December 20, 1999
Tabloid Editor Arrested Over Ramsey
GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) -- The editor of a supermarket tabloid was arrested Monday after being indicted on extortion and bribery charges for his efforts to obtain information about the JonBenet Ramsey murder case.
A grand jury in Jefferson County returned an indictment last week charging Globe editor Craig Lewis, 44, with criminal extortion and commercial bribery, the district attorney's office said. He faces up to nine years in prison if convicted.
A jail officer said he was released on $5,000 bond after he turned himself in.
The indictment accuses Lewis of offering $30,000 for a copy of the ransom note that JonBenet's mother, Patsy Ramsey, reported finding hours before her daughter was found dead.
``We believe the conduct as set forth in this indictment clearly crosses the line of legitimate news gathering activity and violates Colorado law,'' District Attorney Dave Thomas said in a statement.
Lewis' lawyer did not return phone call seeking comment.
Mrs. Ramsey told police she found the 2 1/2-page ransom note on the back stairs of the family's home in Boulder on Dec. 26, 1996, hours before 6-year-old JonBenet was found beaten and strangled in the basement.
The grand jury in August indicted Boulder attorney Thomas C. Miller, 48, on commercial bribery charges, alleging he brokered an April 1997 attempt to buy a copy of the then-unreleased ransom note for $30,000.
Lewis is accused of accompanying Miller and offering to buy the note from a document examiner employed by attorneys representing JonBenet's parents. The examiner declined the offer.
The extortion charge centers on allegations that Lewis planned to force former Boulder police Detective Steve Thomas into an interview about JonBenet by threatening to publish photographs of Thomas' deceased mother and a story saying she committed suicide.
The district attorney's office waited to announce Thursday's indictment until it was filed in court Monday.
Last week, a judge rejected a defense request to block the indictment. Lawyers for Lewis and the tabloid said the laws being used against him were unconstitutionally broad and would have a chilling effect on reporters' First Amendment rights.
A Boulder County grand jury that investigated the Ramsey case ended more than a year of work in October without an indictment.
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