0001
1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
2 ATLANTA DIVISION
3 ROBERT CHRISTIAN WOLF,
4 Plaintiff,
CASE NO. 00-CIV-1187(JEC)
5 vs.
6 JOHN BENNETT RAMSEY and
PATRICIA PAUGH RAMSEY,
7
Defendants.
8 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
9
VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITION OF
10
GIDEON EPSTEIN
11
12 May 17, 2002
9:35 a.m.
13
191 Peachtree Street, N.E.
14Atlanta, Georgia
15
16 Valerie N. Almand, RPR, CCR-B-531
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
0002
1 APPEARANCES
2 On behalf of the Plaintiff Robert Christian Wolf:
3 EVAN M. ALTMAN, Esquire
4 Lake Forrest Place
5 6085 Lake Forrest Drive, Suite 300-B
6 Atlanta, Georgia 30328
7 (404) 845-0695
8 .
9 DARNAY HOFFMAN, Esquire (via telephonic means)
10Law Offices of Darnay Hoffman
11Suite 209
12210 West 70th Street
13New York, New York 10023
14(212) 712-2766
15.
16On behalf of the Defendants, John Bennett Ramsey and
17Patricia Paugh Ramsey:
18JAMES RAWLS, Esquire
19ERIC P. SCHROEDER, Esquire
20Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, L.L.P.
21Sixteenth Floor
22191 Peachtree Street, N.E.
23Atlanta, Georgia 30303
24(404) 572-6600
25//
0003
1 L. LIN WOOD, Esquire
2 L. Lin Wood, P.C.
3 2140 The Equitable Building
4 100 Peachtree Street
5 Atlanta, Georgia 30303
6 (404) 522-1713
7 .
8 Also Present:
9 John Ramsey
10Matt Wood
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
0004
1 Deposition of Gideon Epstein
2 May 17, 2002
3 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We are now on the
4 record, and the time is 9:34 a.m.
5 MR. RAWLS: Very good. Let me make
6 a brief stipulation by way of beginning.
7 Darnay, can you hear me?
8 MR. HOFFMAN: Yes.
9 MR. RAWLS: This is the deposition
10of Mr. Gideon Epstein. The deposition is taken
11of Mr. Epstein as an expert for the plaintiff,
12Robert Christian Wolf, in this case.
13The deposition is being taken at a
14time and place determined by agreement of
15counsel and formalized thereafter by a notice
16issued by the defendants.
17The deposition is taken for all
18proper purposes under the Federal Rules of Civil
19Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence.
20Is that a suitable stipulation, Evan
21and Darnay?
22MR. ALTMAN: Yes, it is.
23MR. HOFFMAN: Yes, it is.
24MR. ALTMAN: Jim, one preliminary
25thing. Did you also want to limit the
0005
1 objections, the usual objection sort of thing?
2 I don't know if you mentioned that.
3 MR. RAWLS: Yes, let's agree as I
4 believe the rules provide that all objections
5 except as to the form of the question and as
6 to the responsiveness of the answer will be
7 reserved until the time of the trial, hearing or
8 other use of the deposition testimony.
9 MR. ALTMAN: That is acceptable.
10MR. RAWLS: Darnay, is that --
11MR. HOFFMAN: In fact, in New York
12we usually, when we sit down we say usual
13stips. That's fine, absolutely.
14GIDEON EPSTEIN, having been first
15duly sworn, was examined and deposed as
16follows:
17 EXAMINATION
18 BY-MR.RAWLS:
19 Q. Mr. Epstein, tell us, please, your
20full name.
21A.Gideon Epstein, G-I-D-E-O-N, Epstein,
22E-P-S-T-E-I-N.
23Q.Do you have a middle name?
24A.I do not.
25Q.And have you ever had?
0006
1 A.Never had a middle name. Two was
2 always enough, thank you.
3 Q.Have you ever had a different name?
4 A.Never had a different name.
5 Q.Your date of birth, please?
6 A.July 6th, 1938.
7 Q.And place of birth?
8 A.Riga, Latvia, that's spelled R-I-G-A.
9 Q.At birth were you a U.S. citizen?
10A.I was not. I'm a naturalized
11citizen. I was naturalized in 1956.
12Q.Mr. Epstein, where do you make your
13home, sir?
14A.In Rockville, Maryland.
15Q.And how long have you lived there?
16A.I've lived in Rockville since 1988.
17Prior to that I lived in Gaithersburg, Maryland,
18just a short distance from there.
19Q.When did you first come to the U.S.?
20A.I came to the United States in July
21of 1946.
22Q.At approximately the age of --
23A.Eight.
24Q.-- eight. Shortly after your 8th
25birthday.
0007
1 A.That's right.
2 Q.Would you describe for us,
3 Mr. Epstein, what you understand to be your
4 engagement in the case of Robert Christian Wolf
5 against John and Patsy Ramsey?
6 A.My engagement in the case, as I see
7 it, is to conduct forensic handwriting
8 examinations of the disputed ransom note, in
9 conjunction with the known handwriting that I
10was provided of the Ramseys, and attempt to
11establish, if possible, through that forensic
12examination whether there was common authorship
13between the known writing and the disputed
14ransom note.
15Q.When were you first retained in this
16case?
17A.I was first retained in this case
18about a little less than two years ago, I
19believe.
20Q.Can you be more specific?
21A.No, because originally I became
22involved in this case in a sort of an
23unofficial capacity as a result of reviewing the
24documents that another document examiner who was
25in the case was looking at, Larry Zieglar.
0008
1 At the time I was the chief document
2 examiner at the immigration laboratory and
3 Mr. Zieglar was a contractor for me, and so I
4 became aware of the documents and I saw the
5 documents prior to officially becoming involved,
6 but like I say, the best I can recall is that
7 it was about two years.
8 Q.When you were first retained did you
9 agree to assist for a fee?
10A.No, I did not. In fact, I -- prior
11to being officially retained and while still an
12employee of the department of justice, I
13contacted the ethics officer at the Immigration
14and Naturalization Service and asked for
15permission to become involved in the case on a
16pro bono basis, and that permission was granted,
17and it was at that time that I became involved
18officially in the case, and there was -- I had,
19from the beginning it was a pro bono basis
20case.
21Q.Has that ever changed?
22A.Not -- actually, I did receive a fee
23for the Article 26 report, but prior to that I
24had put in more than 50 hours of examination
25time in the case for which I did not bill
0009
1 anyone.
2 Q.What was your fee for the Rule 26
3 report?
4 A.Twelve hundred dollars.
5 Q.And was that paid?
6 A.It was.
7 Q.Do you now consider yourself a pro
8 bono expert or a for fee expert?
9 A.I consider myself a pro bono expert.
10Q.And would you describe your reason,
11please, for taking this matter on a pro bono
12basis?
13A.I've been involved in this profession
14for 35 years, and have always considered that
15the forensic sciences have a responsibility to
16the criminal justice system, and I've felt very
17strongly about that throughout my entire
18professional career.
19I feel that the questioned document
20profession let the criminal justice system down
21in this particular case, and I feel very
22strongly that I would, if possible, like to set
23that straight.
24I don't believe that the forensic
25reports that have been rendered in this case
0010
1 thus far by those document examiners who earlier
2 examined these documents were correct, and I
3 don't believe that justice has been served, and
4 that's my only reason for becoming involved in
5 the case.
6 Q.Mr. Epstein, given all that, why did
7 you charge twelve hundred dollars for the Rule
8 26 report?
9 A.Because I had expenses and we all
10have bills, and there were cases that I had
11turn down that were fee cases.
12In this kind of a case, you have to
13be prepared to devote a great deal of time to
14a case like this, and it's not a case that you
15can bill for. It's not a case where every
16hour can be counted and charged up to someone.
