Boulder Skies at Dusk

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Time takes everything but the Truth ~ True Detective

Part 1. Steve Thomas Deposition

Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Well, let me ask you this if you would, Mr. Thomas, would you give me your present residence address?
A. MR. DIAMOND: That's what I think he wanted.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Do you have any present plans to move from that residence?
A. Ultimately I will leave Colorado, but, no, for the moment, that's where I'm residing.
Q. Do you have any plans even though they may be tentative in terms of when you would hope to leave Colorado?
A. Certainly not before this matter is resolved.
Q. This matter being the Chris Wolf case or this matter being the lawsuit filed by John and Patsy Ramsey against you?
A. Both.
Q. Okay. So we would be safe to say you're here in Colorado at least through the duration of those two matters; is that true?
A. Yes.
MR. WOOD: take it. If you have an instruction to the witness to make, make it and we'll move onto the next question.
MR. DIAMOND: We'll designate that confidential. We can talk about that at the conclusion of the deposition.
MR. WOOD: Sure. We're going to have at some point a protective order to present you with that you all will have the opportunity to sign onto.
MR. DIAMOND: Yeah, I've seen that.
MR. WOOD: Yeah, and that would protect that information if he wants to give it to me. If you all want to then designate it within the time period allowed by law so subject to that designation I assume you will let him answer.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) MR. DIAMOND: Do you know? If you don't know, you don't know.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) That's something you could get copies of down the road if we need it I'm sure, true?
A. I'm sure we have those somewhere.
Q. Okay. Do you have any other -- do you engage in any other present activities for compensation in terms of trying to earn money, other than your business as a carpenter?
A. Occasionally I'm asked to speak.
Q. Speak in what capacity?
A. Occasionally I'm asked to speak to different groups, law enforcement primarily.
Q. Do you solicit invitations to speak from organizations?
A. Recently we have in conjunction with some defense fund raising.
Q. When you say "we have" who is we?
A. People who are helping me with that legal defense fund raising.
Q. Who is "we" then, please, by name?
A. Sherill Whisenand.
Q. Anyone else?
A. No.
Q. And what is Sherill Wisinhunt?
MR. DIAMOND: Whisenand.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Whisenand. When did you first meet her?
A. I probably first spoke with her in 1999.
Q. And who is she employed with?
A. Currently I believe she's self-employed.
Q. What is the name of her company, do you know?
A. I also think she -- I do think she also has other employment but the name of her company is Wise Connections.
Q. Is she a public relations person?
A. I don't know how she bills herself.
Q. What do you see her as?
A. A friend.
Q. You don't know what her business is?
A. I know she works with Dr. Laura as a producer with that radio show.
Q. You don't know what type of business she does in connection with her work Wise Connections?
A. Yes, she helps me with speaking.
Q. Did she form that company Wise Connections just to help you?
A. I don't know.
Q. Do you know whether it existed before she met you?
A. I don't know.
Q. How did you come to meet her?
A. Through a mutual friend.
Q. Who is that?
A. Anthony Robbins.
Q. Tony Robbins, the fellow we see on TV?
A. Yes.
Q. And when did you -- I'm sorry. You first spoke with her, is that when you met her in 1999?
A. No, I did not meet her in person until some point after that. I spoke with her for a period of time on the telephone.
Q. And I assume that that was in connection with, what, raising funds did you tell me?
A. At what point are you talking about --
Q. When you met --
A. -- when I first met her?
Q. Yeah.
A. No, I wasn't raising funds in 1999. When I first met her was simply we struck up a friendship when I was calling Tony Robbins' office.
Q. When did you get into, in effect, a business relationship with her, when did that start?
A. I think at some point I tired of taking media calls and the calls for speaking and she volunteered to take those for me.
Q. When did that happen?
A. Probably late '99, 2000, sometime during the calendar year of 2000.
Q. Or late the calendar year of 1999?
A. Possibly. I don't recall.
Q. Well, your answer was when I said when did that happen you said probably late '99, 2000, sometime during the calendar year 2000; is that correct?
