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JonBenét Ramsey Lawsuit: Brother Burke Ramsey sues CBS for $750 million

Burke Ramsey claims a CBS series about the murder of his younger sister defamed him and ruined his reputation.

The elder brother of murdered six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey is suing CBS for defamation, claiming the network’s September miniseries dedicated to the unsolved murder falsely implicated him.

Burke Ramsey filed the $750 million defamation suit on Wednesday, naming CBS, the production company behind The Case of: JonBenet, and the forensic experts features in the series, claiming they conspired to implicate him in the 1996 Boxing Day death of the pint-sized beauty queen in order to gain profit and publicity.

All three surviving immediate family members were cleared by DNA evidence for JonBenét’s murder, but as a killer has never been found, doubts remain about the family’s possible involvement in the bizarre crime. The Case Of: JonBenét from its opening scene does indeed appear to be coming from a presumption that JonBenét’s death was caused by a family member, perhaps unintentionally, which is a popular theory that has circulated over the years.

The series assembles a group of forensic experts who perform a full re-investigation of the crime, focusing on the 911 call that Patsy Ramsey, JonBenét’s mother, made on the morning of December 26, 1996; the unusual ransom note allegedly left by kidnappers who did not remove JonBenét from her home; the behavior of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey in the immediate aftermath of their daughter’s disappearance and death; and circumstantial evidence that suggests Burke Ramsey may have hit his sister with a flashlight, which contributed to her death.

By the end, the experts — who interview investigators who worked the case in 1996 — conclude as a group that Burke Ramsey accidentally murdered his sister and that his parents fabricated an alternate crime in order to protect him.

According to The Associated Press, the lawsuit accuses CBS and its partners of promoting “the accusation that Burke Ramsey killed his sister …  based on a compilation of lies, half-truths, manufactured information, and the intentional omission and avoidance of truthful information about the murder of JonBenét Ramsey.” A CBS spokesperson declined the AP’s request for comment.

The Case Of: JonBenét Ramsey included a broad written disclaimer, cautioning viewers to “reach to their own conclusions” as those arrived at by the participants of the series “represent just some of a number of possible scenarios.” It remains to be seen if this disclaimer will be enough to protect CBS from a hefty payout to Burke Ramsey.  

This is Mr. Ramsey’s second lawsuit in connection to the series: He previously filed a $150 million dollar lawsuit against forensic pathologist Werner Spitz, who was among the experts in the series who advocated for a theory that Burke Ramsey killed his sister.

[Feature Photo by Boulder Police Department]