Vassar Professor Donald Foster
#1
See my full page on him at http://www.jameson245.com/foster_page.htm

This is a quote from Police Chief Mark Beckner's deposition in the Wolf v Ramsey lawsuit.

93
1 Chief? The man is -- you've seen the three-page
2 letter. He has staked his career and reputation that
3 Patsy Ramsey didn't write the notes, she is
4 absolutely, unequivocally innocent and that he didn't
5 make those statements without being right and he
6 didn't reveal that information to the Boulder Police
7 Department before you all hired him and paid him
8 taxpayer money, and then he came up with an analysis
9 that said that it was impossible for anyone else to
10 have written the note except for Patsy Ramsey.
11 That contradiction and concealment has to
12 be significant enough that any report he submitted on
13 any other person could not be relied upon by the
14 department because you knew that he would be
15 subjected to having his credibility destroyed; isn't
16 that a fair statement?
17 A That's fair.
Reply
#2
From Steve Thomas' deposition

Q. Mr. Thomas, directing your attention now to the handwriting reports from the Colorado Bureau of
Investigation, did you ever have occasion to see any of the handwriting reports that were done at all in
the case by CBI?
A. Yeah. What they called a report typically was more of a lab finding. It wasn't in a narrative
form, as I recall, but those were in the possession of Trujillo, the forensic evidence detective, but I did
have at least one occasion to look at those.
Q. Can you describe what one typically looked like? Like how many pages was one of these
reports?
A. Fairly short, if I recall. The one that I have in mind probably ran less than four pages. On the
front page was like a CBI logo or letterhead, whatever they typically manufacture their printed report
on and just simply black typewritten or computer-generated ink on white paper.
Q. Do you know what sort of analysis was actually done in the report of the handwriting?
A. Yeah, they -- I remember the language concerning Patsy Ramsey, which was included in that
report. And then many other people's or people whose handwriting had been looked at were also
reported in this document.
Q. Now, you say this document. Weren't there more than -- did they do separate reports for each
individual's handwriting that they examined, to the best of your knowledge?
A. Not that I saw.
Q. So basically what was it that you saw, a single report?
A. Well, as I described this report probably less than four pages in length that was very compacted
with a lot of information and not typically what you think of as a -- or what I think of as a police report
with a narrative, but more exhibit number such and such corresponding to this, et cetera. Not -- it
wasn't free-flowing narrative of any sort.
Q. The report that you actually were able to physically examine, do you know how many subjects or
persons were actually being discussed in that report?
A. Yeah, many. Many, many, many, you know, 20, 30, 40 maybe.
Q. Do you know whether or not the report drew any conclusions with respect to the authorship of
the ransom note?
A. Yes.
Q. Could you tell me what you remember the conclusion to be?
A. As I sit here today without that document in front of me, I recall language in that document that
along the lines, and I'm certainly paraphrasing, that there was evidence to suggest that Patsy Ramsey
was the author of the ransom note.
Q. Is that the language that you remember "evidence to suggest"?
A. Yes.
Q. Now, with respect to your book, you make a statement in your book, I'm trying to find the page,
but I'll just ask you generally, yeah, it's on page 282, in the next to the last paragraph on page 282, the
paragraph that begins "Not only did certain letters change." Do you have that?
A. Yes.
Q. Could you read that paragraph out loud, please?
A. Certainly. "Not only did certain letters change, but her entire writing style seemed to have been
transformed after the homicide. There were new ways of indenting, spelling, and writing out long
numbers that contrasted with her earlier examples, and she was the only suspect who altered her usual
preferences when supplying writing samples to the police."
Q. Now, the she in this paragraph, who is the she?
A. This is referring to Patsy Ramsey.
Q. All right. Now, may I ask you how you acquired the knowledge that you have in this paragraph?
How do you know that in fact is what was going on in her handwriting?
MR. WOOD: Let me say something I don't think that he stated that he knows that as a fact I think
he's describing what Don Foster said, but I may be wrong.
MR. HOFFMAN: Okay. I'm just asking him how he acquired that information.
MR. WOOD: Okay.
A. Mr. Hoffman, surrounding or preceding this paragraph it's in relation to Mr. Foster's presentation
in Boulder, if I'm not mistaken and his presentation overheads, examples, et cetera.
Q. (BY MR. HOFFMAN) All right. Do you know if anyone other than Don Foster shared that
belief who was involved in the investigation?
A. What belief?
Q. The belief that there was an attempt by Patsy Ramsey to alter her handwriting when asked for
exemplars?
MR. DIAMOND: Do you mean among the expert community?
Q. (BY MR. HOFFMAN) Among anybody that was investigating the case that you know of?
A. I don't know if Don Foster shared any of his findings or investigation with any of the FBI people
that he sometimes works with, but as far as those people in the room that day for this presentation in
trying to recall what Foster presented and said and demonstrated, that was certainly where I came
away with this impression.
Reply
#3
Q. Mr. Thomas, are you aware of the fact that Patsy Ramsey was asked to give what is known as
request samplers to the police on more than one occasion during the investigation?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know how many times she was -- on how many different occasions she was asked to
give request samples of her handwriting to the police?
A. If my understanding is correct, I think it was five.
Q. Do you know why she was asked to give five separate handwriting samples on five separate
occasions?
A. That was not my assignment, but given what I knew through the briefings and the detectives who
were handling that assignment I could speculate as to why it became known to me.
Q. Did anybody through hearsay or any other way communicate with you why they were asking
Patsy Ramsey to appear on more than one occasion to give exemplars?
A. Yes.
Q. Could you tell me why?
A. Yes. Because apparently the CBI examiner, analyst, expert, had questions or concerns about her
handwriting and similarities with the note.
Q. Did anybody ever express the belief that she was attempting to alter her handwriting?
A. Yes, Don Foster.
Q. Any other person in the investigation?
A. And, again, as I sit here, from memory and without the QD examiner's reports in front of me, Mr.
Hoffman, let me think for a moment. No, not that I can recall.
MR. HOFFMAN: Since I'm drawing near, how is my time doing, does anybody know?
MR. RAWLS: You've got 17 more minutes.