17So there are, however, instances
18where you do have static things, for instance,
19this deposition is an example. It's a certain
20number of hours that we know we're going to
21devote to it and we can predict what we can
22charge in it, and so therefore I think that to
23work for two years on a case and sacrifice
24other cases in place of it that you have to,
25if you can, make up some of that, and I feel
0011
1 that that's the reason I charged for the -- the
2 twelve hundred dollars for the Article 26 report
3 as well as for this deposition, is because these
4 are sort of static hours that we know we've put
5 in and it's something that can easily be billed,
6 whereas the amount of time that we actually
7 devote to the examination of a case like this
8 can't really be counted.
9 Q.How many hours did you spend working
10on the Rule 26 report?
11A.Approximately ten hours.
12Q.So the twelve hundred dollars charge
13was approximately --
14A.I charged for an eight-hour day.
15Q.All right, sir. In fact, was it
16suggested to you, Mr. Epstein, that you would
17have trouble charging my clients for your time
18today if you had not sent a bill for the Rule
1926 report to Darnay Hoffman?
20A.No, that was never mentioned to me
21at all.
22Q.That was never any part of your
23thinking?
24A.No, never part of my thinking.
25Q.And if that was part of anyone
0012
1 else's thinking, that was never shared with you.
2 A.If it was someone else's thinking it
3 was never shared with me, no. In fact, if
4 there had been any indication that there would
5 be difficulty collecting a fee for today, I
6 would have been very happy to come here without
7 a fee.
8 Q.Mr. Epstein, in this case counsel
9 have been furnished by your side's attorneys,
10Mr. Altman and Mr. Hoffman, a document that is
11styled plaintiff's disclosure of expert
12testimony. On Page 2 of that document there's
13a paragraph, in fact could you take a look at
14the second full paragraph on Page 2 --
15A.Mr. Epstein is being compensated
16(inaudible). Yes. The twelve hundred dollars I
17received for the Article 26 report, I have a
18photographer who prepared all of my charts, he
19received eight hundred dollars, that makes up
20the two thousand dollars as far as the amount.
21I didn't feel I could ask my photographer to
22work pro bono. He has expenses, and so he was
23paid eight hundred dollars for the preparation
24of the charts.
25Q.Mr. Epstein, would you look on with
0013
1 me and tell me if I am reading this paragraph
2 correctly? "Mr. Epstein is being compensated
3 for his report and testimony at the rate of two
4 hundred dollars per hour for his trial and
5 deposition testimony, and at the rate of one
6 hundred fifty dollars per hour for his
7 laboratory examination and discovery report. To
8 date Mr. Epstein has paid -- excuse me, has
9 been paid two thousand dollars."
10Have I read that correctly.
11A.You've read it correctly, but I'm
12not exactly sure what is meant by that. I can
13only tell you what I received and my
14understanding.
15I think that it was always
16understood that the majority of my work and my
17examination time would be on a pro bono basis.
18The only fee that I've received has been the
19twelve hundred dollars for the Article 26
20report, which was invoiced at a hundred and
21fifty dollars an hour for eight hours.
22As far as any understanding, at the
23time that the report was provided, I don't know
24that there was any discussion about testimony
25fees, so that's my understanding of it.
0014
1 Q.Mr. Epstein, did your familiarity
2 with Chris Wolf play any part in your decision
3 to do any work on this case pro bono?
4 A.I don't know Chris Wolf.
5 Q.Do you know anything about
6 Mr. Wolf's situation, his story, his career, his
7 background, his plight, if you will?
8 A.I know nothing about Mr. Wolf, and
9 that's intentional.
10Q.May I say I don't blame you.
11Are you familiar with Mr. Wolf's
12career in the entertainment industry?
13A.As I say, I don't know anything
14about Mr. Wolf at all.
15Q.And why was it intentional that you
16learned nothing about Mr. Wolf?
17A.Because it's always been my policy
18as a document examiner not to involve myself
19with those outside things in a case that have
20nothing to do with the documents that I examine.
21Q.Mr. Epstein, you testified earlier
22that forensic reports by members of your
23document examination profession thus far in
24connection with the ransom note found at the
25home of John and Patsy Ramsey have not been
0015
1 correct.
2 A.That's my feeling, yes.
3 Q.Which of those reports have you
4 read?
5 A.I've read the report by Howard Rile,
6 and I've read the report by Lloyd Cunningham.
7 I think those are the only written reports that
8 I recall seeing. I know that there were other
9 document examiners who came to a similar
10conclusion, but I don't know if they ever put
11those findings into a written report.
12Q.So the only reports that you have
13observed are those provided in this case by the
14Ramseys' experts, Howard Rile and Lloyd
15Cunningham; is that correct?
16A.That's correct.
17Q.What, if anything, have those reports
18had to do with the criminal justice system, sir?
19A.They have had nothing to do with the
20criminal justice system.
21Q.You testified earlier that members of
22your profession had, in your opinion, let the
23criminal justice system down in this case; did
24you not, sir?
25A.I did, because I think that
0016
1 originally if the examinations had been conducted
2 in a different manner that the results would
3 have been such that it may have become a
4 criminal justice matter.
5 Q.But the fact is you don't know how
6 those original document examination reports were
7 done at all; do you, sir?
8 A.Well, I know what the findings were
9 of the people that did it.
10Q.Do you know the names of the people
11that made the examinations?
12A.I know that the people from the
13Colorado bureau conducted examinations that were
14inconclusive. I don't recall now the person
15that did it, an older gentleman, I can see his
16face, I can't recall his name. But there were
17certainly forensic examinations done at the time
18that there was a criminal investigation into
19this matter.
20Obviously that was significant
21evidence in this case, and so therefore that had
22to have been done, and I know that those
23conclusions were inconclusive.
24Q.The fact is, you know nothing about
25the manner in which any of the experts retained
0017
1 by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation rendered
2 their examinations, their analyses and their
3 conclusions; am I not correct?
4 A.Specifically, I don't know what they
5 concluded, but generally I know that the
6 conclusions were inconclusive.
7 Q.Mr. Epstein, I want to come back
8 later to the subject of the other reports and
9 analyses of handwriting that were done as part
10of the criminal justice part of the
11investigation of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
12I'll come back to that later. I want to learn
13a little bit more about you, if you don't
14mind --
15A.Not at all.
16Q.-- sharing some additional information
17with us.
18First I'd like to know how you
19prepared for this deposition.
20A.I prepared for the deposition by
21going over the work that I had done in this
22case and going over my report and the
23illustrations that are attached to it.
24Q.Did you confer with any of the
25attorneys for Mr. Wolf before this deposition in
0018
1 preparation?
2 A.I did not.
3 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
4 1 was marked for identification).
5 MR. ALTMAN: Jim, with respect to
6 the last question, when you say conferred, I
7 mean, we had discussions regarding the case. I
8 guess my question is could you maybe be a
9 little bit more specific about what you want to
10know regarding that?
11MR. RAWLS: Thank you, Evan.
12Q.Mr. Epstein, what I want to know is
13did you consult Mr. Altman or Mr. Hoffman about
14this deposition?
15A.I did not.
16Q.Were you told anything about the
17testimony earlier this week of Ms. Cina Wong?
18A.I learned of that testimony this
19morning.
20Q.From whom did you learn of that?
21A.From Mr. Altman.
22Q.Have you ever seen Ms. Wong's
23report?
24A.Yes, I did, almost two years ago.
25I believe it was shown to me when I first
0019
1 became involved in this case.
2 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim.
3 MR. RAWLS: Yes.
4 MR. HOFFMAN: I'd just like to add
5 a note here, it can be on or off the record.
6 Mr. Epstein has never been shown the most recent
7 report by Cina Wong.
8 THE WITNESS: No, the most recent
9 one, the one I saw was several years old.
10MR. RAWLS: I certainly take
11Mr. Epstein at his word that if he saw a Cina
12Wong report two years ago it could not have
13been what Ms. Wong has later put together.
14But Darnay, thank you for your
15explanation.