A. I'm trying to give you a sense for when that occurred.
MR. DIAMOND: What's your best recollection? I'm sorry, I lost the thread. The time period –
MR. WOOD: I'm trying to find out -- yeah, hold on one second, I'll tell you exactly. I asked him the date of when he entered into, in effect, a business relationship with her, the date.
A. I think it would have been the calendar year sometime during 2000 because that's when the calls and the requests came.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Let me see if this will help you. Was it prior to the publication of your book?
A. I don't recall, but as I mentioned I think when I had her take over these calls and requests was after the flurry, after the book was released.
Q. Does that lead you to believe that in probability you did not engage in a business relationship with Sherill Whisenand until after the April 2000 publication of your book "JonBenet, Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation"?
A. Well, there's not a bright line in my head because I still consider her a friend and when that transitioned at some point to some business work the friendship certainly didn't cease and that doesn't stand out in my head.
Q. Did you have any flurry of phone calls from the media prior to the publication of your book?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you handle all of those or do you recall Sherill Whisenand handling some of them?
A. She may have handled some of those.
Q. So that tells me it may be that you were involved in a business relationship with her prior to the publication of your book possibly?
A. Well, when you say business relationship --
Q. When she's handling media calls for you?
A. The fact that she took calls for me she certainly did that as a friend as well because she volunteered to do that. (Exhibit-1 was marked.)
MR. DIAMOND: Counsel, I expect you're going to tie this into a line of questioning that has to do with the work that he did as a police investigator in connection with the Ramsey case?
MR. WOOD: Stay tuned. I'm going to let you look at it and I'm going to ask him questions about it.
MR. DIAMOND: Well, I'm going to limit you to that because that's what this deposition is about.
MR. WOOD: If you have an instruction under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to make, Mr. Diamond, feel free to make it. I've asked you to take a look at this exhibit. I'm going to ask Mr. Thomas to take a look at it. It's been marked for purposes of identification as Exhibit 1.
MR. DIAMOND: Go ahead.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) You're familiar with the website set up with respect to your lecture for hire, true?
A. Yes.
Q. And this is, I take it you would agree, a true and correct copy of that website page?
A. That's not from my website, that's from another website, but I'm familiar with that page, yes.
Q. Okay. And this obviously advertises your willingness to lecture on the JonBenet Ramsey case for compensation, true?
MR. DIAMOND: Counsel, the only reason I can see you asking these questions is concerning the jurisdictional debate that we currently have pending –
MR. WOOD: I'm asking what he does for a living.
MR. DIAMOND: You can ask him what he does for a living. He's told you what he does for a living. He's a carpenter and he does public speaking –
MR. WOOD: I'm asking him about that solicitation.
MR. DIAMOND: I'm not going to let you inquire about that.
MR. WOOD: If you have, Mr. Diamond, if you have a -- we're not here to argue with each other and I don't –
THE REPORTER: One at a time.
MR. WOOD: Let me finish, then you'll have time.
MR. DIAMOND: Certainly.
MR. WOOD: I simply asked him about this for purposes of establishing what he does for a living in whole or in part. If you have an instruction to make under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, just make it. I don't need to debate it.
MR. DIAMOND: I will.
MR. WOOD: If you instruct him not to answer the question, state the privilege, as I understand that's what you're limited to. State the privilege and make your instruction and we can address it at a later time.
MR. DIAMOND: I'm fully prepared to do that.
MR. WOOD: All right.
MR. DIAMOND: And I intend to do that. I want to give you an opportunity to tell me how this relates to the subject matter of the deposition –
MR. WOOD: I did.
MR. DIAMOND: -- within the framework that Judge Carnes said you were allowed to inquire. And, you know, if you're prepared to tender a good cause showing, I'm happy to let him answer. Obviously, on its face this is going nowhere but to the jurisdictional dispute that my client and your client are currently engaged in unless there is some other reason. He's already told you what he does for a living. I'll have the pending question read, and then I'll decide whether to instruct him or not.
MR. WOOD: I don't think there is a pending question. I think he told me that it was a -- he was familiar with this website and has his own website.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) What is your website address?
A. It's not necessarily my website. It's a website that was created by a supporter of mine, and the address is
MR. DIAMOND: He wanted to know your website. Do you have a website?
