, sir?
17 A. I would substitute the word "some"
18 for a different word, but I would not say some.
19 I would say all.
20 Q. You would edit one word.
21 A. Well, in that particular sentence.
22 Q. Exactly. And Mr. Speckin went on,
23 did he not, according to Lou Smit and to
24 previous information you received this year from
25 Darnay Hoffman, to conclude, "When this agreement
1 is weighed against the number, type and
2 consistency of the differences present, I am
3 unable to identify Patsy Ramsey as the author of
4 the questioned ransom note with any degree of
5 certainty. I am, however, unable to eliminate
6 her as the author."
7 It is proper in the field of
8 document examination, is it not, sir, to
9 consider differences as well as similarities?
10 A. Absolutely.
11 Q. And you yourself are unable to
12 eliminate Patsy Ramsey as the author; are you
14 A. I'm unable to eliminate her?
15 Q. Yes, sir.
16 A. I have identified her.
17 Q. You're unable to eliminate her, am I
18 not correct?
19 A. I could not eliminate her, no.
20 Q. Let's turn to the next page on Edwin
21 F. Alford, Jr. This is Page 4 of Defendant's
22 Exhibit 8. Did you learn about Mr. Alford's
23 conclusions from Darnay Hoffman this year for
24 the first time as well?
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. Did Mr. Hoffman's information given
2 to you this year agree with Lou Smit's summary
3 on Page 4 of Defendant's Exhibit 8?
4 A. As I remember it, it's close to
5 this, to the same thing.
6 Q. He too did not find quote a basis
7 for identifying Patricia Ramsey as the writer of
8 the letter, end quote, as you understand the
9 facts; am I correct?
10 A. That's what he says, yes.
11 Q. Indeed, as Lou Smit characterizes it,
12 he found quote lack of indications, end quote.
13 A. That's what he says.
14 Q. Now, if you assume, as you were told
15 by Darnay Hoffman and as Lou Smit tells us in
16 these three pages we have just seen, that Chet
17 Ubowski did find what is summarized on Page 2,
18 that Leonard Speckin did find what is summarized
19 on Page 3, and that Edwin Alford did find what
20 is summarized on Page 4, is it your best
21 judgment that these men were dishonest or
23 A. I wish I could tell you that I knew
24 what caused them to reach their conclusions, but
25 obviously I don't. But I do have my own
1 feelings as to how the chain of events, starting
2 from the very beginning, led up to a number of
3 other document examiners coming to the same
4 conclusion. And if you would like me to tell
5 you what that is, I will.
6 Q. Do you base it on facts?
7 A. No, I can't base it on fact. I can
8 base it on my experience with these people and
9 with the profession as I know it, and what
10 happens within a profession as small as this
12 Q. Let me ask you to turn for a moment
13 past the Lloyd Cunningham page to the page on
14 Richard Dusick. And I think there may be a
15 spelling error on this page of Lou Smit's
16 materials, but this is the next to last page.
17 Do you see that?
18 A. Richard Dusick.
19 Q. Yes, sir.
20 A. Okay, I have it.
21 Q. Did Mr. Hoffman give you earlier
22 this year for the first time a summary of
23 Mr. Dusick's conclusions that is consistent with
24 Lou Smit's presentation page on Richard Dusick?
25 A. Prior to receiving the letter that
1 had all of these document examiners on it, I
2 had heard, I believe from someone in the Secret
3 Service or some document examiner in the
4 government, that Richard Dusick had done some
5 examinations in the case, and that he had --
6 they didn't tell me exactly what his conclusion
7 was, but they said that he had reached a
8 conclusion where he felt that Patsy Ramsey had
9 not done the ransom note, but I did not see
10 anything in writing or I didn't see anything as
11 to exactly what he said until I received the
13 Q. That is the letter from Darnay
14 Hoffman this year.
15 A. Right.
16 Q. Perhaps 30 to 45 days ago.
17 A. I believe so. I'm not exactly sure
18 of the time.
19 Q. And did Mr. Hoffman's letter provide
20 you information that is consistent with the page
21 that you see in Lou Smit's report?
22 A. Yes, I believe it is.
23 Q. So that, according both to Lou Smit
24 and to Darnay Hoffman, Richard Dusick found,
25 quote, lack of indications, end quote; true?
1 A. That's what he seems to say, yes.
2 Q. And according to Lou Smit and to
3 Darnay Hoffman, Richard Dusick, document analyst
4 for the United States Secret Service, concluded
5 that a study and comparison of the questioned
6 and specimen writing submitted has resulted in
7 the conclusion that there is no evidence to
8 indicate that Patsy Ramsey executed any of the
9 questioned material appearing on the ransom note;
11 MR. ALTMAN: Jim, I would object to
12 form on that. You say according to Darnay
13 Hoffman. Are you indicating that he supplied
14 the document or are you indicating that
15 according to him this gentleman, Mr. Dusick, I
16 believe, stated what was stated? Maybe you want
17 to rephrase it.
18 Q. Mr. Epstein, what Darnay Hoffman told
19 you that Richard Dusick concluded is essentially
20 the same thing that Lou Smit's page tells you
21 Richard Dusick concluded; correct?
22 A. I believe so, yes.
23 Q. Now, of these individuals that we've
24 talked about so far -- they are Chet Ubowski,
25 Leonard Speckin, Edwin Alford and Richard Dusick
1 -- is it your understanding that each of them
2 was retained by the Colorado police and
3 investigative authorities?
4 A. I really don't know who retained
5 them. I would just be guessing if I told you
6 that I did.
7 Q. You do know that the Colorado
8 authorities for a time sought to make a case
9 against Patsy Ramsey; do you not?
10 A. I do know that, yes.
11 Q. And employed several handwriting
12 analysts to attempt to determine whether a case
13 could be made to prosecute Patsy based on the
14 ransom note. Do you not know that?
15 A. I do know that such examinations
16 were done, yeah.
17 Q. If these individuals were, in fact,
18 hired by the Colorado authorities, do you know
19 of any reason to believe they would be biased
20 in favor of Patsy Ramsey?
21 A. No, I don't have any reason to
22 believe they were biased of Patsy Ramsey, but if
23 I -- could I continue with my answer, or were
24 you going to stop me there?
25 Q. I think you're finished with your
2 A. Well --
3 Q. I think the answer was no.
4 A. No, I'm not really finished.
5 MR. ALTMAN: I think he's entitled
6 to explain.
7 A. I think there are some very
8 important points that have to be made in order
9 to really answer the question.
10 Q. To answer the question of bias?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Are you telling me you want to
13 speculate about the motives of these individuals?
14 A. I don't want to speculate, but I
15 feel that it's important to consider why some of
16 these conclusions were made.
17 Q. Do you have any information that is
18 going to tell us why these conclusions were made
19 that is not based on rank speculation on your
21 MR. ALTMAN: Objection as to the
23 A. No.
24 Q. The answer was no? Does the record
25 have that? Was that your answer?
1 A. That was my answer.
2 Q. So if you added to your answer,
3 which you told me you wanted to do, you would
4 be adding material based purely on speculation?
5 Am I correct?
6 A. I don't know if you would call it
7 pure speculation. It would certainly be -- it
8 would be based on my experience with the
9 profession over the many years, and if you want
10 to call that speculation then I suppose it would
11 be speculation.
12 Q. Mr. Epstein, I think you've told us
13 enough about whether that's based on speculation
14 or not.
15 Now --
16 MR. ALTMAN: So, Jim, I guess you
17 don't want him, then, to state the rest of his
18 response; is that correct?
19 MR. WOOD: Rank speculation.
20 MR. ALTMAN: I don't know that it's
21 rank speculation. If he has an opinion I feel
22 he's entitled to finish.
23 MR. ALTMAN: Look, this is an
24 expert's opinion deposition. By definition, when
25 you ask an expert an answer normally it's their
1 opinion, to the degree that it's their opinion,
2 it's speculation, so it's almost a redundancy
4 It's not rank speculation for him to
5 comment on his observations concerning Patsy
6 Ramsey's handwriting. It's not rank speculation
7 to comment on his observation after 40, 50 years
8 in the profession about how certain decisions
9 are reached by groups of handwriting experts, so
10 to that degree I don't think it's more or less
11 than what you've been asking him or any other
12 expert this whole time.
13 MR. RAWLS: I am ready to move to
14 the next question as soon as I'm permitted to
15 do so by opposing counsel.
16 Q. Would you turn, please, Mr. Epstein,
17 to the page on Lloyd Cunningham in Defendant's
18 Exhibit 8?
19 A. Okay.
20 Q. Did Mr. Hoffman share with you Lloyd
21 Cunningham's findings in his letter earlier this
23 A. Lloyd Cunningham was listed as one
24 of the examiners.
25 Q. And, in fact, you have also read
1 Lloyd Cunningham's expert witness report
2 submitted under Federal Rule 26 for use in this
3 case; have you not?
4 A. I have.
5 Q. You are, then, aware that
6 Mr. Cunningham does find a lack of indications;
7 are you not?
8 A. I am.
9 Q. That he concluded he cannot identify,
10 nor eliminate, Patsy Ramsey as the author of the
11 ransom note.
