Ramsey friend sells material

Woman gets $40,000 for giving transcripts to National Enquirer

By Owen S. Good, Rocky Mountain News

November 28, 2002

BOULDER - A confidant of John and Patsy Ramsey sold handwriting samples and interrogation transcripts from their daughter's murder investigation to a supermarket tabloid for $40,000.

Susan Bennett, 51, of Hickory, N.C., who uses the name "Jameson" on Internet forums about the JonBenet Ramsey murder, insists she sold the material to the National Enquirer because she believed that its publication would prove the Ramseys' innocence.

It was used in the Dec. 3 edition in a 31-page story headlined: "JonBenet Secret Video Evidence: New Clues Expose Mom & Dad!" that hit Boulder newsstands on Friday.

Bennett, befriended by the former Boulder couple through her advocacy of their innocence, said she sold a transcript from an April 1997 police interrogation of the Ramseys, videotapes of a June 1998 police interrogation and handwriting samples from Patsy Ramsey.

"People make it sound as though I turned on the Ramseys," Bennett said Wednesday. "I still believe 100 percent they are innocent."

She said the National Enquirer intends to publish a book early next year about the case, and she said giving the tabloid the full transcript of police interviews with the Ramseys would show the couple's cooperation with investigators. Bennett said she understood that the information would be used in the tabloid first.

But she refused to give an explanation for why she accepted money from the Enquirer.

David Perel, editor of the National Enquirer, would neither confirm the source of the information in his publication nor say if that person was paid for it. He confirmed the Enquirer is planning to publish a book about the case next year.

Ramsey attorney L. Lin Wood said the couple feels betrayed that a friend would sell information to their enemies. Tabloids have cast suspicion on the parents throughout six years of reporting on the unsolved case. The Ramseys previously sued American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer, over a story about their son, Burke, and won a settlement.

"It's horribly naive to believe that the tabloids are going to fairly and accurately report on any issue or piece of evidence as it pertains to John and Patsy Ramsey," Wood said.

"Their stories are always accusatory and generally misrepresentative of the truth. She knew better than to believe the tabs would give the Ramseys a fair shake."

Wood said the information sold to the Enquirer was part of a discovery order in a federal libel lawsuit brought against the Ramseys by Chris Wolf, who the Ramseys called a suspect in a book they wrote about the murder.

Wood said Wolf's lawyer, Darnay Hoffman of New York, denied providing Bennett with the material.

Hoffman did not return a phone call seeking comment and Bennett said she did not know the source of the material, saying it arrived in an unmarked package.

She could not recall when it arrived.

Wood said Bennett does not face legal action, but said he will investigate to see if she obtained the information in violation of a court order, and if the source of that information can be prosecuted for it.

In the meantime, "John and Patsy will no longer communicate with Ms. Bennett and will not share any information with her," Wood said.