THE DEPONENT: I thought that was the one he was talking about.
MR. DIAMOND: No. Do you have a website?
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) So did you misspeak a minute ago when you said something about your website because you said that's not from my website, that's from another website but I'm familiar with that page. Did you misspeak when you said the words "my website"?
A. There is a website owned by a third party who is a supporter of mine.
Q. Who is that?
A. A woman I know as B.J.
Q. You don't know her full name?
A. Barbara, I don't know her last name.
Q. Do you know where she lives?
A. Ohio.
Q. Where in Ohio?
A. I don't know.
Q. So other than the lecture-for-profit business and the carpentry business, do you have any other employment at the present time?
A. No.
Q. Did you authorize Plaintiff's Exhibit Number 1 to be posted to solicit speaking engagements?
A. Yes.
Q. Have you ever been deposed before?
A. In a civil proceeding?
Q. Let's start there, in a civil proceeding?
A. No. No.
Q. That makes me believe that you have been deposed in a criminal proceeding; is that true?
A. Well, certainly I'm not familiar with the civil aspect of this as much as I am the criminal half of things. I have given testimony certainly in criminal cases, but I have never been deposed in a setting like this.
Q. The testimony you have given in criminal cases has been, I assume, either in hearings or trials in a courtroom?
A. In front of grand jurors, yeah.
Q. Right. You've never sat in a deposition where no judge is present, no grand jury is present, just the lawyers where we take what is called a deposition; is that your testimony?
A. I was present in a deposition many, many years ago in the 1980s in a police case but I don't recall that I ever had to give testimony.
Q. Was that some sort of a civil lawsuit?
A. Exactly.
Q. Were you a defendant in that matter?
A. The city and myself and other officers, yes.
Q. And where was that?
A. The City of Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
Q. Were you sued for a violation of civil rights?
A. No, I don't think that was the basis of the suit.
Q. What was the basis?
A. We stopped a car we believed to be stolen. It turned out not to be and the people felt wronged by that.
Q. So you were sued as a defendant along with others and the City of Wheat Ridge, Colorado?
A. Correct.
Q. Do you know how that case was resolved?
A. I think it settled.
Q. Moneys paid to the plaintiff?
A. That's my understanding.
Q. On your behalf as well as the city's behalf?
A. I don't know.
Q. But that was -- was that filed in the Wheat Ridge or the County of Wheat Ridge?
A. I don't know.
Q. But in Colorado?
A. Yes.
Q. Were you deposed?
A. That's what I just said, no. I don't -- I don't know that I had to give any testimony in that.
Q. I thought you said you were present for deposition; I may have misunderstood. I don't know if you were there watching someone in attendance or whether you were actually deposed and you're not sure of which; is that right?
A. I recall being in a setting similar to this where the other parties were on the other side of the table and there was some Q and A, but I think it was the other side.
Q. Other than that lawsuit, have you ever been sued in any other matters? Obviously we know about the John and Patsy Ramsey lawsuit against you. Other than those two cases, have you ever been sued in a civil case?
A. I don't recall any other, no, civil suit in my capacity as a police officer or as a citizen.
Q. MR. DIAMOND: Counsel, what is that relevant to?
MR. WOOD: Well, it may very well be relevant to jury –
MR. DIAMOND: I'm sorry.
MR. WOOD: It may very well be relevant to jury issues.
MR. DIAMOND: I'm sorry, to jury issues?
MR. WOOD: Yes, sir. When you select a jury, I may want to know his former wife's residence or name or employment in the jury selection process. Now, let me say this to you, Mr. Diamond, I'm not going to debate relevance. My question is simple. If you have an instruction to make to the witness, make it. But we can't waste time going back and forth discussing relevance. I ask that question of every witness in a deposition. It's done for jury purposes. It's a legitimate question. May we please get an answer and move on?
MR. DIAMOND: You may answer whether or not she lives in the State of Georgia.
Q. Tell me if you would, Mr. Thomas, about what your deposition preparation was in this case. What did you do to prepare for the deposition?