16BY MR. RAWLS:
17Q.Mr. Epstein, may I show you a
18document that has been marked Defendant's
19Exhibit-1 to your deposition? What is this,
20please, sir?
21A.This is my fee schedule.
22Q.Did you provide that to Mr. Hoffman
23and Mr. Altman?
24A.I think I did at one time, but I
25never, I never really adhered to this fee
0020
1 schedule.
2 Q.And does anything on this fee
3 schedule indicate that you are serving in this
4 case pro bono?
5 A.It does not.
6 Q.And do you know that this was given
7 us as if it were your fee schedule in this
8 case by Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Altman?
9 A.I'm not aware of under what
10conditions that was given to you, but I can
11tell you that I think they both understand that
12I'm working this case on a pro bono basis.
13Q.I don't know what they understand, I
14only know what they have given me to believe
15before today, Mr. Epstein, and that was this
16Defendant's Exhibit 1.
17A.And that, I'm not aware of.
18Q.You did not thorough Mr. Hoffman or
19Mr. Altman to misrepresent to me your fee; did
20you, sir?
21MR. ALTMAN: Object as to the form.
22A.No, I know nothing about this whole
23matter of the fee. I think it was rather
24clear from the very beginning that I was working
25this case on a pro bono basis. It hasn't
0021
1 changed, and it will not change.
2 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim.
3 MR. RAWLS: Yes.
4 MR. HOFFMAN: Did I include with
5 that the letter of agreement that I had signed
6 with Mr. Epstein, I think it was in January or
7 late December, whereby I had agreed in a letter
8 agreement with him -- it was one page -- to,
9 you know, pay him for his time and whatever
10else? I don't know if that was included there.
11MR. RAWLS: I don't think so,
12Darnay.
13MR. HOFFMAN: Okay, because I have
14it, and I don't know if I can find it like
15during this deposition period, but I can fax
16your office a copy of it.
17MR. WOOD: Why don't you do that?
18MR. RAWLS: That will be
19appreciated.
20MR. HOFFMAN: Because I think
21there's some confusion here. There was a period
22late December, early January where I got an
23e-mail from Mr. Epstein to the effect that
24because there was so much time involved in the
25case that he needed at the very least nominal
0022
1 compensation, and he faxed me a -- and, Gideon,
2 I don't know if you remember this or not --
3 faxed me a letter of understanding, agreement,
4 whatever you want to call it, it was a couple
5 of paragraphs, which I signed, duly signed and
6 faxed back to him, and that's the basis by
7 which it was my understanding that he would be
8 appearing at least for parts of the deposition
9 as a paid consultant.
10So there's been no attempt to try to
11misrepresent Mr. Epstein's understanding or my
12understanding. There may be a little confusion
13here. And to clear that up, I will fax you a
14copy of the agreement that Mr. Epstein had me
15sign, I think it was in January or late
16December.
17MR. SCHROEDER: Darnay, Eric Shroeder
18here. Would you mind faxing that to my
19attention?
20MR. HOFFMAN: To your attention,
21Eric?
22MR. SCHROEDER: Yes.
23MR. HOFFMAN: Yeah, fine.
24BY MR. RAWLS:
25Q.Mr. Epstein, would you agree with me
0023
1 that for justice to be served candor is
2 necessary?
3 A.Absolutely.
4 Q.Are you, Mr. Epstein, a trained
5 graphologist?
6 A.I am not.
7 Q.Do you need to be a trained
8 graphologist in order to be a qualified forensic
9 document examiner?
10A.No, you don't.
11Q.Does graphology add anything to your
12ability to be a qualified document -- forensic
13document examiner?
14A.I don't believe it does, no.
15Q.What is graphology, sir?
16A.The study and examination of
17handwriting with the purpose of establishing a
18person's personality and character traits.
19Q.Do you do that?
20A.I do not.
21Q.Have you ever aspired to do that?
22A.I have never aspired to do that.
23Q.Does that business of graphology
24impress you as a science?
25A.It does not.
0024
1 Q.Does it have credibility with you in
2 any manner?
3 A.It does not.
4 Q.Do you believe in it?
5 A.I do not.
6 Q.When did you leave government
7 service, Mr. Epstein?
8 A.I left government service in December
9 of the year 2000.
10Q.And at that time your employer had
11been the United States Immigration and
12Naturalization Service; am I correct?
13A.Forensic document laboratory, that's
14correct.
15Q.And you were in charge of that
16laboratory, if I'm not mistaken.
17A.I was in charge of the forensic unit
18of that laboratory. There's also an
19intelligence unit that's a part of that
20laboratory that I was not in charge of.
21Q.When you sought permission to assist
22Mr. Wolf pro bono, whose permission did you
23seek?
24A.I first went to the laboratory
25director and then I went to the ethics officer
0025
1 at headquarters, INS, and received permission
2 from both of them.
3 Q.And the name of the lab director?
4 A.Katherine Sheehan, S-H-E-E-H-A-N, and
5 she's still the laboratory director today.
6 Q.And who is the ethics officer in
7 Washington?
8 A.That I can't remember. I did
9 receive an e-mail back from him, and Ms. Sheehan
10would certainly know who the ethics officer is,
11but I -- at the moment it slipped my mind who
12he is.
13Q.Do you still possess a copy of that
14e-mail?
15A.I probably do, yes.
16Q.We would like to see that if you
17will agree to --
18A.Certainly.
19Q.-- seek it, and if Mr. Hoffman and
20Mr. Altman will agree to permit you to share it
21with us.
22MR. ALTMAN: We have no objection.
23Darnay? No objection.
24A.I will try to find that e-mail. I
25know that I kept it because I felt that it was
0026
1 important in case I was ever asked why or how
2 or under what circumstances I became involved.
3 Q.If I have done my math right, you
4 are approximately 63 years old now, is that
5 correct?
6 A.Sixty-four, will be sixty-five in
7 July.
8 Q.And are you -- do you consider
9 yourself now to be semiretired, or a nonretired
10businessman?
11A.Well, I don't consider myself a
12businessman. Actually I'm a pretty poor
13businessman, I found. But I am, I would say,
14semiretired although sometimes I feel that I'm
15busier now than when I was working, so . . .
16Q.How many hours in a typical week do
17you practice your field of forensic document
18examination?
19A.I have a contract at the present
20time with the immigration service forensic
21document laboratory to train their new document
22examiners, and I devote about five hours in the
23morning, five days a week, to that.
24And then in the afternoons I have a
25private practice and I devote, depending on the
0027
1 cases, a good part of the afternoon to that.
2 So I would say that I devote probably pretty
3 close to eight hours a day to forensic document
4 examination.
5 Q.Well, that doesn't sound very retired
6 to me.
7 A.Sometimes it's not.
8 Q.Tell me what is involved in the
9 training program which -- or by which you train
10immigration and naturalization service document
11examiners, please.
12A.Certainly. It's a 30-month program
13at the laboratory where I was and where I'm
14presently training people. The handwriting
15portion of the training is approximately one
16year in length, and it consists of a reading of
17all of the recent and past literature, all of
18the books on questioned document examination to
19familiarize all of the trainees with the basic
20principles of the profession.
21It involves the reading of papers
22and various research type projects that have
23been conducted on the subject of handwriting.
24It involves the study of handwriting systems,
25and then a great portion of that training is an
0028
1 apprenticeship-type training where actual cases
2 are used, past cases where exhibits have been
3 photographed and retained and where the cases
4 are assigned, and then the trainees will work
5 them and the cases are critiqued, and they move
6 from that into actual life cases where original
7 documents are available, and this goes on for
8 about a year to build a base and a foundation
9 for knowing and understanding how the basic
10principle for document examination apply to the
11work.
12Q.How many individuals are being
13trained by you in the training program which you
14are operating at present?
15A.Right now there are three.
16Q.And when did this 30-month program
17begin which you are now in the midst of?
18A.In June of last year.
