Among the flurry of projects centered around the murder of JonBenét Ramsey, CBS’s The Case Of: JonBenét Ramsey was the first to air. In it, forensic pathologist Werner Spitz implicated JonBenét’s brother Burke, then 9 years old, in her death. Ramsey, who has denied such accusations in the past, has now filed a $150 million lawsuit against Spitz, alleging defamation. The center of the suit is not the CBS special itself but a radio interview Spitz conducted with CBS Detroit where he again claimed that Ramsey was responsible for his sister’s murder. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the suit says, “Defendant Spitz made this accusation without ever examining JonBenet’s body, without viewing the crime scene, and without consulting with the pathologist who performed the autopsy on JonBenet.”
With the lawsuit, Ramsey is seeking $100 million in punitive damages, $50 million in compensatory damages, and a court order forcing Spitz to retract any defamatory statements. The case will likely largely ride on whether Ramsey constitutes a limited public figure — he discussed his sister’s death with Dr. Phil in November, but claims that he had never voluntarily discussed the case with the media before that point. So far, CBS has not been sued, but the suit against Spitz reportedly makes reference to another defamation claim that will be filed soon.