12 A. I'm familiar with that.
13 Q. That he has spent 20 hours examining
14 the samples and documents and found that there
15 were no significant individual characteristics,
16 but much significant difference between Patsy's
17 writing and the note.
18 And may I say that Lou Smit's
19 presentation was based on the report Lloyd
20 Cunningham submitted before the Rule 26 expert
21 witness report in this case.
22 And with that in mind, are you aware
23 that this page of Lou Smit's presentation is
25 MR. ALTMAN: Jim, I'd ask you to
1 define if you would what you meant by accurate.
2 Q. An accurate summary of Lloyd
3 Cunningham's conclusions.
4 A. This page is a summary of his
6 Q. And insofar as it summarizes his
7 conclusions, you understand that Mr. Cunningham
8 did, indeed, reach those conclusions.
9 A. I understand that he did, yes.
10 Q. And turn, please, to the last page
11 of Lou Smit's report. This is the page on
12 Howard Rile. And do you know that Mr. Rile
13 was a -- was formerly with the CBI as a
14 document examiner?
15 A. Yeah, I'm aware of that.
16 Q. Do you know that Howard Rile, in
17 fact, trained Chet Ubowski?
18 A. I think it's the other way around.
19 I think Chet Ubowski trained Howard Rile.
20 Q. Well, according to -- well, it may
21 be that neither of us is correct. We --
22 A. I think Chet --
23 Q. We know that Lloyd Cunningham, if
24 Lou Smit is to be believed, on Page 1,
25 certified Chet Ubowski. In any case, regardless
1 of who trained whom and who certified whom, did
2 you understand that Howard Rile concluded that
3 Patsy Ramsey probably did not author the ransom
5 A. Yes, I'm familiar with that.
6 Q. And that his opinion is that the
7 likelihood that Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom
8 note is between probably not on the one hand
9 and elimination of Patsy Ramsey on the other.
10 Were you aware of that?
11 A. I was.
12 Q. And do you have any fact,
13 Mr. Epstein, that any of these individuals made
14 a report based on incompetence? And these
15 individuals, I mean Chet Ubowski, Leonard
16 Speckin, Edwin Alford, Lloyd Cunningham, Richard
17 Dusick and Howard Rile.
18 A. I, to be perfectly honest, don't
19 know how they reach their conclusions.
20 Q. But you certainly have no fact that
21 indicates it was based on incompetent.
22 A. I have no facts.
23 Q. And you have no facts that indicates
24 it was based on dishonesty.
25 A. I don't know why they reached or how
1 they reached those conclusions.
2 Q. Now, how many prosecutors, to the
3 best of your knowledge, have looked at the
4 evidence, at all of the evidence, not just
5 handwriting analysis, concerning the murder of
6 JonBenet Ramsey?
7 A. I would have no idea.
8 Q. But you would be surprised if only a
9 small number of trained, experienced prosecutors
10 have looked at all of the body of evidence,
11 would you not, sir, in an unsolved murder case
12 dating from 1996?
13 A. I really don't know how many people
14 have looked at it.
15 Q. You certainly know that Alex Hunter
16 looked at it.
17 A. I would assume so.
18 Q. You certainly know that Ms. Keenan
19 looked at it?
20 A. Again, I would hope so.
21 Q. You know that each of their -- that
22 a group of assistants to each of them looked at
23 the evidence; do you know?
24 A. Again, I really don't know who
25 looked at it.
1 Q. You know that a grand jury looked at
2 the evidence; do you not, sir?
3 A. I know that there was a grand jury,
4 but I don't know what evidence they looked at.
5 Q. You know the grand jury did not
6 indict; do you not, sir?
7 A. I'm aware of that.
8 Q. Does Alex Hunter have credibility to
9 you, sir?
10 A. I don't know Alex Hunter.
11 Q. You wrote to him volunteering your
12 assistance. Did you at the time believe him to
13 be a qualified, able district attorney and
15 A. I wrote to him because he was the
16 district attorney, period.
17 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
18 9 was marked for identification).
19 Q. Mr. Epstein, I'm showing you
20 Defendant's Exhibit-9, and for your benefit and
21 that of the record, this is -- this exhibit
22 consists of the cover page and Page 2 and 3 of
23 the initial pages of the transcript of the
24 deposition of Alex Hunter.
25 Have you before today become familiar
1 with anything Alex Hunter testified about in
2 this case?
3 A. Nothing.
4 Q. So Mr. Hoffman's letter to you of
5 some weeks earlier this year with reference to
6 handwriting analysts did not including any
7 reference to Alex Hunter's testimony; correct?
8 A. It did not.
9 Q. And I will tell you, Mr. Epstein,
10 that this deposition was taken by my co-counsel,
11 Lin Wood, and my colleague, Derek Bauer, out in
12 Boulder, Colorado in November of last year.
13 I want to ask you to turn, please,
14 to the page that is actually the fourth page of
15 this exhibit, Defendant's Exhibit 9, but has at
16 the top of it Page Number 119.
17 A. Very well.
18 Q. And I'd like for you to simply read
19 to yourself from Line 9, and you'll see there's
20 a mark right above that line -- these are
21 questions by Mr. Wood, by the way, for your
22 information -- over to Page 122 and you'll see
23 a line there, but I want you to go a little
25 I want you to go down through Line
1 11 on 122 and simply familiarizing yourself with
2 this testimony before I ask you some questions
3 about it.
4 In fact, while you're doing so,
5 Mr. Epstein, I think we're going to need the
6 court reporter -- the videographer to change the
7 video tape, so may we go off the record briefly
8 while she does so?
9 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: This is the end
10 of Tape 2 to the deposition of Mr. Epstein.
11 The time is 3:01 and we're off the record.
13 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: This is Tape
14 Number 3 to the deposition of Mr. Epstein. The
15 time is 3:10 p.m. and we're back on the record.
16 BY MR. RAWLS:
17 Q. Mr. Epstein, did you have a chance
18 to view those pages --
19 A. I did.
20 Q. -- of former district attorney Alex
21 Hunter's testimony?
22 A. I did.
23 Q. Thank you. And of course, you do
24 understand, do you not, that part of the system
25 of justice in the United States is that a
1 prosecutor has discretion whether to charge
2 someone or not.
3 A. I understand that.
4 Q. That some crimes require an
5 indictment by the grand jury under the United
6 States Constitution.
7 A. I understand that also.
8 Q. And are you aware that prosecutors
9 can decide that some cases should be pursued and
10 some cases should not?
11 A. Of course.
12 Q. And in your career with the
13 Immigration and Naturalization Service, you found
14 some evidence of crimes, did you not, from time
15 to time?
16 A. I have.
17 Q. But you alone could not make the
18 decision to accuse an individual of a crime
19 based solely on your own handwriting analysis;
20 could you, sir?
21 A. No, of course not.
22 Q. In our system it's vitally important
23 to the concept of justice and to the proper
24 prosecution of criminals that we have what's
25 called prosecutorial discretion to enter in; is
1 it not?
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. You've always understood that.
4 A. I have.
5 Q. You have always been comfortable with
6 that decision; have you not?
7 A. I have.
8 Q. You yourself have never sued a
9 prosecutor to claim that someone should be
10 prosecuted; have you, sir?
11 A. No, I haven't.
12 Q. You yourself have never been a
14 A. I have not.
15 Q. And, consequently, where your own
16 role has come into contact with the criminal
17 process, you have been in the role of an expert
18 witness on handwriting; have you not, sir?
19 A. I have.
20 Q. Or on document examination.
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. Correct? You have never been in the
23 role of making a decision whether to prosecute
24 someone or not.
25 A. No, I haven't.
1 Q. And sometimes that decision by a
2 prosecutor is a difficult decision; is it not?
3 A. I would think it is.
4 Q. And was Alex Hunter right, in your
5 judgment, to arm himself with the evidence
6 supplied by way of the reports of persons such
7 as Chet Ubowski, Leonard Speckin, Edwin Alford
8 and Richard Dusick?
9 A. That's a very difficult question for
10 me to answer, and the reason it is is because
11 Howard Rile and Lloyd Cunningham are private
12 examiners, and I don't know -- and you certainly
13 do, but I don't -- whether or not they were
14 retained by the Ramsey family initially or
15 whether they were retained by the Colorado
17 Q. Let me remind you my question, which
18 did not mention Mr. Rile and did not mention
19 Mr. Cunningham.
20 A. But you said the document examiners
21 that were retained.
22 Q. Here's my question: Was Alex Hunter
23 right, in your judgment, to arm himself with the
24 evidence supplied by way of the reports of
25 persons such as Chet Ubowski, Leonard Speckin,
1 Edwin Alford and Richard Dusick?
2 A. Okay, Speckin I don't consider a
3 document examiner. Speckin has a document
4 laboratory. He's basically a chemist, he does
5 ink and paper work. He's a young fellow with
6 very little experience. If he has done
7 handwriting, it's been very little handwriting.
8 I don't know the circumstances under
9 which these examinations were done and I don't
10 know what kind of evidence was provided for the
11 district attorney to present to the grand jury.