19Q.So the idea is that those three
20students who have been in the program less than
21one year now will complete 30 months of study.
22A.Eventually. My contract has just
23been extended for another year. We will be
24finishing the handwriting block of the
25instruction next month, and at that time they
0029
1 will move on to other areas of document
2 examination.
3 Q.And are those three students being
4 paid as employees of the INS while they are
5 taking your training course?
6 A.They are. They are actually
7 employees. They were brought into the
8 laboratory as permanent employees and the
9 positions are the positions of trainee, and then
10after they've completed their training they will
11go into permanent positions as forensic document
12examiners.
13Q.And what credentials did they need
14to have before they could get admission into
15your training program, if you know?
16A.I do know. All three of them have
17master's degrees in forensic science from the
18George Washington University of Forensic
19Sciences.
20Q.Did you select these people?
21A.These three, I did not. I've been
22training people, though, for a number of years,
23and previous trainees I have selected, but these
24three were selected by my predecessor.
25Q.At the end of the 30-month course
0030
1 that you have described what will these three
2 individuals be qualified to do, in your
3 judgment, at least as you hope?
4 A.Well, hopefully, and so far we've
5 been very successful, is that they will be able
6 to assume a caseload of their own. The first
7 year or so afterwards their work will all be
8 check and countersigned by a more senior
9 examiner, but they will be in a position to
10take cases to court, should testimony be
11necessary, and they will conduct independent
12examinations of handwriting, handprinting matters,
13altered and counterfeit document cases, various
14miscellaneous problems having to do with
15documents.
16Q.In your 30-month program how much
17time is devoted to the study of graphology?
18A.None -- well, let me say that I
19spend time only to identify what graphology is
20and that it is not a part of forensic document
21examination, and that it is not something that
22we consider in our work.
23Q.What are the major books in the
24literature which your training program asks these
25students to read?
0031
1 A.Well, there's only really a handful.
2 There's Suspect Documents by Harrison, Questioned
3 Documents by Osborn, Problem of Proof by Osborn,
4 Scientific Examination of Documents by Hilton,
5 Forensic Document Examination by Huber and
6 Hedrick, Conway's book on disputed documents.
7 That pretty much is the majority of the accepted
8 texts.
9 MR. RAWLS: May we take a brief
10recess at this time? Is that convenient?
11MR. ALTMAN: Sure.
12MR. RAWLS: We're off the record
13at --
14THE VIDEOGRAPHER: 10:13 a.m.
15(Recess).
16THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Back on the
17record at 10:26 a.m.
18BY MR. RAWLS:
19Q.Mr. Epstein, we have a book here
20that I'll show you, let me put it in the way
21of the camera for just a moment, and, for the
22record, this book was spoken of by Ms. Cina
23Wong earlier this week.
24Do you understand that Ms. Wong is
25your co-expert on handwriting in the case of
0032
1 Chris Wolf? Was that a smile captured just
2 then or an effort not to smile?
3 A.An effort not to smile. I don't
4 know what you mean by co- -- what was it you
5 said?
6 Q.My word was co-expert on handwriting
7 in the case of Chris Wolf.
8 A.I really don't know how to answer
9 that question, to tell you the truth, because I
10was not aware until this morning on my way here
11that she had, in fact, been deposed and that
12she had, in fact, written another report.
13MR. HOFFMAN: Jim, can I interject
14here, because this is a thing that involves
15counsel and you can put this on the record or
16keep it off, whichever you like.
17MR. RAWLS: Well, Darnay, first I'd
18like for Mr. Epstein to finish his answer. I
19didn't think he was finished, but he might have
20been.
21MR. HOFFMAN: I'm very sorry.
22Q.Mr. Epstein.
23A.I don't consider her as my co-expert
24in this case.
25Q.Why is that?
0033
1 A.Someone else may consider her as a
2 co-expert in this case, but I don't.
3 Q.Why?
4 A.Because I don't believe that she
5 meets what I and the profession consider to be
6 the necessary qualifications for forensic
7 document examination.
8 Q.Mr. Epstein, I don't either.
9 MR. RAWLS: Darnay, if this is when
10you would like to make your remark, please feel
11free to do so.
12MR. HOFFMAN: Yeah. One of the
13things that I was most concerned about with
14respect to both Cina and Gideon was that there
15would be no opportunity for either person to
16really be able to comment on the work of the
17other individual, on the theory that keeping the
18handwriting experts from knowing about the work
19of the other person could lead to truthful
20answers that, in fact, they were not influenced
21in any way by the work being done by the other
22person. So that was really the reason.
23MR. RAWLS: Thank you. Darnay, are
24you finished?
25MR. HOFFMAN: Yes, Jim, thank you.
0034
1 MR. RAWLS: Good. And back -- I
2 think it's true that perhaps all of us
3 digressed, including me.
4 BY MR. RAWLS:
5 Q.The book I referenced earlier,
6 Mr. Epstein, is called Attorney's Guide to
7 Document Examination, it's written by Katherine,
8 with a K, Koppenhaver with a K,
9 K-O-P-P-E-N-H-A-V-E-R. Are you familiar with
10this text, Mr. Epstein?
11A.I am familiar with her. I'm not
12familiar with her book.
13Q.What can you tell us about your
14familiarity with her?
15A.I consider her another one of the
16people practicing on the fringe of forensic
17document examination who probably have a
18background in graphology, who have opposed a
19number of qualified document examiners in the
20Washington area.
21I believe she's in Baltimore; is
22that correct?
23Q.I'm not certain.
24A.I think she's in Baltimore. But
25I've seen some of her findings and I don't have
0035
1 any respect for her work, I guess is the
2 easiest way to say it.
3 Q.Do you agree that Ms. Koppenhaver is
4 not a qualified forensic document examiner?
5 A.As far as my profession is
6 concerned, yes.
7 Q.Is her book a book that has gained,
8 to your knowledge, credibility in the field of
9 forensic document examination?
10A.I've never seen that book before,
11and I've been in the field 35 years.
12Q.Now, it is a relatively new book.
13Is this one that's going to show up on your
14reading list --
15A.No, it won't.
16Q.Why is that?
17A.As I said, I have absolutely no
18respect for her or her work, so there's no
19reason for me to read her book.
20Q.She, we were told, is actually the
21president of an organization -- or is immediate
22past president of an organization called National
23Association of Document Examiners. Is that a
24bona fide group of forensic document examiners?
25A.It is not.
0036
1 Q.What is that group, if you know?
2 A.It's a group that's composed
3 primarily of graphologists.
4 Q.Do you recognize board certifications
5 by the National Association of Document Examiners
6 of forensic document examiners?
7 A.The only recognized body for the
8 forensic profession in document examination in
9 North America is the American Board of Forensic
10Document Examiners. They're the only recognized
11board to certify document examiners. A lot of
12these fringe organizations, and there are others
13besides that one that certify their own members,
14and that's so that the individual can go into
15court and state that they're board-certified, and
16the court doesn't know the difference between
17one board and another.
18Q.Unless, of course, an expert
19qualified by the American Board of Forensic
20Document Examiners is hired by another party in
21the case.
22A.That's correct.
23Q.Mr. Epstein, in the course in which
24you train representatives of the Immigration and
25Naturalization Service in document examination,
0037
1 do you give feedback on the work done by your
2 students?
3 A.Certainly. The entire program is
4 monitored in such a way as to evaluate any
5 weaknesses or any progress that the student
6 makes or any particular area of the program that
7 has to be -- where you have to devote more
8 time.
9 Different people learn at different
10speeds and different levels and have come into
11the program with different backgrounds, and so
12to some degree you have to be monitoring this
13kind of thing very closely.
14Q.Do you give critiques on the work
15done by the students?
16A.Absolutely.
17Q.Do you critique them on their work
18on past cases that have been solved?
19A.They're critiqued on the cases that
20they work and whether they correctly recognized
21the elements of that particular case that either
22resulted in an elimination or an identification
23or resulted in a qualified conclusion.
