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A former Colorado detective who mined confidential police files for his book about the 1996 slaying of JonBen�t Ramsey has sought to seal permanently the deposition he gave in connection with a libel case filed by the child’s family. CBS Broadcasting Inc. in turn has asked a federal judge in Atlanta to reject former Boulder detective Steve Thomas’ attempts. L. Lin Wood Jr., who deposed Thomas for clients John B. and Patricia P. “Patsy” Ramsey, said that in the deposition Thomas responded to allegations that he disclosed confidential police information to the media. The deposition also explored how Thomas acquired confidential information included in his book, Wood said. Thomas also was questioned about who served as anonymous sources for Vanity Fair, which published an article on JonBen�t’s slaying, and for a national tabloid reporter who also covered the case. The deposition was taken under a blanket protective order that allowed either party to the litigation and witnesses to request confidentiality for discovery materials, including depositions. On Sept. 11, U.S. District Judge Julie E. Carnes of the Northern District of Georgia denied Thomas’ motion for a permanent protective order that would have sealed his deposition. Carnes gave Thomas until Oct. 1 to file a “good cause” motion arguing why certain sections of the deposition should remain under seal. Carnes also denied CBS’ motion to intervene, but will allow the broadcasting company a second opportunity if Thomas refashions his request. CBS is seeking access to the deposition because it has reported and continues to report extensively on the Ramsey case. Wood deposed Thomas in connection with a defamation suit filed against the Ramseys in Atlanta by former Boulder resident Robert Christian Wolf. Wolf v. John B. Ramsey, No. 1:00-cv-1187 (N.D. Ga. Sept. 11, 2002). Wolf claims that the couple libeled him in their book about their daughter’s killing, “The Death of Innocence,” when they listed him among those Boulder police investigated. The Ramseys separately had filed an $80 million defamation suit against Thomas and St. Martin’s Press over his book “JonBen�t: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation,” which pointed to Patsy Ramsey as her daughter’s killer. That case settled earlier this year. The terms are sealed. In seeking to open Thomas’ deposition to public scrutiny, CBS argued that in his book, Thomas himself made public the subject matter of much of his deposition. Thomas, on the other hand, argued that a blanket protective order was justified because the Ramseys intended to use it in a “vast media campaign” against him. The Ramseys have objected to sealing all but several select portions of the deposition that focuses on other individuals who were scrutinized by police as potential suspects, Wood said. Meanwhile, a letter supposedly written by Thomas and circulating on the Internet “sounds like him” and, if Thomas did write it, potentially violates the Ramseys’ settlement agreement, Wood said. The letter, dated Aug. 6, when it was posted on the Internet, and signed by Thomas, calls the Ramseys’ suit against Thomas “frivolous.” “My absolute requirement for any resolution was the mandate that I would admit no wrongdoing whatsover, nor would I personally pay a single dollar in settlement,” the Internet letter stated. “And that is exactly what was achieved with this resolution. … I will continue to speak on the case whenver I wish. I continue to stand resolutely by my book and the opinions I expressed in it. My beliefs have not changed. “Again, I want to reiterate that I personally paid not one red cent, not one thin dime, not one single dollar to settle this suit. I tried to the very end to take a principled position in this tragic case, and I believe I have done so.” Neither Thomas nor his publicist could be reached to confirm that he authored the Internet letter. “Clearly, he’s just trying to parse words and spin to his Internet supporters and people foolish enough to send him money,” Wood said. But he acknowledged that the settlement agreement did permit Thomas to discuss publicly a “general characterization of the settlement and the motive for settlement of the case.” Thomas, according to Wood, “obviously was trying, through a very careful selection of words to convey no money was paid to the Ramseys and that was just not true. … The bottom line is that this is not a violation, at least at this point in time, that the Ramseys would pursue.”

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