12 Obviously I have a problem with the
13 findings in this case, otherwise I wouldn't be
14 here, and I believe that there are document
15 examiners out there, and I know there are
16 because they've come forward and told me so, who
17 believe as I do.
18 But the point is they were not
19 involved in this case, and the people that were
20 selected to do this examination, I don't know
21 what influences, outside influences played a part
22 on their findings and I don't know that they
23 were completely free to conduct their
24 examinations and to reach the conclusions in the
25 manner that they felt was necessary.
1 So there's a lot of different
2 factors here. The evidence is there, the
3 physical evidence is there. Was it -- was it
4 used to its maximum? No, obviously I don't
5 think it was. And was that the fault of a
6 particular person or the system? I don't know.
7 Q. My question, Mr. Epstein, had to do
8 with Alex Hunter's decision. Was he right to
9 rely on people such as Chet Ubowski --
10 A. And I tried to answer that.
11 Q. -- Leonard Speckin?
12 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim, I think he
13 answered no. I think his answer was no because
14 he questioned their qualifications. I think the
15 answer was no.
16 MR. WOOD: You say he questioned
17 their qualifications?
18 MR. HOFFMAN: Such as those
19 particular individuals, it sounds to me like
20 Gideon is saying no, those are not the experts
21 he should have relied on, maybe questioned
22 document examiners in a generic sense, but those
23 individuals, it sounds to me like he's saying
25 MR. RAWLS: Well, I object to the
1 remarks, Mr. Hoffman, that you have made just
2 now and I object to the witness's interruption
3 of my question. Please don't interrupt until
4 I'm finished, and then I'd like for you, sir,
5 Mr. Epstein, to please answer.
6 BY MR. RAWLS:
7 Q. Was Alex Hunter right -- and I'll
8 leave Leonard Speckin out because you have told
9 me he's young, he's inexperienced and he's a
10 chemist, so we'll leave him out.
11 The first thing I want to ask is
12 was Alex Hunter right to try to get trained
13 document examiners --
14 A. I think he was right in trying to
15 get trained document examiners. Whether he got
16 them is the question.
17 Q. And you've previously told us that
18 you believe Edwin Alford, Richard Dusick and
19 Chet Ubowski to be qualified document examiners;
20 do you not?
21 A. I know them to be qualified document
22 examiners, but I don't know the circumstances of
23 this case, how they worked.
24 Q. So one can only conclude that Alex
25 Hunter was correct to consult and to obtain a
1 report from Chet Ubowski, from Edwin Alford and
2 from Richard Dusick; am I correct?
3 MR. ALTMAN: Objection as to form.
4 A. He was correct in what he attempted
5 to do.
6 Q. Thank you. And his decision was not
7 necessarily easy; was it?
8 A. I would not think so, no.
9 Q. This is the original of Defendant's
10 Exhibit 8, Mr. Epstein. Tell me if I'm right
11 or wrong about this, based on your
13 Am I correct that Chet Ubowski had
14 access to the original ransom note?
15 A. I would certainly expect that he
16 would have had access to the originals.
17 Q. And you did not.
18 A. I did not.
19 Q. Have you ever requested the
20 opportunity to view the original ransom note?
21 A. Of course.
22 Q. When?
23 A. From the very beginning.
24 Q. To whom did you make that request?
25 A. When we -- when I first became
1 involved in the case I told Mr. Hoffman that,
2 you know, that we would like to see all of the
3 original documents, if they were still available,
4 of the documents that were examined previously,
5 and obviously that included the ransom note.
6 Q. Mr. Epstein, I believe your
7 microphone may have slipped.
8 A. Slipped off.
9 Q. Were you finished with your answer?
10 A. Yes. Between, I -- when I first
11 became involved in this case I asked to see
12 whatever original documents were previously
13 examined by the document examiners before.
14 Q. And why did you want to see the
15 original ransom note?
16 A. Whenever an original is available,
17 it's just standard and automatic to want to see
19 Q. There are some things you can tell
20 from the original that you cannot tell from a
21 copy; correct?
22 A. The line quality can be more
23 adequately examined. You can do a microscopic
24 examination of the microstructure of the line.
25 You can sometimes get a better idea of why the
1 line quality is what it is. There are obvious
2 advantages to having the original.
3 Q. You can determine the amount of
4 pressure that was used on the writing implement;
5 can you not, sir?
6 A. You can. But from what you could
7 see already in the ransom note you could see
8 that the pressure was probably fairly even.
9 There was no feathering or up stroke and down
10 stroke differences, so --
11 Q. Is it your understanding that Chet
12 Ubowski also had access to the originals of the
13 exemplars which he compared to the original
14 ransom note?
15 A. I would certainly expect that he
17 Q. Was that an advantage?
18 A. It is an advantage to have the
19 originals. It's not always absolutely necessary,
20 but it's always an advantage.
21 Q. And did you understand that Chet
22 Ubowski also had access to original historical
23 writings of Patsy Ramsey?
24 A. Yes, and I felt those were very
1 Q. And did you have access to any of
3 A. None other than those that were
4 listed in my report. Not originals.
5 Q. Did you have access to the originals
6 of any historical writings?
7 A. I did not.
8 Q. To the best of your knowledge did
9 Leonard Speckin, Edwin Alford and Richard Dusick
10 have access to the original ransom note, to the
11 original handwriting exemplars of Patsy Ramsey
12 and to the original historical writings of Patsy
14 A. I don't know. I don't know what
15 they had access to. I would imagine that
16 Howard Rile had access to the original documents
17 and Lloyd Cunningham would have had original
19 Q. As well.
20 A. As well.
21 Q. And for Lloyd Cunningham and Howard
22 Rile, were those advantages, i.e. the access to
23 the original ransom note, historical writings of
24 Patsy Ramsey and handwriting exemplars of Patsy
1 A. They are advantages.
2 Q. You've read the testimony of Alex
3 Hunter --
4 A. I have.
5 Q. --that is part of Defendant's Exhibit
6 9; have you not?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And you understand that from Alex
9 Hunter's perspective, the sum total of the
10 handwriting analysis done by the investigation on
11 Patsy Ramsey was that she was somewhere at about
12 a 4.5 on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being
14 A. (Nods head).
15 Q. Do you not, sir?
16 A. That's what he says.
17 Q. Thus, that from Alex Hunter's
18 perspective, Patsy Ramsey was not eliminated by
19 the experts chosen by the district attorney, but
20 she was close to elimination; correct?
21 A. That's what he says, yes.
22 Q. And from Alex Hunter's perspective,
23 you also understood that there were other
24 individuals under suspicion who were not
25 eliminated; correct?
1 A. That's what I understand, yes.
2 Q. Who were not eliminated as the
3 author of the ransom note.
4 A. I understand that, right.
5 Q. Mr. Epstein, I thought about during
6 our break your desire, seconded by Mr. Hoffman
7 and Mr. Altman, your desire to share with us
8 your theory on how all these other document
9 examiners that we've talked about here got it
10 wrong except for you and your co-expert, Cina
12 And I'm going to ask you to tell us
13 your theory in a minute, but first I want to
14 ask you if you were in a Daubert hearing in
15 front of our judge, Judge Julie Carnes in this
16 case, and if Judge Carnes asked you should she
17 permit Cina Wong to give expert opinion
18 testimony about the authorship of the Ramsey --
19 excuse me, of the ransom note found at the home
20 of John and Patsy Ramsey in this case, what
21 would you tell her?
22 A. I would say that she may well be
23 correct in her findings, but that she does not
24 meet the standards of a forensic document
25 examiner as accepted by the profession.
1 Q. And, therefore, as you understand the
2 Daubert rules, there is no sufficient scientific
3 basis in her qualifications, her training and
4 her credentials, for her to be permitted to
5 testify about the subject of handwriting
6 authenticity; correct?
7 A. If it was strictly interpreted, that
8 would be correct.
9 Q. And the "it" you refer to is
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. The Daubert test.
13 A. Right.
14 Q. It is your view under your
15 understanding of the Daubert test, and I know
16 you're not an attorney --
17 A. I'm not.
18 Q. -- but it is your view under your
19 understanding of the Daubert test, and given
20 your knowledge, your education, your expertise,
21 your training and your experience as a
22 board-certified document examiner, that Cina Wong
23 is not qualified under Daubert to render an
24 opinion about authorship of the ransom note at
25 issue in this case; correct?
1 A. I would say that's correct.
2 Q. Now, Mr. Epstein, what exactly is
3 your theory about how all these individuals,
4 Chet Ubowski, Leonard Speckin, Edwin Alford,
5 Lloyd Cunningham, Richard Dusick and Howard Rile,
6 got it wrong and you, sir, beginning in the
7 year 2000, almost four years after the murder in
8 this case, and without access to any original
9 handwriting of any party you analyzed, got it
11 A. Very well. First of all, I'd like
12 to say that the field of forensic document
13 examination in the United States is a very small
14 profession, as you may well have found out,
15 especially within the ranks of those people who
16 are board-certified and who are the mainstream
17 examiners in this country.