24I think during the training program
25it's important for the trainees to develop
0038
1 certain skills that will allow them in the
2 future to be able to recognize such things as
3 disguise, as individual highly unique
4 characteristics, as class characteristics, as
5 what is handwriting variation versus what is a
6 difference.
7 I mean, these are all important
8 elements of handwriting, and if you don't learn
9 these things at the beginning, they affect you
10the rest of the time that you're in the
11profession.
12Q.Do you critique the work done by
13these students on live cases?
14A.I am doing that now. They now have
15gotten to the point where they are assigned live
16cases.
17Q.Is 30 months enough to enable a good
18student in your class to become a qualified
19forensic document examiner?
20A.It's enough time for them to reach a
21point where they can start to do independent
22work that is checked by a more senior examiner.
23None of the work, even after the 30-month
24program, will go out without a more senior
25examiner looking at their work.
0039
1 Q.So what they need is 30 months plus
2 perhaps a year's apprenticeship in which their
3 work is checked out by an experienced INS
4 forensic document examiner?
5 A.Yes, and the length of time that
6 their work is reviewed will depend on the
7 individual and the progress that individual
8 makes.
9 When the senior examiner feels that
10they have developed their skills to such a
11degree that they can be relied upon to send a
12report out on their own without it being
13reviewed, then they will move into that phase of
14their career.
15Q.And that is thirty months at five
16days per week and five hours per day; am I
17correct?
18A.It's five hours a day of my
19instruction. They have assigned beyond that
20five hours other things, reading assignments,
21special projects, so they are training more than
22five hours a day, but my actual involvement with
23them is for about five hours a day.
24Q.So it's five hours a day plus
25homework five days a week for thirty months.
0040
1 A.That's correct.
2 Q.Did you ever train Cina Wong?
3 A.I did not.
4 Q.Did you ever train David Leibman?
5 A.I did not.
6 Q.Do you know David Leibman?
7 A.I know that he rendered a report
8 early on in this case. I think I remember
9 seeing something a couple of years ago that he
10wrote.
11Q.Is he a qualified forensic document
12examiner?
13A.He is not, no.
14Q.Why not?
15A.Again, for the same reasons. I
16don't believe that he ever went through any kind
17of recognized or accepted training program.
18The profession requires that for a
19person to be qualified to do this work, they
20must complete, at a minimum, a two-year resident
21training program in a recognized laboratory or
22by a recognized forensic document examiner.
23Many of these people are self-taught.
24This is not a profession that you can learn by
25yourself. I mean, this is an apprenticeship
0041
1 type of profession. You have to learn from
2 others, people who have been doing this for
3 years.
4 Q.Do you have any information about
5 the International Society of Handwriting
6 Sciences?
7 A.I don't know that I've ever heard of
8 them. It sounds like one of the many
9 organizations that sound so much alike, but I
10don't know about that one, I don't believe.
11Q.What is involved, if you know, in
12the forensic science Master's Degree program at
13George Washington University?
14A.Well, I taught that program for
15seven years. I taught questioned document
16examination at George Washington University until
17about 1992, from 1985 to 1992, so I'm pretty
18familiar with the program.
19It's an overview of forensic science
20is basically what the program involves. It has
21classes in all of the various forensic areas,
22firearms and tool marks, serology,
23instrumentation, chemistry, criminal law, personal
24identification, pathology, odontology, questioned
25document examination, which I taught.
0042
1 In fact, one of my -- all of my
2 students are graduates of that program and one
3 of them is just graduating, actually graduating
4 tomorrow, I believe.
5 It's a good program. It's one of
6 the few programs in the country where you can
7 get a master's in forensic science. There
8 aren't a great many universities that allow you
9 to get that.
10It's good in that it allows a person
11to try to determine whether they're interested
12in this profession or not, and so it's good for
13that reason. But it doesn't in and of itself
14qualify a person to go into questioned document
15work upon completion of the master's program.
16(WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
172 was marked for identification).
18MR. ALTMAN: Jim, do you have a
19copy for me, by any chance?
20MR. RAWLS: Yes, I do.
21Q.Mr. Epstein, let me show you a
22document that's been marked Defendant's Exhibit-2
23to your deposition. Do you recognize this, sir?
24A.Yes, I do.
25Q.Is this your resume?
0043
1 A.It's my CV, yes.
2 Q.Your CV. And, in fact, you yourself
3 received not only a bachelor's degree in
4 criminal justice, but also a Master's of
5 Forensic Science degree; did you not?
6 A.Yes, I did.
7 Q.And when did you receive your
8 Bachelor of Science degree from the University
9 of Nebraska?
10A.I received that in, I believe --
11let's see, I was in Japan '79 to '82. I
12believe it was in 1983, or was it -- let's
13see, I was in Japan from 1979 to 1982, yes, I
14believe it was -- no, I wasn't in Japan, from
151969 to -- okay. I was in Japan from 1969 to
161972, so I graduated from Nebraska in 1973, I
17believe.
18Q.And when did you receive your
19Master's of Forensic Science?
20A.1982.
21Q.And that was from Antioch School of
22Law?
23A.Yes.
24Q.You've been with the INS, as I
25understand it, from approximately 1980; is that
0044
1 correct?
2 A.That's correct.
3 Q.Until about -- well, until December
4 2000, as you told us earlier.
5 A.Correct.
6 Q.When did you become active in
7 administration of the document examination
8 laboratory at the INS?
9 A.I first became involved in a limited
10way because we had a small laboratory at that
11time, around 1985, and became more involved as
12we added additional staff and as the budget of
13the laboratory grew over the years, but until my
14retirement in the year 2000.
15Q.You were chief forensic document
16examiner beginning in what year?
17A.I believe it was around 1985.
18Q.How many document examiners reported
19to you in about 1985, approximately?
20A.I think at that time we probably had
21only about three.
22Q.And when you retired from the INS in
23December 2000, approximately how many document
24examiners reported to you?
25A.About 14.
0045
1 Q.In the year 2000 were you handling,
2 yourself, individual cases, or were you
3 supervising the work of other document examiners
4 on individual cases?
5 A.I always remained a working
6 supervisor. Because of my desire to remain in
7 this work I always assign myself cases, and they
8 were primarily handwriting cases, because that's
9 my true love as far as this work is concerned.
10Q.How many cases in a year did you
11assign yourself in the year 2000, approximately?
12A.Oh, I don't know. It would probably
13be in the neighborhood of 30 or 40, perhaps a
14little bit more than that. I can't really be
15sure because I really don't have any figure like
16that, but I would say it might -- it was
17certainly a much smaller number than the work,
18full-time working examiners.
19Q.And approximately how many would they
20be assigned in a year?
21A.Total cases or just handwriting
22cases?
23Q.Total handwriting cases.
24A.Well, that would -- that actually
25fluctuated, because it depended upon what the
0046
1 primary concern of INS was at any particular
2 period in time. There were times when we were
3 involved with marriage fraud where there was a
4 lot of handwriting involved.
5 It's hard to say, but I would say
6 probably a couple of hundred cases a year in
7 handwriting would be probably an average. There
8 may have been times when it was more. INS
9 always has certain priorities that they have,
10and you sort of work those kinds of cases that
11are a priority at that time.
12Q.What were -- and let's take the
13decade of the 1990's ending in December 2000.
14What were the principle INS priorities that
15related to handwriting examination in that
16decade?
17A.Well, to give it a broad category,
18of course, they were fraud cases. There's all
19kinds of fraud. Handwriting becomes involved in
20numerous ways.
21As I mentioned, they could have been
22marriage fraud cases, they could have been
23counterfeit document cases with authorizing
24signatures, they could have been student fraud
25cases, they could have been outright criminal
0047
1 cases that involved the various task forces that
2 INS was involved in: drug enforcement task
3 forces, gang task forces where INS people were
4 assigned, when documents would come up they
5 would submit them to the laboratory. So it
6 really was a whole mixture of different types of
7 cases that came in.
