1 ) Headline:
JonBenet Ramsey’s brother sues CBS for $750 million over TV special
2 ) Lead
In 1996, the murder of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey became one of the most talked about unsolved mysteries of the decade. Ramsey was found dead in her home in Boulder, Colo. on the morning of Dec. 26th. The last time the family reported seeing JonBenét alive was Christmas night. According to the Denver Post, parents Patsy and John Ramsey called police after finding a two-page ransom note asking for $118,000 in exchange for the return of their daughter. Later that afternoon, John found JonBenét’s body in the family basement. She’d reportedly been strangled and bound with duct tape.
3 ) Context
Burke Ramsey, 29, is suing the network, a production company and a host of contributors behind “The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey,” a four-hour miniseries that aired over the course of two days in September. He says the program falsely accused him of murdering his sister, who was six years old when she was brutally killed inside her family’s Colorado home.
4 ) Direct Quotes
Judith, 64, who was a neighbour of the Ramseys, said: “When Burke was born he was the absolute apple of Patsy’s eye. Then along came this little girl who stole all the attention. He could well have been very jealous.”
She added to The Sun: “To me it seemed odd they would give a big television interview but not work with police.”
“I agree with the theory Burke killed JonBenet but I don’t think he meant to do it. I think Patsy did everything in her power to protect her living child. I think she wrote the ransom note whilst John staged the scene in the basement.
Do they have a case?
First Amendment experts say that a significant factor may be whether the conclusions raised by the project’s many talking heads are considered their opinions, or would be taken as fact.
“CBS will argue that a contextual analysis of the series reveals that it was promulgating opinions and theories not facts and is, therefore, not defamatory,” James Sammataro, partner with Stroock & Stroock and national head of the firm’s entertainment litigation practice group, said via e-mail. “Television shows that offer alternative theories of unsolved (or even solved crimes) are a fixture in today’s media (‘Making a Murderer’) and CBS can likely persuasively argue that the average viewer reasonably understood that the docuseries was merely offering the opinions of several experts.”