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Crime

Burke Ramsey's Lawyer Says He'll Sue CBS Over 'Heinous' JonBenét Docuseries

Updated

A lawyer for JonBenét Ramsey‘s family says he will sue CBS for a recent docuseries that pointed the finger for her killing at her older brother, Burke Ramsey, PEOPLE confirms.

“I’m absolutely going to sue CBS on behalf of Burke as a result of the false accusations and the fraud of the docuseries by CBS,” attorney L. Lin Wood tells PEOPLE.

Wood, an Atlanta-based lawyer, told Reuters that “CBS’ false and unprofessional attacks on this young man are disgusting and revolting.”

But network officials aren’t backing down, saying in a statement to PEOPLE, “CBS stands by the broadcast and will do so in court.”

In the two-part The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey, which aired Sunday and Monday, a panel of investigators developed a theory of what they allege happened on the night the 6-year-old beauty pageant queen was found dead in the basement of her family’s Boulder, Colorado, in December 1996.

On the show, a team including a criminal behavioral analyst, a forensic scientist, a former FBI profiler and a pathologist alleged that Burke accidentally killed his sister.

Wood told Reuters that the show was filled with “lies, misrepresentations, distortions and omissions.”

Though the Ramsey family long faced suspicion, including from police, in JonBenét’s death, they have never been charged and have always maintained their innocence.

In 2008, then-District Attorney Mary Lacy wrote a letter to father John Ramsey saying that DNA evidence cleared him, wife Patsy Ramsey and Burke. (Lacy’s letter was criticized by some in law enforcement.)

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

JonBenét Ramsey in April 1996
Zuma Press

In the broadcast, the docuseries team theorized that JonBeneét took a piece of Burke’s pineapple on Christmas night, enraging him. Then the 9-year-old grabbed a flashlight and hit her on the head, the investigators alleged.

Wood called the broadcast an attempt to get ratings and noted that officials aired the program during September “sweeps” in an attempt to draw in viewers.

He echoed this criticism in a statement to NBC News, saying, “No fair-minded person can condone this false and heinous television attack by CBS on a young man for ratings and profits.”

For more on Burke Ramsey’s life now, and what he thinks about the JonBenét investigation, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Michael Strahan on the cover of PEOPLE
Andrew Hetherington

Burke Speaks Out

On Monday, as CBS’ docuseries aired its second part, Burke appeared for the final segment of his three-part Dr. Phil interview, his first public sit-down since JonBenét’s death.

He and his father (who also spoke to Dr. Phil McGraw) reiterated that the family had nothing to do with the killing. Burke even offered his own theory of the crime – that it was “probably some pedophile” who saw his sister perform.

But as McGraw noted in his interview, some viewers have bristled at Burke’s socially awkward demeanor, even in the immediate wake of his sister’s death. McGraw cautioned viewers that grief takes many forms.

And while one legal expert thinks Burke agreeing to an interview was ill-advised, he also said it doesn’t prove any of the sinister speculation.

“I’m astonished at the conclusions that people can make about someone’s guilt or innocence based on an interview they see on television,” legal analyst Scott Robinson tells PEOPLE, adding, “[Burke] was awkward and didn’t show much emotion, but that doesn’t mean anything.

“What I saw was a young man who was finally speaking out, and he was nervous and awkward,” Robinson says. “But I didn’t see anything that made him look guilty.”

With reporting by STEVE HELLING