18 Everyone knows everyone else. There
19 are certain document examiners who, because of
20 their exposure in the profession, because of the
21 work that they do, because of the workshops that
22 they may present, are looked upon by other
23 examiners as leaders in their field.
24 A lot of these examiners are in
25 private practice, and they're retained oftentimes
1 by one side or the other. In this particular
2 case I think the fact that Howard Rile and
3 Lloyd Cunningham, who became involved in this
4 case very early on, and who were retained by
5 the Ramsey family, coupled with the fact that
6 Lloyd -- that Howard Rile came out of the
7 Colorado bureau and knew the people in the
8 Colorado bureau, I believe that that connection
9 was very instrumental in the Colorado bureau
10 coming to the conclusion that they did, because
11 Howard Rile had come to the conclusion that he
13 Lloyd Cunningham works very closely
14 with Howard Rile and they were both on this
15 case, and then it was a matter of chain of
16 events, one document examiner after another
17 refusing to go up against someone who they knew,
18 someone who was large in the profession, for
19 fear that they would be criticized for saying
20 something that another examiner -- it's sort of
21 like an ethics within the medical community,
22 where one doctor protects the other doctor.
23 The fact that I think the whole
24 scenario may have been completely different if
25 Howard Rile had not been one of the first
1 document examiners and who was not in private
2 practice, and if he had not been connected so
3 closely with the Colorado bureau; if it had been
4 a document examiner totally separate and apart;
5 if the document examiner had actually been a
6 document examiner in government service who had
7 nothing to gain by his conclusions, who was on
8 a salary rather than on a large retainer.
9 All of these things influence a
10 case, and when it came down to Dusick and it
11 came down to Speckin and it came down to
12 Alford, by that time a number of well-known
13 document examiners had already rendered
14 conclusions, and I feel personally that the
15 other examiners were simply afraid to state what
16 they believed to be the truth, or that they
17 simply didn't devote the necessary time.
18 This is the kind of case that you
19 have to devote a tremendous amount of time and
20 effort to. I've spent a lot of my years
21 working cases where you don't count the hours,
22 you simply count the weeks and you count the
23 months and you devote the time that's necessary.
24 If a document examiner is working
25 this kind of a case and counting the hours,
1 he's going to get to a point where it's going
2 to be too expensive for him to bill, and so
3 he's either not going to do the case in the
4 time that's required or he's going to cut the
5 time short.
6 And I just don't believe that some
7 of these people devoted the necessary amount of
8 time to the case to come up with the correct
9 conclusions, and I think they simply went along
10 with what had been previously said because it
11 was the most expedient thing to do.
12 Q. I want to ask one question,
13 Mr. Epstein, and then take a brief recess. And
14 the purpose of the recess is to try to wind up
15 the questions I want to ask in order to
16 conclude our part of this deposition.
17 The question I have for you is this:
18 Do you know how much time was devoted to the
19 formulation of the conclusions of Chet Ubowski?
20 A. I do not know, no.
21 Q. Same question for Leonard Speckin.
22 Do you know how much time was devoted to
23 forming his conclusion?
24 A. I do not, no.
25 Q. Same question with Edwin Alford.
1 A. (Shakes head).
2 Q. Same question, Lloyd Cunningham.
3 A. I think Lloyd Cunningham said he
4 spent 20 hours on the case.
5 Q. That was what Lou Smit said, and
6 that was before Lloyd Cunningham made his Rule
7 26 report.
8 A. Okay.
9 Q. Am I correct?
10 A. I'm not sure.
11 Q. Do you know how much time Richard
12 Dusick or Howard Rile spent arriving at their
13 conclusions on this case?
14 A. I do not know.
15 MR. RAWLS: May we take a brief
17 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Off the record at
18 3:34 p.m.
20 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're back on the
21 record at 3:44 p.m.
22 BY MR. RAWLS:
23 Q. Mr. Epstein, the answer that you
24 have given us about why in your judgment Chet
25 Ubowski, Leonard Speckin, Lloyd Cunningham,
1 Richard Dusick and Howard Rile got it wrong,
2 was, in fact, as you had told me earlier, rank
3 speculation; was it not?
4 A. It's -- that's my opinion.
5 Q. And your opinion is based on
6 speculation; is it not?
7 A. My opinion is based on my knowledge
8 of the profession and the people involved.
9 Q. And, in fact, you have no
10 information at all about the sequence of the
11 analyses done by Chet Ubowski, Leonard Speckin,
12 Edwin Alford, Lloyd Cunningham, Richard Dusick
13 and Howard Rile; correct?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. To the best of your knowledge, Chet
16 Ubowski might have been first.
17 A. I would expect that he would have
18 been first, as far as the examination is
20 Q. And for all you now, Howard Rile
21 might have been last; correct?
22 A. I don't believe he was last.
23 Q. What's your basis for having a
24 belief about sequence at all?
25 A. I know when Howard Rile came into
1 the case it was early in the case. I mean, I
2 -- it was common knowledge in the profession
3 that he had been retained by the Ramseys early
4 on, so I don't believe he came in last.
5 Q. Do you know whether any of these
6 individuals even had access to Howard Rile's
7 findings, conclusions, reports or analyses when
8 he rendered his finding?
9 A. I don't know that for a fact, no.
10 Q. You don't know that Chet Ubowski had
11 any access to Howard Rile's findings, do you,
12 sir, when he reached his own conclusions?
13 A. I don't know any facts to that, no.
14 Q. You don't know if Chet Ubowski had
15 any access to Lloyd Cunningham's report or
16 conclusions when Chet Ubowski reached his
17 conclusion; do you, sir?
18 A. I don't know that they had any
19 access, but they certainly were aware of what
20 had been previously done, I mean --
21 Q. What been previously done?
22 A. I mean, they were aware of the
23 people that had been retained on which side at
24 the time that they did their examinations. And
25 it's -- these people communicate by way of the
1 -- by e-mail on a regular, constant basis, so I
2 don't know how much information passed from one
3 individual to another through e-mails and other
5 Q. If any.
6 A. If any.
7 Q. The fact is you're guessing; are you
8 not, sir?
9 A. I think it's a little bit stronger
10 than guessing, but if you want to say that I'm
11 guessing, that's fine.
12 Q. And as I understand what you've just
13 said, you think that Chet Ubowski, Leonard
14 Speckin, Edwin Alford and Richard Dusick may
15 have been so concerned about the mere retention
16 of Howard Rile that they pulled their punches;
17 is that your testimony?
18 A. No, I didn't say that. You did.
19 Q. Do you think that's what happened?
20 A. No, I don't think it has anything to
21 do with fear that anybody was retained. I
22 think it was a sequence of events of what had
23 been done previously, and people talk, it's a
24 small profession, everyone knows what everyone
25 else does in these kinds of cases, and there
1 are certain people who don't have the stomach
2 for going up against someone else if they feel
3 that, you know --
4 Q. Which of these individuals does not
5 have the stomach to go up against Howard Rile?
6 A. I don't -- I'm saying that there are
7 people in the profession who may fear -- it's
8 the same thing, if I attempted to contact
9 individuals after I became involved in this case
10 to see whether or not they would be interested
11 in doing some pro bono work in this case, and
12 I did try to contact some people who I had
13 confidence in, and to a person, even though some
14 of them were familiar with the case and were
15 familiar with the findings in the case, chose
16 not to get involved because it's not the kind
17 of case everybody wants to be involved in.
18 And some people consider that it's
19 not worth it. Whether they may agree or not
20 agree, that's not the thing that they weigh.
21 They weigh how difficult is it going to be on
22 me, what am I going to have to go through, am
23 I going to have to sit through a deposition for
24 eight hours, I don't need that.
25 So to a person, the people I
1 contacted who I know can do this work and do
2 it right said that at this point in the case
3 they didn't want to become involved.
4 Q. Did you contact anybody who was
5 comfortable being co-expert with Cina Wong?
6 A. I didn't mention Cina Wong and until
7 I -- as I told you, I didn't know until this
8 morning riding over here that Cina Wong was even
9 involved, and you're trying to push my buttons,
10 I realize that.
11 Q. Sorry, sir, I have no opportunity to
12 push your buttons.
13 A. You do know which ones to push.
14 Q. I'm only given the right to ask you
16 A. And I'm here to answer them.
17 Q. Thank you. And if you have any
18 buttons visible, I'll try to stay away from
20 A. I hope I can keep them concealed.
21 Q. You told us earlier that other
22 document examiners have come to you to say that
23 they believe that Patsy Ramsey authored the
24 ransom note; did you not, sir?
25 A. I did have some document examiners
1 -- I'm -- if you're going to ask me who they
2 were, I'm not going to mention their names
3 because they did not -- some of them were given
4 access to these documents, and had an
5 opportunity to look at them, and I don't --
6 they didn't want their names mentioned, and I
7 don't think it would be right for me to mention
9 But I can tell you that I -- that I
10 did contact some people, and that was their
11 response. I would prefer to leave it that way.
12 I don't think -- if they wanted to come forward
13 they would have come forward themselves, and
14 it's not up to me to mention who they are.