(Remember, Foster is not a HANDWRITING expert. He is a linguistics expert who said he never ever made mistakes - but we know he made a few. Shakespeare, Anthrax, Ramsey.....
Reply
#4
more from Thomas' deposition

Q. Now, what was Don Foster's -- did he give a written report to you on Chris Wolf's handwriting?
A. He may have. That would be in the Boulder Police Department.
Q. Did you -- do you recall ever reviewing it?
A. I may or may not have. I know that we took him handwriting of several potential suspects. But
no, as I sit here today, I don't recollect Mr. Foster or Dr. Foster's written report on Chris Wolf.
Q. Did Don Foster examine hundreds of writing examples from people ranging from family members
to Internet addicts, from neighbors to Chris Wolf to the McReynolds family and a library of books, films
and videotapes?
A. Yes.
Q. Do you know what he concluded with respect to each of the individuals that he analyzed?
A. Yeah, that they were not the author of the ransom note.
Q. He eliminated everybody, Don Foster did, didn't he?
A. But one, yes.
Q. Right. In fact Don Foster told you that of all of the hundreds of people of the samples that he had
looked at that he had conclusively eliminated everybody and that it was impossible for anyone to have
written that note other than Patsy Ramsey; that's what Don Foster told you, right?
A. Those are your words, not his, but I --
Q. Excuse me.
A. If I could finish.
Q. Yeah, you sure can.
A. He stated unequivocally that she was the author of the ransom note.
Reply
#5
Q. I want to go back. I told you I would do it, let's do it now. Look at page 281 of your book,
please, the hardback copy. The top of the page, the first actually it starts with "Don Foster from
Vassar." Do you see it?
A. Yes.
Q. The first paragraph there under that starts "'In my opinion, it is not possible that any individual
except Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom note.'" Have I read that correctly?
A. Yes.
Q. Earlier we were talking about whose words. Don Foster stated that it was impossible for anyone
else to have written the note except Patsy Ramsey, true?
A. This is his statement, yes, sir.
Q. It was not -- and so I was accurate earlier, that he said to you it's impossible that anyone else
wrote it?
A. Well, when I asked about your earlier quotation, I don't think you said this verbatim. But --
Q. Fine. But he did tell you it was impossible, didn't he, it was not possible, which is saying to you as
a detective, it's impossible that anyone else wrote it according to Don Foster, right?
A. Yes, that was the conclusion that he shared with me, Mr. Wood.
Q. But when you worked with him, and you worked with him a lot, didn't you? You all spent a
considerable amount of time discussing this case, didn't you, you and Don Foster?
A. When you say considerable amount of time, you know, no, I didn't spend weeks or days with Don
Foster, but he was an outside expert that we used in this case, yes.
Q. At any time did Don Foster, himself, ever disclose to you that he had written a letter to Patsy
Ramsey?
A. Yeah, I became aware of that at some point.
Q. After the district attorney's office presented you with the information about Jameson, true?
A. I believe that's correct.
Q. Did Don Foster when you were working with him for whatever period of time you spent with
him, when he was giving you his conclusions about the JonBenet Ramsey case and the impossibility that
anybody else wrote that note except Patsy Ramsey, did he ever look at you and say, you know, you
probably ought to know, though, that I did write a letter to Patsy Ramsey where I told her that I was
convinced that she was innocent? He never told you that, did he?
A. We had that conversation at some point.
Q. After he had already been outed by the Boulder DA, true?
A. Possibly.
Q. Do you think you had it before then and didn't disclose it to your police department in the
presentation?
A. No, that sounds reasonable.
Q. You would have if you would have known it, you would have told the police department about
that in the June presentation, wouldn't you, sir?
A. Right.
Q. Well, actually the presentation with Foster was in March, wasn't it?
A. If we're talking about 1998.
Q. We are.
A. It was the spring of 1998.
Q. Right.
Reply
#6
Q. Mr. Thomas, are you aware of the fact that Patsy Ramsey was asked to give what is known as
request samplers to the police on more than one occasion during the investigation?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know how many times she was -- on how many different occasions she was asked to
give request samples of her handwriting to the police?