8 There were handprinting cases, there
9 were support -- a lot of times the various
10types of actions in INS require support
11documents, in other words where a person is
12claiming something on behalf of someone else,
13and many times these types of documents are, in
14fact, fraudulent.
15You have cases where three or four
16different people were supposed to have written
17letters and you find that, in actuality, one
18person wrote all of them.
19There's just a whole different array
20of cases.
21Q.The INS does not have jurisdiction
22over ransom cases; does it?
23A.Ransom cases, per se?
24Q.Yes.
25A.No.
0048
1 Q.How many ransom notes did you
2 yourself examine as an employee of the
3 Immigration and Naturalization Services?
4 A.I don't believe I examined any
5 ransom notes.
6 Q.In your career as a questioned
7 document examiner before you looked at the
8 ransom note that was found at the home of John
9 and Patsy Ramsey, how many ransom notes have you
10looked at?
11A.I don't know that I've looked at any
12ransom notes, but a ransom note is nothing more
13than handwriting, and I don't know that it is
14any more unique than any other kind of
15handwriting on a document.
16MR. RAWLS: I object to the
17responsiveness of the answer and move to strike
18it after the words "I don't know that I've
19looked at any ransom notes", and I would like
20the record to reflect a period there.
21BY MR. RAWLS:
22Q.Mr. Epstein, to the best of your
23knowledge you have looked at only one ransom
24note in your life for the purpose of analyzing
25it as a document examiner; am I correct?
0049
1 A.My recollection, I can't recall that
2 I've examined -- I may very well have when I
3 was a military examiner, I worked thousands of
4 cases over the years. I can't recall every
5 single case that I worked.
6 (Off-the-record discussion).
7 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibits
8 Numbers 3 and 4 were marked for identification).
9 Q.Mr. Epstein, let me show you
10Defendant's Exhibit-3. This purports to be a
11list of court testimony of yourself from 1997 to
12present. Am I correct that that is a complete
13list of your court testimony from 1997 to
14present?
15A.I believe it is, yes.
16Q.And were -- as you look at those
17cases, were any of those cases concerned with
18the authorship of a ransom note?
19A.They were not.
20Q.And let me show you, please,
21Defendant's Exhibit-4. This purports to be a
22list of cases in which you have given court
23testimony from January 1990 to present. Is it
24a complete list?
25A.To the best of my knowledge, it is,
0050
1 yes.
2 Q.And as you look at that list, and
3 please take a few moments if you need to to
4 refresh your recollection about each case, my
5 question is the same: Are any of those cases
6 cases in which you testified about authorship of
7 a ransom note?
8 A.They are not.
9 Q.As you look at those cases or that
10list, Mr. Epstein, is there any case on the
11list in which any of the judges or hearing
12officers ruled that you would not be permitted
13to give testimony?
14A.No.
15Q.Has any judge ever ruled that you do
16not have sufficient expertise to be permitted to
17give expert testimony on any given matter that
18you recall?
19A.No, I have not.
20Q.Are you familiar with a Daubert
21motion?
22A.I am.
23Q.For the benefit of the judge and
24jury, would you describe your familiarity with
25what a Daubert motion is, please?
0051
1 A.The Daubert motion challenges the
2 scientific -- well, the Daubert motion
3 challenges, I guess questioned document
4 examination, the scientific basis upon which
5 handwriting examination is based, whether or not
6 it's based on empirical data, whether the person
7 who is being identified as the expert witness
8 is, in fact -- does, in fact, have the
9 necessary qualifications to testify on the
10matter.
11Q.Do you familiarize yourself or try
12to stay current on judicial decisions about
13whether document examination and forensic
14handwriting analysis is a field of science that
15is sufficiently established that experts in the
16field can provide their opinions on that subject
17matter?
18A.I try to. It's sometimes difficult
19because cases come up all over the country, but
20I make an effort to, and it is a subject that
21is covered in the training.
22Q.Did you read the ruling last year
23from a federal district judge that refused to
24permit a handwriting analyst to provide
25testimony?
0052
1 A.Is this the one in Alaska?
2 Q.Yes, sir. Did you agree or disagree
3 with the judge's ruling?
4 A.I disagreed with the judge's ruling.
5 Q.Do you know the expert involved in
6 that case?
7 A.I believe he was a postal service
8 document examiner out of the postal lab in San
9 Francisco.
10Q.Do you know of that individual's
11credentials?
12A.No, I don't. And I actually don't
13know the person either, I just know where he's
14from. I believe that he's actually been
15involved in two Daubert challenges, the same
16individual.
17Q.Did he prevail, to your knowledge?
18A.I don't believe he did.
19Q.How many Daubert challenges have ever
20been made against you as a testifying witness,
21to the best of your recollection?
22A.To the best of my recollection,
23there was a case in Nevada involving the
24president of a Latino organization, but the
25judge immediately, as soon as the challenge was
0053
1 made, informed the attorneys that he would, in
2 fact, accept the testimony, so it didn't go very
3 far.
4 And then I believe there was an
5 attempt made in Cleveland on the part of the --
6 on the part of the Tiger law firm in the case
7 of John Demjanjuk to try to use Daubert to
8 prevent my testimony in that case, that I --
9 again, the judge ruled very quickly that he
10would accept it.
11Q.You mentioned the Cleveland case of
12John Demjanjuk, I believe that's
13D-E-M-J-A-N-J-U-K, am I correct?
14A.(Nods head). You are.
15Q.A number of accusations were made
16with respect to criticizing your testimony at
17various times in that long series of lawsuits;
18were there not?
19A.There were some accusations made
20regarding the initial examinations back in 1980,
21I think, but they were totally inaccurate. The
22court record clearly reflects exactly what I
23said, and my findings on that case never changed
24from over the 21 years that I was involved in
25that case.
0054
1 Q.Was it your position in that case
2 that John Demjanjuk was quote Ivan the Terrible
3 close quote?
4 A.It was not, and that was not what I
5 concluded. My determination was that the
6 document, the identity document that identified
7 him as a prison guard was a genuine, unaltered
8 document, and that the signatures of the camp
9 commander that appeared on that document as well
10as the quartermaster were, in fact, written by
11those people.
12Q.And the ultimate outcome, at least
13up to this time in the case of John Demjanjuk
14I believe was just most recently determined
15earlier this year; am I correct?
16A.That's correct.
17Q.And that is that while Mr. Demjanjuk
18might not be Ivan the Terrible, he was ruled to
19be a former prison guard in a Nazi concentration
20camp; am I correct?
21A.That's correct.
22Q.And at every course of that
23proceeding throughout the U.S. and also in
24Israel, your own testimony was important; was it
25not?
0055
1 A.It was, yes.
2 Q.Did you testify in Israel?
3 A.I did.
4 Q.How many times?
5 A.One time over a period of three
6 days.
7 Q.Has your work in connection with the
8 case of John Demjanjuk been published in any
9 publication, journal or article so that it can
10be studied or reviewed by your peers?
11A.There was an initial paper that was
12written and given out at a professional meeting
13some years ago, but I was aware that the case
14was not over and I didn't feel it appropriate
15for me to discuss or publish the -- anything
16pertaining to the case until after it had been
17totally adjudicated.
18Q.Who wrote the -- I'm sorry, please
19finish.
20A.And that's the reason that it was
21never published in total, the total examination.
22Q.Who wrote the original paper that
23you just referred to?
24A.I did do an initial paper, I
25believe. It was probably after the -- it was
0056
1 probably after the Israeli trial, I'm not sure
2 when it was, but it was simply a paper that
3 dealt primarily with the types of examinations
4 that could be conducted on a document of this
5 type, the various types of examinations that
6 could authenticate a document of this type.