15 Q. Well, no need for you to mention
16 Larry Zieglar, Cina Wong --
17 A. I wouldn't mention Cina Wong.
18 Q. And I don't say that to push a
19 button. There's no need to mention David
20 Leibman. But apart from those three, are there
21 other experts --
22 A. I can tell you that Richard
23 Williams, who is an ex retired FBI document
24 examiner who I have a lot of respect for and
25 who had an opportunity to see the documents
1 because he is also a contract document examiner
2 for the Department of Justice, and at one time
3 we considered -- he considered becoming involved
4 in the case because he, after he had seen the
5 documents he -- and examined them he believed
6 that our findings, my findings and Larry
7 Zieglar's at the time were correct.
8 But there were personal circumstances
9 that came up involving another case in England
10 and it's a very large case, and he couldn't
11 jeopardize his position in that case because of
12 the circumstances of this case, and so he chose
13 not to become involved.
14 But there are other -- there are
15 some other document examiners who also are
16 familiar with the documents, who, when I
17 contacted them to see if they would be willing
18 to take this on on a pro bono basis -- and I
19 don't think it was the fact that it was pro
20 bono, it was simply the fact that I could tell
21 that they simply didn't want to become involved,
22 even though they knew that the findings that had
23 been previously reached were not correct.
24 Q. What documents did Richard Williams
25 have access to?
1 A. Well, he certainly had access to a
2 copy of the ransom note, the copies of the
3 normal course of business writings that we
4 originally received.
5 I'm trying to think if he was still
6 considering involvement at the time that we got
7 the exemplars. I'm pretty sure that -- I'm
8 pretty sure that he may have seen the exemplars.
9 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim, do you need
10 anything more definitive than what he knows?
11 Because I can tell you either on or off the
13 MR. WOOD: Is Williams the guy you
14 withdrew as an expert?
15 MR. HOFFMAN: Yeah, uh-huh, I can
16 tell you because I actually sent material --
17 MR. WOOD: I don't think we need
18 anything further.
19 MR. HOFFMAN: Oh, okay.
20 MR. WOOD: If he's not an expert,
21 he's not an expert. He didn't have the stomach
22 for it.
23 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay. Well, then if
24 he's not then I'm just wondering why the
25 questioning about what he looked at. If he's
1 not in the case, he's not in, but if he's in
2 in terms of your questions in the deposition, if
3 you really need the answers to that, I can
4 answer them for you.
5 Q. Without the benefit of the exemplars
6 here in late 2001, there's not any expert that
7 can reach a definitive conclusion about
8 authorship of the ransom note; is there, sir?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. Tell us why you felt the need to
11 recruit other questioned document examiners in
12 this case for Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Altman and Chris
14 A. I suppose it could be answered
15 strength in numbers, I guess. You have five
16 people on your side and I'm on this side by
17 myself. I think that answers it pretty well.
18 Q. By yourself, along with an individual
19 whom you'd prefer that I not name again.
20 A. An individual who I didn't know was
21 part of this until I got here this morning.
22 Q. You told us one reason some of these
23 individuals you spoke to were concerned about
24 coming into the case was that it might become
25 too expensive; did you not?
1 A. Well, too expensive for them, but I
2 think it was more than that. I think it was
3 more a desire not to become involved in this
4 case, period.
5 Q. Do you know approximately how many
6 millions of dollars have been spent on this
7 investigation by the people of the State of
9 A. I have no idea.
10 Q. By the Boulder Police Department?
11 A. I would imagine that it's
13 Q. By the Colorado Bureau of
15 A. I don't know.
16 Q. By the Boulder County District
17 Attorney's Office?
18 A. Again, don't know.
19 Q. By the FBI?
20 A. (Shakes head). I don't know. I
21 would imagine it would be considerable.
22 Q. You're not saying, Mr. Epstein, are
23 you, in this case, that Patsy Ramsey murdered
24 her daughter?
25 A. Absolutely not.
1 Q. You told us earlier that your charge
2 for an eight-hour day is twelve hundred dollars;
3 am I correct?
4 A. Examination time. Deposition and
5 testimony time is sixteen hundred.
6 Q. And I believe that is exactly the
7 fee that Mr. Hoffman quoted to me for your
8 deposition day, and he also quoted to me the
9 amounts of your airfare and hotel expenses.
10 I am, therefore, handing you a check
11 now for $1,877. Please let me know if that
12 does not cover your travel expenses plus your
13 $1600 for your deposition today.
14 A. Fine, thank you.
15 Q. Does that appear to cover it?
16 A. It seems to. I think the air are
17 was -- round trip was $240 or something like
18 that, and I imagine the hotel is being paid for
20 Q. If there is more that is needed,
21 please let us know.
22 I've got just another question or
23 two, Mr. Epstein.
24 Early in the day, in talking about
25 your reasons for becoming involved in this case
1 pro bono, and I think that under the
2 circumstances we can consider that now partially
3 pro bono and partially for fee; am I not
5 A. Certain portions of it I have billed
7 Q. But your reasons for coming into
8 this case had to do with justice.
9 A. That was my only reason for coming
10 into this case.
11 Q. And you've told us here, however,
12 that you do not accuse Patsy Ramsey of murder.
13 A. No. There's no way I could do
14 anything like that. I am only involved in the
16 Q. And you also know that Patsy Ramsey
17 has never been indicted for murder; do you not,
19 A. I know that.
20 Q. You know that she has never been
21 charged for murder; don't you?
22 A. I know that also.
23 Q. And you know that whatever the
24 course of the criminal investigation going on in
25 Colorado, this case filed by Chris Wolf is a
1 civil case; do you not?
2 A. I understand that.
3 Q. If Chris Wolf wins this case, you
4 understand he will win money; do you not, sir?
5 A. I imagine that's normally the
6 outcome, yes.
7 Q. And the criminal prosecution will not
8 be affected.
9 A. That, I don't know. I had always
10 hoped that perhaps this could lead to -- one
11 could lead to the other.
12 Q. One could lead to the prosecution of
14 A. If the evidence is finally recognized
15 as being stronger than it was previously
16 portrayed to be, then perhaps --
17 Q. Prosecution of whom?
18 A. I don't know. That would be up to
19 the investigation. But I think that the ransom
20 note was an extremely important piece of
22 Q. And you have no reason to believe
23 that the Colorado authorities asked Chris Wolf,
24 former reporter, former entertainer, to pursue a
25 civil action against John and Patsy Ramsey for
1 libel; do you, sir?
2 A. I know nothing about that.
3 Q. As a matter of fact, you know
4 nothing about what was said in the Ramseys' book
5 about Chris Wolf, do you, sir?
6 A. I have not read the Ramseys' book.
7 Q. And whatever was said by the Ramseys
8 about Chris Wolf, you don't have any information
9 about whether it was true or false; do you,
11 A. I do not, no. I haven't read the
13 Q. Nor do you have any information
14 about the reputation of Chris Wolf; do you, sir?
15 A. I know nothing about Chris Wolf
17 Q. But you'll agree with me, will you
18 not, sir, that for anyone to use the media to
19 attack Patsy Ramsey, to call her a murderer when
20 she has been unindicted by the responsible
21 authorities is unfair, unseemly, improper and
22 unjust; would you not?
23 A. I think that's obviously the logical
24 thing is that you, you know, a person is always
25 innocent until they're proven guilty, and I
1 believe that very strongly. But I also believe
2 that evidence, if it's there, it should be used.
3 Q. It should be used in a court of
4 law; should it not?
5 A. In a court of law, absolutely.
6 Q. It should be used in a grand jury;
7 should it not?
8 A. Absolutely.
9 Q. Not in the media.
10 A. Not in -- I'm -- I've never believed
11 in trying a case in the media. I don't like
12 the media. I try to stay away as far as I
13 can from the media.
14 Q. In fact, were you unhappy when
15 Darnay Hoffman on Court TV used your name to
16 accuse Patsy Ramsey of murder?
17 A. I had not seen that, but somebody
18 had told me about that, and I would have
19 preferred it go a different way.
20 Q. Were you unhappy when your name was
21 used to the National Enquirer with an accusation
22 that Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom note?
23 A. I was.
24 Q. And are you unhappy, Mr. Epstein,
25 that the only co-expert recruited by Chris Wolf
1 in this case as a result of all the efforts of
2 Darnay Hoffman, all the efforts of Evan Altman
3 and all the efforts of yourself on the question
4 of handwriting is Cina Wong?
5 A. I'm very disappointed in my
6 profession right now over this whole case, and
7 that's why I'm here.
8 MR. RAWLS: Darnay, my part of
9 today's examination is concluded.
10 You have earlier told us that you
11 would like to ask some questions. I want to
12 make sure you and I are in accord; that you
13 have a perfect right to ask questions by way of
14 clarification or correction of previous answers,
15 but because I have paid for the witness' day,
16 you have no right to use the time I have paid
17 for for any direct examination of this witness
18 to support any motion or any position on any
19 motion that may be filed in this case.
20 Do we agree?
21 MR. HOFFMAN: Well, I don't know
22 what you mean by that. Obviously if you attach
23 his deposition to a summary judgment motion I'm
24 going to use whatever is -- I'm going to use
25 the complete transcript of this.