A. If my understanding is correct, I think it was five.
Q. Do you know why she was asked to give five separate handwriting samples on five separate
occasions?
A. That was not my assignment, but given what I knew through the briefings and the detectives who
were handling that assignment I could speculate as to why it became known to me.
Q. Did anybody through hearsay or any other way communicate with you why they were asking
Patsy Ramsey to appear on more than one occasion to give exemplars?
A. Yes.
Q. Could you tell me why?
A. Yes. Because apparently the CBI examiner, analyst, expert, had questions or concerns about her
handwriting and similarities with the note.
Q. Did anybody ever express the belief that she was attempting to alter her handwriting?
A. Yes, Don Foster.
Q. Any other person in the investigation?
A. And, again, as I sit here, from memory and without the QD examiner's reports in front of me, Mr.
Hoffman, let me think for a moment. No, not that I can recall.
Reply
#7
Q. At what point in time did you say I think Patsy Ramsey killed her daughter?
A. I think the evidence led me to those conclusions and further strengthened my belief in the early
months of 1997.
Q. When in 1997, the early months, what does that mean? Tell me what that means with some
specificity, please, sir.
A. There was not a defining moment in which the bell rang and I noted the date and time. Early in
1997 it became more and more apparent to me that that's where the abundance of evidence was
leading.
Q. And you were heavily influenced in that determination by the conclusion of John Foster, weren't
you, sir?
A. Don Foster?
Q. Don Foster, yeah.
A. No, he did not come on board for I think almost another year.
Q. Right. So you had decided in your mind's eye that Patsy Ramsey killed her daughter many
months before Don Foster made the appearance as a consultant in the case, right?
A. Again, Mr. Wood, as I said, I felt there was an abundance of evidence pointing in that direction.
And that became -- and others viewed it the same way, incidentally. And, yes, in those early months of
'97, she looked pretty good for that.
Q. Yes, sir. Thank you. But that doesn't answer my question. You had decided in your mind's eye
that Patsy Ramsey killed her daughter many months before Don Foster made his appearance as a
consultant in the case, true?
A. I felt that she was the best suspect, yes, many months prior to Don's... Foster's involvement.
Q. Plaintiff's Exhibit Number 2 is Mr. Foster's letter to my client, Patsy Ramsey. Have you seen
that letter before?
A. I haven't looked at it yet.
Q. Do you think there was more than one?
MR. DIAMOND: Can you hold on a second?
MR. WOOD: Did I call that Plaintiff's Exhibit 2, it's Defendants' Exhibit 2, excuse me.
MR. SMITH: I don't have any --
MR. WOOD: I can't hear you. I can assume the general gist of what you're saying.
(Pause.)
MR. WOOD: Do you want to go off the record to save tape?
MR. DIAMOND: No, I will be done in a second. How are you doing?
THE DEPONENT: Yeah, I'm keeping up with you on it.
MR. DIAMOND: Do you want to give him a moment to look at it?
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) If you want to look at it, we can take a break instead of wasting tape
because I don't want it to count against my time?
MR. DIAMOND: If you show him a document he has a right to read it. If you only come with one
we've got to read it one at a time. This is your time use it the way you want.
MR. WOOD: Every road goes in two directions, Mr. --
MR. DIAMOND: Diamond.
MR. WOOD: Diamond, is that your name? I'm sorry, I forgot it just momentarily. Why don't we take
a five-minute break and let him read that. I need to go to the restroom anyway.
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: The time is 3:48. We're going off the record.
(Recess taken from 3:48 p.m. to 3:53 p.m.)
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: The time is 3:53. We're back on the record.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Defendants' Exhibit Number 2, you've had an opportunity to review it during
the break?
A. Yes.
Q. That is what you recall being as being a true and correct copy of a letter that was subsequently
brought to your attention at some point in the investigation that Mr. Foster, Don Foster, had written to
Patsy Ramsey in June of 1997?
A. I had only seen the first page of that.
Q. Does the first page appear to be a true and correct copy of that page that you saw?
A. Yes.
MR. DIAMOND: Did you get an audible response?
MR. WOOD: I thought he said yes. Did you get a yes?
THE REPORTER: Yes.
Reply
#8
my comments