7 Q.To whom did you present that paper?
8 A.I believe it was presented to the
9 American Society of Questioned Document
10Examiners, or it may have been presented to the
11American Academy of forensic Sciences, I'm not
12sure which organization I presented. Probably
13the society, I would think.
14Q.Do you retain a copy of your paper?
15A.I do, but I would have to see if I
16could find it. I'm not sure that I have it.
17I think, though, that if you -- I think you
18can find it, though, by going to the -- the
19ASQDE, the American Society of Questioned
20Document Examiners, has a database of papers
21that you can search by author, and I know that
22I have 17 papers listed, I believe, under my
23name, and so you probably would be able to
24obtain that paper that way.
25Q.We will try that. If not, we may
0057
1 ask you for assistance in locating that.
2 Have you yourself published any
3 books, Mr. Epstein?
4 A.I have not.
5 Q.Have you published any articles in
6 professional or scholarly or scientific journals?
7 A.I have, not recently. Earlier I
8 published articles, I know there was an article
9 on a Joseph Mengele handwriting case that I
10worked which was published in the American
11Academy of Forensic Sciences Journal. I
12published some articles in the International
13Association for Identification News, and some in
14the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Journal. Some
15were probably published in a publication called
16the Detective, which was a CID army criminal
17investigation publication. But these should all
18be listed in that database.
19Q.In the same American Society for
20Questioned Document Examination database.
21A.Yes.
22Q.Is the database a place where one
23can find copies of the articles, or simply a
24bibliography of the articles?
25A.Actually, the articles are now being
0058
1 retained by the FBI laboratory. They have now
2 taken over the storage of all of the
3 professional papers, and I think there's about
4 eight thousand now in the database, and they are
5 now the keepers of that file.
6 Q.Mr. Epstein, we spoke about some of
7 the priorities of the Immigration and
8 Naturalization Service in the field of document
9 examination while you were the chief document
10examiner at the INS.
11Let me ask you how many times did
12you yourself have experience with the authorship
13of documents that I will categorize as extended
14handwriting documents.
15A.That's -- it's a common, common
16case. There are various types of cases that
17involve extended writing: letters, applications
18of various kinds, threatening letters, obscene
19letters, sometimes -- there's all kinds, and
20when I was with the military we had -- I had a
21great deal of exposure to suicide notes and
22other extended writings of that type.
23Q.How many times, Mr. Epstein, in your
24career, to your knowledge, have you observed
25extended handwriting samples where the
0059
1 handwriting took place within just a few minutes
2 before or after the murder of any individual?
3 A.I recall two cases, where one was a
4 suicide where the writing had been done just
5 moments before the woman committed suicide.
6 Actually, there were a number of suicides that I
7 recall now in France where, for whatever reason,
8 we had a great many suicides and I was -- but
9 at that time I was not a document examiner, I
10was a criminal investigator, but I kept a lot
11of suicide notes, photographs of suicide notes
12that I was involved in, and later when I became
13a document examiner I actually did a study of
14suicide notes.
15But anyway, there was another
16situation involving a homicide that was committed
17by a prostitute in Wisconsin, and she had --
18shortly after she had committed the crime she
19wrote a very long letter to her family, and I
20examined that writing.
21So there have been occasions, and
22there may have been others, I just can't
23remember all of them.
24Q.When was the situation involving the
25homicide committed by the prostitute in
0060
1 Wisconsin?
2 A.It was while I was with the Alcohol,
3 Tobacco and Firearms laboratory, so it had to be
4 between 1978 and 1980, probably around 19 --
5 probably around 1979.
6 Q.What was your position with the
7 BATF?
8 A.I was a senior document examiner.
9 Q.For the most part, the INS is not
10the agency that is likely to be principally
11involved in the analysis of an extended document
12such as a threat, an extortion demand or a
13blackmail demand; am I correct?
14A.Well, normally, if you apply the
15word normally to the case, that would be
16correct. But there are exceptions to that, and
17they are brought in by task force members. The
18INS has members assigned to various task forces
19in the government, and these task force members
20often work various types of cases involving
21these kinds of things and they submit the cases
22for laboratory work.
23In addition, I oftentimes accepted
24cases from other government agencies. I did not
25only do cases for INS. There are a number of
0061
1 government agencies that don't have forensic
2 capabilities, and if the case warranted a
3 document examination and they had nowhere to go
4 with it, I would accept those cases and work
5 them for the federal prison system and various
6 other government agencies.
7 Q.What was the purpose of your
8 examination of the letter written by the
9 prostitute in Wisconsin to her family shortly
10after the homicide?
11A.They were trying to identify -- the
12letter was unsigned, it was found on the woman's
13desk, and it was incriminating in the sense that
14it said that she had committed a terrible thing
15and that she would go away for awhile and for
16the family not to worry, basically that was the
17text of the letter, and it was -- there was --
18the purpose of the examination was to attempt to
19identify whether she, in fact, had written the
20letter.
21Q.The purpose was to identify
22authorship --
23A.Authorship.
24Q.-- by a given individual.
25A.That's right.
0062
1 Q.Did you do so? Did you identify
2 the author?
3 A.I didn't identify her completely.
4 There were a number of factors in this case
5 that restricted a definitive conclusion. There
6 were indications, strong indications that she
7 could have written this letter, but there were
8 -- this is one of those situations that I've
9 come across a number of times over the years
10when a woman oftentimes becomes involved in a
11violent type of crime.
12The handwriting oftentimes reverts, I
13think unconsciously, to a previous lower level
14or style of writing. I saw the same thing in
15the suicide case. I don't know, since I'm not
16a psychiatrist I can't explain why that happens,
17but I know that it happens in women. I
18haven't seen it in men.
19Oftentimes it's a style of writing
20that they may have used earlier in their life,
21and when you get writing, known writing that's
22produced under stress, under the same sort of
23conditions, if you can, you find the handwriting
24characteristics that you're looking for.
25What I did in the case in the
0063
1 Philippines in the suicide case was I wrote the
2 family and asked them to send me letters that
3 the woman had written when she was under stress
4 with her husband -- it was a bad marriage --
5 and when I received those letters I was able to
6 positively identify the writing, but prior to
7 the receipt of those letters there were
8 handwriting characteristics present that I was
9 not able to identify.
10In the case of Wisconsin I received
11writings made while the woman was in prison, and
12some of those writings were comparable and
13others were not. By that I mean there was
14unlike text for comparison. And so I was able
15to state that there were indications that this
16woman had written it, but I was not able to
17state with any definitive conclusion that she
18was.
19Q.We've talked, Mr. Epstein, about the
20training that you feel is necessary to qualify a
21person to be a forensic document examiner.
22A.Well, that the profession considers
23to be necessary.
24Q.Is a weekend survey course taught
25over three or four weekends, even by a person
0064
1 as qualified, say, as Larry Zieglar, sufficient
2 to train a professional forensic document
3 examiner?
4 A.No, and Larry Zieglar would be the
5 first to tell you that.
6 Q.Actually, sir, with all due respect,
7 you're the first to tell me that, but I did
8 have my suspicions about the matter.
9 In addition to a three- to
10four-weekend survey course taught, for example,
11by Larry Zieglar at a local community college,
12would it be sufficient if the person not only
13had that Larry Zieglar three- to four-weekend
14survey course but also had a three- to four-day
15course conducted by a Secret Service investigator
16such as John Hargett at a conference held by
17the Northwest Fraud Investigators Association?
18Would that be sufficient?
19A.No, it wouldn't.
20Q.Taken together?
21A.Wouldn't matter.
22Q.When were you certified by the
23American Board of Forensic Document Examiners?
24A.1982, I believe. The board actually
25came into existence -- I was the 36th person to
0065
1 be certified by the board. It might have been
2 a little earlier. It was shortly after the
3 board was formed and after it came into
4 existence.