1 However, I'm certainly going to treat
2 this as cross-examination with respect to his
3 testimony having been a direct examination, and
4 I will certainly not try to go outside the
5 bounds, so I'm not going to open up areas that
6 you haven't already previously discussed.
7 MR. WOOD: You're going to treat
8 your examination as cross-examination, Darnay?
9 MR. HOFFMAN: No, I'm going to treat
10 my examination as if it were a cross-examination
11 in the sense that -- or I guess that's the
12 best way, for the purposes of just simply
13 limiting my questioning to all those areas that
14 were brought in your testimony as if yours have
15 been -- your questioning, as if yours has been
16 a direct examination. So I'm following that
18 MR. WOOD: What rule is that? We
19 just took the discovery deposition of your
20 expert witness on cross-examination.
21 MR. HOFFMAN: Come on, Lin, stop
22 trying to be a wise guy.
23 MR. WOOD: Now, I'm not trying to
24 -- you don't have the right --
25 MR. HOFFMAN: Stop trying to be a
1 wise guy, Lin, which is what you're doing right
3 MR. WOOD: You do not have the --
4 MR. HOFFMAN: I'm just analogizing.
5 I'm treating it as if it were a direct
6 examination for the purposes of trying to make
7 this analogy understandable, and, very simply, I
8 will not go outside the bounds of what was
9 asked at this deposition as if it had been a
10 direct examination at trial.
11 MR. ALTMAN: I think we're on the
12 same page on that.
13 MR. HOFFMAN: That's a pretty simple
15 MR. WOOD: I thought the question
16 was whether -- don't you agree you don't have
17 the right to conduct a direct examination on our
19 MR. HOFFMAN: Absolutely not. All I
20 want to do is just simply allow him to answer
21 a few of the questions that he might not have
22 been allowed to answer more fully that were
23 asked on your, you know, on your dime, so to
25 MR. WOOD: So you do agree that you
1 do not have the right to do a direct
2 examination on our dime.
3 MR. HOFFMAN: Well, no, no. I
4 don't agree that there's any law or authority to
5 that effect so to that degree I don't agree
6 that you have a legal right to make that as a
8 However, as far as to just simply
9 what I'm going to do is I'm certainly not going
10 to try and take advantage of the situation.
11 You certainly could have gone the full seven
12 hours. I appreciate the fact that you're
13 extending my witness the courtesy of letting him
14 leave so he can catch his flight and also
15 shorten your examination to give me a little
16 time to what I hope will be a legitimate
17 attempt to try and just let him augment some of
18 the answers that he had given in response to
19 your earlier questioning.
20 But you have no legal authority, in
21 my opinion, to limit it, and in that degree I
22 don't agree with you. However I'm telling you
23 that I will simply abide by our gentleman's
24 agreement that we're making right here that I
25 will limit it only to those areas that were
1 gone into when you questioned him originally.
2 MR. WOOD: I haven't made any
3 agreement with you today. I don't think Jim
4 Rawls has made any agreement with you today.
5 MR. ALTMAN: Why don't we do this?
6 Why don't we proceed forward, and if you have
7 an objection, state your objection as we go.
8 MR. RAWLS: Let me -- Darnay, I
9 don't know if we're together. I understand what
10 I said to you, I'm not sure I understand your
12 But rather than your explaining them
13 to me, let me say we will object if you
14 attempt to use any part of today's deposition,
15 all of which we've paid for, none of which
16 you've paid for, nor, as I understand the
17 witness' testimony, are you ever going to pay
19 So if you attempt to use any part
20 of this in a way that I consider the subject
21 of a direct examination designed to get any
22 opinions of this witness into evidence in the
23 case, we will not only object, but we're late
24 in the afternoon on a Friday, we'll need to
25 call Judge Carnes about that.
1 MR. HOFFMAN: You know what normally
2 happens in depositions?
3 MR. WOOD: Darnay, we don't need to
4 hear that. I've been taking depositions for 25
5 years. You haven't taken depositions -- I bet
6 you haven't taken five depositions in your whole
8 MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, Lin, given the
9 fact that you've never tried a libel case in
10 front of a jury --
11 MR. WOOD: Darnay Hoffman, let me
12 tell you something -- Darnay, you've never --
13 the only case you ever tried you got hit for
14 $45 million when Bernie Getz was found guilty
15 for a crime he walked from in a criminal case.
16 Listen, I have tried cases for 25
17 years. I've tried more cases than you could
18 count in your sleep, big boy.
19 MR. HOFFMAN: -- your first libel
20 case, okay.
21 MR. WOOD: Darnay, I don't have to
22 try a libel case to know how to try a case,
23 but after listening to Fleet White's deposition
24 it was obvious to me that you don't know how
25 to take a deposition.
1 MR. HOFFMAN: That's okay.
2 MR. WOOD: Why don't you tell us
3 how many depositions you've taken in your
4 illustrious career?
5 MR. HOFFMAN: I've taken plenty.
6 MR. WOOD: I bet you haven't taken
8 MR. HOFFMAN: Can I tell you
9 something? I'm the only --
10 MR. WOOD: I've tried more cases
11 than you've taken depositions. So don't lecture
13 MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, I'm the only man
14 on the planet that's taken Patsy Ramsey's
15 deposition, and plenty have tried, so don't --
16 MR. WOOD: Let me tell you
17 something, and it was a joke. You didn't know
18 what you were doing.
19 MR. HOFFMAN: I hope that's what you
20 believe because I hope you prepare your trial
21 case accordingly, underestimating me.
22 MR. WOOD: You're not going to see
23 a trial in this case. You're going to get
24 booted on summary judgment just like you got
25 booted out in Linda Hoffman Pugh's criminal
2 MR. HOFFMAN: Sorry, you're wrong.
3 I'm sorry, you're wrong. When you went --
4 MR. WOOD: I'm sure you're 100
5 percent certain like this guy sitting across the
6 table is.
7 MR. HOFFMAN: If I was supposed to
8 be out of here, I would have been out on that
9 motion to dismiss, but you guys --
10 MR. WOOD: You got by that motion
11 to dismiss by the thinnest of threads, only
12 because you were willing to plead anything,
13 despite the fact that you can't prove it.
14 MR. HOFFMAN: And the judge paid me
15 the complement of actually quoting extensively
16 from my brief.
17 MR. WOOD: I don't think the judge
18 paid you any complements.
19 MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, I'm here, and all
20 I can tell you --
21 MR. WOOD: You're here and you
22 haven't even bought the deposition --
23 MR. HOFFMAN: And you guys couldn't
24 do what 95 percent of the lawyers in
25 America --
1 MR. WOOD: You're so proud of Patsy
2 Ramsey's deposition, you haven't even bothered to
3 pay for it. You haven't even paid the court
4 reporter for taking it down yet.
5 MR. HOFFMAN: Come on, who cares --
6 MR. WOOD: You haven't even paid the
7 court reporter for taking down Patsy Ramsey's
9 MR. HOFFMAN: All right, so what?
10 MR. WOOD: You never got a copy of
11 it. I thought you were proud of it.
12 MR. HOFFMAN: So what's your
14 MR. WOOD: You don't have the money
15 to pay for it. It's a frivolous lawsuit filed
16 by a frivolous lawyer and you don't even have
17 the money to pay to come down and sit with
18 your own deposition witness. You never even met
19 your own client.
20 MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, Lin, don't talk
21 to me about frivolity and the fact that I had
22 to go to an expert because your daughter had a
23 horse show that you had to attend and you
24 couldn't be a real lawyer over a weekend, you
25 actually had to twist everything into God knows
1 what in order to be able to --
2 MR. WOOD: I just wanted to make
3 damned sure that I would be there in Nebraska
4 to shred Robert Stratbucker.
5 MR. HOFFMAN: -- your family
6 outings --
7 MR. WOOD: I'm going to eat him
8 alive. Be there. Be there, okay. Guess
9 what? I'm going to be at my daughter's horse
10 show and I'm also going to be in Omaha,
11 Nebraska to rip Stratbucker a new rear end, and
12 I bet you what, you aren't going to be there.
13 You ain't going to bother to be
14 there, neither is Evan Altman, because you don't
15 have the money and you're not willing to spend
16 the money on this frivolous case. You got
17 that? I'll see you in Omaha. Are you going
18 to be there or are you going to show up by
20 MR. HOFFMAN: How can I not miss
21 this invitation to be in Omaha? Okay?
22 MR. WOOD: You be there. You be
23 there. I bet you a thousand dollars you won't
24 be there. Want to bet?
25 MR. HOFFMAN: Lin --
1 MR. WOOD: Because you're afraid to
3 MR. HOFFMAN: -- I would never,
4 never bet you, you know better than that.
5 MR. WOOD: You're afraid to fly;
6 aren't you? That's what you told Susan Bennett
7 -- Jamison.
8 MR. HOFFMAN: I liked the AirTran to
9 Atlanta, I told you that when I got there.
10 MR. WOOD: It looked like you were
11 scared to death.