A. I met with my attorneys and they explained to me how –
MR. DIAMOND: You don't need to get into the context.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Yeah, I don't want to know what, unless your attorneys want me to know, I suspect they don't. I don't need to know what you and your attorneys discussed. I would like to know the fact of the meeting, when it took place and how long it lasted.
A. I met on Wednesday, September 19th, with Mr. Sean Smith for several hours and then yesterday, September 20th of 2001, I met again several hours with Mr. Smith and with Chuck Diamond.
Q. Tell me how many hours, your best estimate as to how many hours several hours is on the 19th, let's start there, with Mr. Smith.
A. A full day. We took a long lunch, but I think we began our day at 9:30 a.m. and ended around 5 p.m.
Q. And then yesterday, how long?
A. Similar.
Q. 9:30 to 5 with a lunch break?
A. Yeah, we may have gone past 5 o'clock last evening, maybe 6 or 7 p.m.
Q. And was Mr. Diamond here yesterday during the day?
A. Yes.
Q. At the beginning of your meeting at 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m.?
A. I certainly believe so.
Q. I only asked because I was under the impression he was not available to be here yesterday but that's all right, that's not an issue for you to worry about. Did you review any written materials in preparation for your deposition?
A. I reviewed my book.
Q. That book being, identified earlier "JonBenet, Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation." You have a copy of the hard back with you I see?
A. It's a hard back I looked at, yes.
Q. Okay. Did you review any other written materials?
A. No.
Q. Do you have notes that you utilized in writing your book?
A. No, let me interrupt you. I did stuck in -- stuck in this book was a two-page report from the Chris Wolf matter that I did review.
Q. Do you have a copy of that?
A. No.
Q. Is that something we could see?
MR. DIAMOND: What's that?
MR. WOOD: The two-page report on the Chris Wolf matter that he reviewed in preparation, is that something we could take a look at?
MR. DIAMOND: We don't have it, it's not with him today.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Was this something prepared by your attorneys?
A. No.
Q. Who was it prepared by?
A. This was, I found stuck in a book this summer a two-page report that I had written as a police detective on the Jackie Dilson, Chris Wolf matter.
Q. And you have that where presently located?
A. That's probably in a folder sitting at home.
Q. And you will maintain possession of that at my request in the event we decide we would like to ask for that formally, subject to your attorney's agreement that we would be entitled to it down the road?
A. Certainly.
MR. DIAMOND: Happy to hold on to it.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) I assume that what you're telling me, Mr. Thomas, is you've got two pages of notes that you've made yourself on Chris Wolf relating to the investigation of Chris Wolf?
A. No.
Q. Tell me what exactly, maybe I didn't understand you, what those two pages are.
A. It's not notes. It's a two-page typewritten report that I had prepared.
Q. For the Boulder Police Department?
A. Yes.
Q. Do you remember the date of that report?
A. January 1998.
Q. January of '98?
A. I'm sorry, January of 1997.
Q. Okay. Did you prepare any other written reports for the Boulder Police Department about Chris Wolf, other than the two-page report you've referred to that is dated January of 1997?
A. Certainly.
Q. Have you had an opportunity to review them in preparation for your deposition?
A. No.
Q. Do you -- did you have notes from which you relied on in whole or in part in writing your book "JonBenet, Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation"?
MR. DIAMOND: Counsel, I'm going to instruct him not to answer.
MR. WOOD: On what privilege?
MR. DIAMOND: Not on privilege, the limitation that was imposed by Judge Carnes or the condition in which he allowed this deposition to go forward.
MR. WOOD: Excuse me, I don't know –
MR. DIAMOND: Counsel, you let me finish and I'll let you finish.
MR. WOOD: I apologize for interrupting, but let me say this to you –
MR. DIAMOND: Well, then don't interrupt me. I will finish what I'm saying.
MR. WOOD: Mr. Diamond –
MR. DIAMOND: Maybe –
THE REPORTER: Please, one at a time.
MR. WOOD: Excuse me. We're going to take a break off the record. I'm not going to let you yell at me. Calm down. We'll come back and we'll start again in five minutes. We'll go off the record and not waste deposition time.
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: The time is now 9:34. We're going off the record. (Recess taken from 9:35 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.)              (c) 2023