Reuters reports that JonBenet Ramsey’s brother, Burke Ramsey, and CBS have settled a $750 million defamation lawsuit over a documentary series that claimed Burke killed her. The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey aired in September of 2016 and attempted to get to the bottom of a question that has preoccupied tabloid newspapers since 1996: who murdered the 6-year-old child beauty pageant contestant? Their top suspect: her older brother, Burke, who was 9-years-old at the time of the crime.
“I can only comment that the case has been amicably resolved to the satisfaction of all parties,” Burke’s lawyer, L. Lin Wood, told Reuters in a phone interview.
According to The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey‘s theory, JonBenet took a piece of fruit from Burke on Christmas night, causing him to hit her in the head with a heavy object, accidentally killing her. The show included a bizarre “scientific recreation” of a 9-year-old striking a model of JonBenet’s head made out of pig skin and a wig to prove Burke was strong enough to do the deed. The theory then claims JonBenet’s parents staged the crime scene to make it appear as if an intruder had murdered her.
“CBS perpetrated a fraud upon the public — instead of being a documentary based on a new investigation by a so-called team of experts, The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey was a fictional crime show based primarily on a preconceived storyline scripted in a self-published and commercially unsuccessful book, Foreign Faction, written by Defendant James Kolar and published in 2012,” the lawsuit alleged, via People.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 5, 2019
Burke Ramsey’s lawyers sought $250 million in compensatory damages and $500 million in punitive damages. Due to very strict confidentiality agreements built into the settlement, it’s impossible to know how much CBS settled for. But given the specious nature of the show’s determination and the seriousness of the accusation, the network probably had to pay out a large amount in the seven to eight figure range.
In January of 2018, the Inquisitr reported a judge denied CBS’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
“The Court finds that the statements at issue and the docu-series as a whole could reasonably be understood as stating actual facts about Plaintiff. The Court does not find that the ‘disclaimer’ at the beginning and the end of the program negate the docu-series potentially defamatory meaning.”
Ramsey’s lawyer, L. Lin Wood, specializes in defamation cases and represents a number of high profile clients, including daytime TV personality Dr. Phil. Just as the CBS docu-series was set to air, Burke Ramsay appeared on The Dr. Phil Show to defend himself, as Time shared, speculating that it was “probably some pedophile in the pageant audience” that murdered his sister.