12 MR. HOFFMAN: Only of you, Lin.
13 You frighten me.
14 MR. WOOD: Well, that may be the
15 only smart damned thing you've said since I laid
16 eyes on you the first time. All right, I've
17 vented enough.
18 All I'm saying is this: I don't
19 intend to sit here and listen to you lecture me
20 one damned second about how to take a
21 deposition. I know more about taking
22 depositions on the thumbnail of my right thumb
23 than you'll ever learn in your damn life. Do
24 we understand each other?
25 MR. HOFFMAN: Lin, I'll just have to
1 take your word on that one.
2 MR. WOOD: You can take the word of
3 anybody that's ever had the opportunity to go up
4 against me in a courtroom. I'll talk to people
5 you've -- if we can find somebody.
6 MR. HOFFMAN: Lin, this sounds like
7 rank speculation on your part. Just drop it.
8 MR. WOOD: Let me tell you
9 something, if I am lucky enough, you will have
10 your day with me, sir.
11 MR. HOFFMAN: Oh, I hope so, and I
12 hope --
13 MR. WOOD: And it will be the
14 pleasure of my career when I take you down, and
15 that day may yet come because you still run
16 your mouth to the media so much that you're
17 going to get yourself sued eventually, you're
18 going to get your experts sued eventually, so
19 you just keep the business coming, Darnay. It's
20 really good for my pocketbook. I'm taking a
22 MR. HOFFMAN: I know in this case
23 that the Ramseys aren't paying a penny, the
24 insurance company is paying you finally, okay,
25 which is nice --
1 MR. WOOD: Hey, I made more money
2 handling the Ramsey case than you've made in
3 your whole damn career practicing law, Darnay.
4 MR. HOFFMAN: -- instead of settling
5 for chump change, which you've done in all these
6 other cases, you're actually getting paid a
7 decent --
8 MR. WOOD: I've made more money in
9 the Ramsey case than you've made in your entire
10 career as a lawyer, you want to bet on that?
11 MR. HOFFMAN: You mean you've made
12 more than a hundred dollars?
13 MR. WOOD: Yes, I have made for
14 than a hundred dollars, Darnay.
15 MR. HOFFMAN: -- in this case.
16 Well, good.
17 MR. WOOD: I'd just like to know
18 the poor person that paid you the hundred
19 dollars. Maybe we'd have a good legal
20 malpractice claim.
21 MR. HOFFMAN: All right. Are we
23 MR. RAWLS: Do we want to take a
24 short recess?
25 MR. ALTMAN: Maybe we ought to.
1 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim, if you'd like to,
2 that's fine.
3 Jim, just one thing I just want to
4 say. If at any point during my questioning or
5 whatever I'm in an area that you feel is
6 inappropriate, just simply tell me and I'll move
8 MR. RAWLS: I guarantee you I will
9 do that.
10 MR. HOFFMAN: I appreciate the
11 courtesy you're extending me. And if there
12 becomes an issue as to how this is used in
13 court or whatever, just simply raise the
14 objection with the judge and that will certainly
15 settle the issue too, okay? We'll leave it
16 like that.
17 MR. RAWLS: Indeed, for now we will,
18 and let's have a brief recess.
19 MR. HOFFMAN: Thank you.
20 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Off the record at
21 4:16 p.m.
23 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're on the
24 record, 4:21 p.m.
3 Q. Okay, Mr. Epstein, there is an area
4 in handwriting which is probably considered one
5 of the most important areas, which states this
6 proposition, that even though you may find
7 similarities, maybe even significant similarities
8 between a questioned document and known documents
9 of a particular author, that there can be
10 significant differences between the writings to
11 thereby allow the elimination of the author in
13 Did you find that to be true in
14 this particular case when you looked at the
15 handwriting exemplars of Patsy Ramsey and the
16 ransom note?
17 MR. RAWLS: Darnay, I'll note an
18 objection as to form, and I do think this is
19 exactly what you are not entitled to do.
20 MR. HOFFMAN: Then I won't. You
21 asked earlier about the differences and the
22 distinction. Then I won't go into it if this
23 is an area that you think he is not called
24 for, in terms of your other area.
25 Can I ask him this question: With
1 respect to when you look at handwriting and you
2 look for what you'd call significant characters
3 or connections or whatever, do you look for any
4 particular number of similarities to have any
5 confidence in your conclusions?
6 MR. RAWLS: That too, Darnay, in my
7 view, is the conduct of a direct examination,
8 and I don't think it's appropriate.
9 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay, because in
10 answering a question of yours he had actually
11 used the term significant characteristics or
12 whatever, okay? All right, let me go into this
14 BY MR. HOFFMAN:
15 Q. You were asked about the element of
16 stress versus disguise in terms of poor quality
17 handwriting, I think you were asked very early
18 on in that, and I want to ask you if you drew
19 any conclusion with respect to whether or not
20 Patsy -- the ransom note writer, I should say
21 this, showed any stress in their writing.
22 MR. RAWLS: And I must agree, this
23 is a question of clarification of something I
24 asked, and I have no objection to that question.
25 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay, very good.
1 A. And in answer to that question, I
2 never totally excluded the possibility that
3 stress was a part of what line quality was
4 composed of, because I don't know that any two
5 people under stress would react in the same way
6 to where you could say that you are totally --
7 can be totally familiar with how a person's line
8 quality will look when under stress.
9 But I felt that the elements of
10 disguise were much more prominent and were more
11 consistent with those elements of disguise that
12 are normally identified to where that was the
13 prominent reason for the line quality being as
14 it was.
15 Q. I think that when you talked about
16 disguise you talked about it in explaining the
17 poor line quality that you noted in the
18 handwriting; is that true?
19 A. Yes, that's right. And actually,
20 even in the exemplars, in the exemplars that are
21 given by Patsy Ramsey, those exemplars are not
22 written as rapidly and as smoothly as she would
23 normally write in her normal course of business.
24 Is that intentional? It may well be
25 somewhat intentional, because she is certainly
1 conscious of the exemplar writing phase and she
2 may still be attempting to alter some of the
3 habits that she knows she does, but on the
4 other hand it could also be the element of
5 stress that's injected at that time when someone
6 is being asked to provide handwriting samples in
7 a situation such as this.
8 The point is the handwriting in the
9 exemplars is not as naturally and freely and --
10 freely executed as a normal course of business
11 writing that she would have done.
12 MR. RAWLS: I'll object to the
13 responsiveness of the answer after the words,
14 "Yes, that's right."
15 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay.
16 Q. Now, with respect to today's
17 deposition or whatever, you haven't been asked
18 to show any of your exhibits; is that correct?
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. Okay. Have you attended many
21 depositions in the past?
22 A. I attended one just last week, and
23 over the years I've attended a number of them,
25 Q. In all of those depositions that you
1 remember, were you asked to show your charts and
2 comment on them?
3 A. I was asked to certainly show what I
4 was going to testify to and to illustrate and
5 actually provide copies of what those
6 illustrations would be, yes.
7 Q. And were you actually questioned at
8 that time about your charts and asked to
9 actually give demonstrations with them?
10 A. I was asked to illustrate what it
11 was that I would demonstrated it at the time of
13 Q. Using your charts?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. But you weren't asked that today;
16 were you?
17 A. I was not.
18 Q. Is this the first time this has ever
20 A. To the best of my recollection, it's
21 an unusual situation. If it has happened
22 before, I don't recall it.
23 Q. All right. And are you aware that
24 on Monday Cina testified for seven hours and was
25 not asked to demonstrate any of her charts?
1 A. The whole thing about Cina is a
2 total surprise to me.
3 Q. Okay. But would you be surprised to
4 hear that Cina was not asked to demonstrate any
5 of her charts at that deposition?
6 A. No, I wasn't aware of that.
7 Q. Okay. Now, with respect to a
8 concept called blow smoke, is that a term of
9 art that you've actually heard in the
10 handwriting profession?
11 A. It's often used in the handwriting
12 profession when a document examiner comes into a
13 case simply to cast doubt or dispersions on a
14 particular finding, primarily to inject out into
15 the minds of the jury or to attempt to add
16 some sort of confusion to the case, without
17 specifically saying that the previous examiner
18 was wrong, in other words, they simply say there
19 wasn't enough evidence or the evidence was not
20 comparable, that kind of thing. So they -- the
21 term blowing smoke comes from that particular
22 type of testimony, if you will.
23 MR. RAWLS: Darnay, I can understand
24 your thoughtful questions to the witness about
25 my not having asked him to go over his own
1 exhibits, his own charts, and the same of Cina
2 Wong. I know you're trying to help me learn
3 how to become a cross-examining counsel.
4 But I must say that I find no
5 purpose at all in the deposition record today in
6 the questions that I asked this witness for any
7 concept about blowing smoke.
8 I had that reaction to your
9 question, and that reaction is even more
10 profound having listened to the answer.
11 MR. HOFFMAN: Well, look, I'll tell
12 you what my followup question is to that,
13 because that sets up -- lays the foundation for
14 the next question, which is -- and if you don't
15 want him to go into this area we'll just talk
16 about it.