Unbelievable that he would depend so much on Foster...

No, I take it back... Foster told Thomas exactly what Thomas wanted to hear... and Thomas was not about to investigate his source and risk losing that "creditable" source.
(Larry Schiller's word for Foster - - not credible but "creditable'.)
Reply
#9
Q. Page 284 -- let me ask you before I go there, during Mr. Foster's presentation, did he talk to you
all about the Dirty Harry movie and the references in the ransom note to it by talking about the fact that
the Ramseys' favorite movie was Animal House and there was a scene in Animal House where
somebody drove a car through the campus and hit a fire hydrant and there was a similar scene in Dirty
Harry like that. Do you recall that?
A. I recall something vaguely similar to that where he was discussing events out of motion pictures.
Q. Didn't you think that was borderline on the absurd, sir, to tie Dirty Harry to the Ramseys because
they liked the movie Animal House and it had a scene in it where somebody ran into a fire hydrant?
Didn't you think that was literally absurd or did you think that was good forensic testing?
A. Taken out of context as you represent it today it --
Q. Put it into context, if you would, please.
MR. DIAMOND: Let him finish his answer, please. Go ahead.
A. Taken out of context as you represented today, that may seem odd. But at the time, it was a part
of his presentation. And I don't recall my observation being how you described it as fantastic or
incredible or whatever term you used.
Reply
#10
Q. Didn't it bother you a little bit about putting Don Foster's name on this in light of the letter that we
looked at today that you've never even seen the second and third pages of --
A. No.
Q. -- Mr. Thomas?
A. No.
Q. Do you still think he's the best linguistic expert in the country?
A. He still does work for law enforcement and seems to be highly regarded and I certainly respect
Dr. Foster.
Q. Did you all send that letter to the FBI and let them know about what Mr. Foster had said to Patsy
Ramsey?
A. What letter is that?
Q. The letter that I just showed you today that you had only seen the first page of?
A. I did not.
Reply


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