17 BY MR. HOFFMAN:
18 Q. Did you find any examples of blowing
19 smoke in either the report of Howard Rile or
20 Lloyd Cunningham.
21 MR. RAWLS: I object to this as
22 having no basis whatsoever in anything covered
23 today; as being a blatant effort to attempt to
24 take this deposition, for all of which we have
25 paid for, for none of which you have paid for,
1 and to turn it into a piece of direct evidence
2 to use to attempt to impeach our two experts.
3 And, Darnay, with respect to our two
4 experts, not only have you failed to show them
5 any exhibits, including yours or their own, but
6 you've told us you don't even plan to take
7 their deposition testimony. So if you want to
8 impeach them, I suggest that you reconsider, and
9 you try to do that with the use of their own
11 MR. HOFFMAN: Well, I would have
12 said the same thing with Cina Wong, but
13 apparently you wanted to use the deposition
14 testimony of Gideon to impeach her yourself, so
15 I think --
16 MR. RAWLS: Well, and I had a lot
17 of trouble with that as well.
18 MR. WOOD: Took awhile for him to
19 get there; didn't it?
20 MR. RAWLS: But, Darnay, I remind
21 you, I paid for the time of this witness, and
22 I asked questions that were proper. If I had
23 not, you would have objected to them. So I do
24 object to this line that you're now pursuing.
25 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay, well, then I
1 won't continue in that line, all right? I'm
2 going to ask Gideon another question with
3 respect to the -- some of the earlier experts
4 that you were asked to comment on.
5 BY MR. HOFFMAN:
6 Q. You were asked to comment on Cina
7 Wong and her qualifications, and from what I
8 understand you do not believe she's a qualified
9 document examiner within your understanding of
10 that term used in your field; is that correct?
11 A. Within the requirements that the
12 profession has laid down.
13 Q. Do you feel her conclusions were
14 wrong with respect to her identifying Patsy
15 Ramsey as the ransom note writer?
16 A. No, I don't believe that her
17 conclusions were wrong. But, you know, this is
18 something that we certainly discussed earlier,
19 and, you know, how a person reaches those
20 conclusions and how they support those
21 conclusions is just as important as the
22 conclusions themselves.
23 Q. Okay. Now, with respect to David
24 Leibman, I think you were also asked about David
25 Leibman's professional credentials and I believe
1 you also said that you didn't feel that he met
2 the credentials that you believe the profession
3 has established; is that correct?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. But do you feel that David Leibman
6 arrived at the wrong conclusion when he
7 concluded that Patsy Ramsey was, in fact, the
8 ransom note writer?
9 A. No, I don't believe he reached the
10 wrong conclusion.
11 Q. Were you aware of a report by a
12 Donald Lacy that was attached as an exhibit, I
13 believe, to the complaint?
14 MR. RAWLS: Darnay, I don't believe
15 the name Donald Lacy came up today before now.
16 MR. HOFFMAN: I wasn't sure whether
17 it had or hadn't, because I know that you had
18 talked about the other handwriting experts in
19 the case and I wasn't sure whether I had heard
20 his name or not. If you didn't mention his
21 name then I won't continue along those lines.
22 MR. WOOD: Lacy's one of the
24 MR. HOFFMAN: Well, he likes to
25 think of himself as a questioned document
1 examiner, but you know how people are with that.
2 BY MR. HOFFMAN:
3 Q. I'll just ask for some clarification.
4 You were asked very specifically toward the end
5 of your deposition examination here about some
6 of the professionals that you had contacted
7 regarding their involvement in the case. Do you
8 remember that?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. Do you remember you were asked to
11 name some of them, and one of which you named
12 was Dick Williams or Richard Williams?
13 A. Yes, that's correct.
14 Q. Okay, now, I wasn't clear what it
15 was that you were saying. Did you say that
16 Richard Williams had actually reached a
17 conclusion in this case?
18 A. Richard Williams at one time was
19 willing to come into the case because he
20 believed that the conclusions that we had
21 reached were the correct conclusions.
22 Q. Which was?
23 A. That the ransom note was written by
24 Patsy Ramsey.
25 Q. And that is the same conclusion that
1 Larry Zieglar had reached; is that correct?
2 A. That's the same conclusion that Larry
3 Zieglar had reached, that's correct.
4 Q. Let's see. I think I'm coming to
5 the end of my list here.
6 Oh, okay, you were also asked about
7 the district attorney's office and how hard this
8 type of decision making could be, and I believe
9 you were asked also whether or not they had
10 been wise in availing themselves of questioned
11 document examiners.
12 Were you surprised that you never
13 heard anything from the district attorney's
14 office after you had contacted them with your
15 credentials and your letter offering to help
16 them pro bono?
17 A. I wasn't really that surprised,
18 because so many crackpots have come out of the
19 woodwork in this case that I assume that they
20 just considered me another one of them, and
21 maybe if I had been one of the district
22 attorneys and been exposed to what they had been
23 exposed to I may have taken the same action.
24 But I would have liked to have heard from them,
25 but I wasn't totally surprised that I didn't.
1 Q. See, I haven't seen your letter.
2 Was there anything in your letter indicating
3 that you were actually, in fact, something other
4 than a crackpot, like a qualified document
6 A. I attached my CV, but that doesn't
7 mean that it was read.
8 MR. WOOD: Did he say anything in
9 the letter about being hired by you?
10 MR. HOFFMAN: Case closed there.
11 MR. WOOD: You're right about that.
12 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay, gentlemen, I've
13 had my fun, so to speak, and I've finished the
14 questioning of Mr. Epstein.
15 Jim, if you have any other
16 questions, please, at this point.
17 MR. RAWLS: Thank you for that
18 invitation, Darnay. We're completed.
19 MR. HOFFMAN: Great.
20 MR. ALTMAN: Darnay, could we have
21 about two minutes?
22 MR. HOFFMAN: Sure.
23 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Off the record at
24 4:35 p.m.
1 MR. HOFFMAN: I've had an
2 opportunity to talk with Evan and with Gideon.
3 We're finished as far as our questioning is
4 concerned, so unless you have other questions
5 we're prepared to end the deposition whenever
6 you are.
7 MR. RAWLS: Well, I just want to
8 know, the conversation you just had with Evan
9 and with Mr. Epstein, was that on my nickel?
10 MR. HOFFMAN: I hope not.
11 MR. ALTMAN: It certainly wasn't
12 being recorded.
13 MR. RAWLS: Well, I move to strike
15 I think we're all done. Thank you,
16 let's go off the record.
17 (WHEREUPON, the deposition was
1 STATE OF GEORGIA:
2 COUNTY OF FULTON:
3 I hereby certify that the foregoing
4 transcript was reported, as stated in the
5 caption, and the questions and answers
6 thereto were reduced to typewriting under my
7 direction; that the foregoing pages represent
8 a true, complete, and correct transcript of
9 the evidence given upon said hearing, and I
10 further certify that I am not of kin or
11 counsel to the parties in the case; am not
12 in the employ of counsel for any of said
13 parties; nor am I in anywise interested in
14 the result of said case.
1 Disclosure Pursuant to Article
2 8(B) of the Rules and Regulations of the
3 Board of Court Reporting of the Judicial
4 Council of Georgia, I make the following
6 I am a Georgia Certified Court
7 Reporter, here as a representative of
8 Alexander Gallo & Associates, Inc., to report
9 the foregoing matter. Alexander Gallo &
10 Associates, Inc., is not taking this
11 deposition under any contract that is
12 prohibited by O.C.G.A. 5-14-37 (a) and (b).
13 Alexander Gallo & Associates,
14 Inc., will be charging its usual and
15 customary rates for this transcript.
19 VALERIE N. ALMAND, CCR-B-531
2 The Deposition of Gideon Epstein,
3 taken in the matter, on the date, and at the
4 time and place set out on the title page
6 It was requested that the deposition
7 be taken by the reporter and that same be
8 reduced to typewritten form.
9 It was agreed by and between counsel
10 and the parties that the Deponent will read
11 and sign the transcript of said deposition.
2 STATE OF :
3 COUNTY/CITY OF :
4 Before me, this day, personally
5 appeared, Gideon Epstein, who, being duly
6 sworn, states that the foregoing transcript
7 of his/her Deposition, taken in the matter,
8 on the date, and at the time and place set
9 out on the title page hereof, constitutes a
10 true and accurate transcript of said
13 Gideon Epstein
15 SUBSCRIBED and SWORN to before me this
16 day of , 2002 in the
17 jurisdiction aforesaid.
19 My Commission Expires Notary Public
1 DEPOSITION ERRATA SHEET
3 RE: Alexander Gallo & Associates
4 File No. 1637
5 Case Caption: Robert Christian Wolf vs.
6 John and Patricia Ramsey
7 Deponent: Gideon Epstein
8 Deposition Date: May 17, 2002
10 To the Reporter:
11 I have read the entire transcript of my
12 Deposition taken in the captioned matter or
13 the same has been read to me. I request
14 that the following changes be entered upon
15 the record for the reasons indicated. I
16 have signed my name to the Errata Sheet and
17 the appropriate Certificate and authorize you
18 to attach both to the original transcript.
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10 Deposition of Gideon Epstein
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8 Gideon Epstein