5 Q.Do you know approximately how many
6 members the American Society of Questioned
7 Document Examiners is comprised of?
8 A.It's not a very large organization.
9 It's actually quite small. I don't believe that
10there are probably -- they have various
11categories of membership. They have
12corresponding members, which are people outside
13the country; they have regular members who are
14people from the United States and Canada; but I
15would say right now that there are probably, I
16would say, 60, 50, 60, 70 members, something
17like that.
18Q.And how many, to your knowledge,
19board-certified forensic document examiners are
20there? And by that I mean certified by the
21American Board of Forensic Document Examiners,
22which you told us was the recognized -- the
23only recognized body to certify such
24professionals?
25A.I would say a couple of hundred,
0066
1 probably, something like that. All of these
2 organizations, by the way, do have their
3 websites, in ABFDE.org, ASQDE.org, all of that
4 will give you all of their members.
5 Q.If a person claims to be a
6 board-certified questioned document examiner but
7 has no certification from the American Board of
8 Forensic Document Examiners, is that person being
9 misleading when the individual states he or she
10is a board-certified questioned document
11examiner?
12A.Unless they truly believe that the
13organization that they belong to has the
14authority and is recognized by the profession to
15do that, but again, if that's what they think
16then they really don't know the profession at
17all.
18Any mainstream document examiner in
19this country knows what the certifying body for
20this profession is, and if they, in fact, know
21that and then inform the court that they are
22board-certified, then I believe they're
23misleading the court.
24Q.Does the American Society of
25Questioned Document Examiners discriminate?
0067
1 A.Discriminate in what way?
2 Q.In any way.
3 A.Not to my knowledge. I was
4 president of that organization two years, and
5 the only thing it requires is that the people
6 who join have the credentials necessary to meet
7 the standards. They have to take the tests,
8 they have to have the proper training. They
9 have to be recommended by people within the
10profession who know their work. But if they
11meet those standards, that's the only
12requirement.
13Q.Does the American Society of
14Questioned Document Examiners discriminate against
15document examiners who are in private practice,
16as opposed to government service?
17A.Not at all. That organization
18actually was established by private examiners,
19and for many years there were very few
20government examiners in that organization.
21Albert Osborn, when he started that
22organization and for many years after that, it
23was strictly an organization of private
24examiners, and today there are probably --
25certainly there are as many, if not more,
0068
1 private examiners in that organization as there
2 are government examiners.
3 Q.Does the American Board of Forensic
4 Document Examiners discriminate against those
5 documents examiners who are in private practice?
6 A.No, not at all, and again, that
7 organization, I'm sure, has probably more private
8 examiners than government examiners.
9 Again, the only thing that those
10organizations require is that the people meet
11the requirements. I mean, that's the only
12thing.
13Q.If a person testified that she
14received board certification from the National
15Association of Document Examiners because the
16American Board of Forensic Document Examiners and
17the American Society of Questioned Document
18Examiners discriminated against her based on her
19private as opposed to government practice, would
20that individual, would that person's testimony
21simply indicate the person is misinformed?
22A.Well, I know for a fact that that
23is not a reason for disallowing membership in
24either or any of those professional
25organizations. They will disallow membership if
0069
1 a person doesn't have at least a bachelor's
2 degree. They will disallow membership if the
3 person hasn't gone through at least a two-year
4 training program.
5 There are those reasons why a person
6 would be denied membership, but not because
7 they're in private practice, because a majority
8 of the people, like I say, are in private
9 practice that are members.
10Q.Do the American Board of Forensic
11Document Examiners and the American Society of
12Questioned Document Examiners practice nepotism?
13A.No, they don't.
14Q.Do you know of any forensic science
15organization that accredits the National
16Association of Document Examiners?
17A.No, I don't.
18Q.Do you refer business to -- ever, to
19Cina Wong?
20A.Never.
21Q.To David Leibman?
22A.Never.
23Q.But you have from time to time
24referred business to Larry Zieglar.
25A.I have.
0070
1 Q.Have you not?
2 A.I consider Larry Zieglar to be a
3 qualified forensic document examiner.
4 Q.Mr. Epstein, do you have your own
5 laboratory?
6 A.I do.
7 Q.Is that in your home or do you have
8 an office outside your home?
9 A.It's in my home.
10Q.What equipment is in your home lab?
11A.I have all of the necessary
12instrumental equipment. I have a video
13spectrocomparator that allows for paper and ink
14examinations. I have an electrostatic
15deciphering apparatus that allows for the
16examination of indented writing.
17I have stereoscopic microscopes,
18photographic equipment, measuring instruments, a
19very extensive library. I can do most
20examinations that are necessary to be done.
21Q.Mr. Epstein, in your career have you
22been mentioned or quoted in the news media, to
23your knowledge?
24A.I have.
25Q.When?
0071
1 A.Over the years I've been fortunate
2 in having been involved in some interesting
3 cases that received public attention.
4 My 20 years with the office of
5 special investigations in the war crimes area,
6 many of those cases such as the Viral Trifa
7 case, the Archbishop of Romania, the Joseph
8 Mengele, a number of others that were important
9 at the time.
10I was also involved in the Noriega
11case in Miami, as a special request by the
12attorney who was handling that case to do the
13work in that case, which I did. So over the
14years there have been cases where the news media
15has been interested.
16Q.To the best of your knowledge have
17you been quoted in the tabloids?
18A.I have, yeah.
19Q.On what matters?
20A.On the types of examinations that
21were conducted in a particular case, the
22circumstances surrounding the examinations that
23were performed.
24Q.Have you spoken to the news media
25about the anthrax letters?
0072
1 A.I was, I forgot about those.
2 Q.Were you approached by reporters, or
3 did you initiate the calls?
4 A.No, I was approached by some
5 reporters out of Royters and also out of the
6 New York papers, as well as I think USA Today.
7 Q.Have you given any statements to the
8 responsible press or the tabloid press about the
9 murder of JonBenet Ramsey?
10A.Absolutely not.
11Q.Have you said anything to any
12reporter about the murder of JonBenet Ramsey?
13A.Absolutely not.
14Q.Or about your having signed on as an
15expert witness on behalf of Chris Wolf?
16A.Absolutely not.
17Q.Or about your having analyzed or
18studied the ransom note that was found at the
19home of John and Patsy Ramsey?
20A.I have told no reporter anything
21that I'm doing in this case.
22Q.Has any reporter called you about
23anything you're doing in this case?
24A.I don't believe they have, no.
25Q.Have you spoken to any broadcast
0073
1 entity, radio or television, or any cablecast
2 entity concerning the death of JonBenet Ramsey?
3 A.I have not, no.
4 Q.Did you authorize anyone to give
5 your report or any report you have given to
6 Mr. Darnay Hoffman to any news entity?
7 A.I have not.
8 Q.To any tabloid?
9 A.I have not.
10Q.Did you know that it was given to
11the tabloids?
12A.I have seen the -- yes, in answer
13to your question, I did know that it was given,
14but I never gave permission for that.
15Q.How do you know it was given?
16A.I read it.
17Q.What did you read and when?
18A.I don't recall really when it was.
19It was an article stating that -- basically my
20findings.
21Q.Do you recall in which publication
22that was found?
23A.It was in one of the trash, trash
24sheets, the Globe or World or whatever those
25things are called.
0074
1 Q.Enquirer?
2 A.Enquirer, yeah, I guess it was the
3 Enquirer.
4 Q.Did you suggest to Mr. Hoffman that
5 you'd prefer that not happen?
6 A.I didn't -- I didn't really discuss
7 it with him. I didn't feel it was my position
8 to tell him that.
9 Q.With respect -- jumping back to the
10anthrax letters, did the United States government
11ask you to study those letters?
12A.No, they didn't.
13Q.Or officially provide you with any
14of those letters?
15A.They did not, no. The news media
16provided me with copies of the envelopes and the
17letters.
18Q.Did you ever see the original
19anthrax envelopes or letters?
20A.I did not see the originals, no.
21MR. RAWLS: Let's take a brief
22recess, if this is a convenient time.
23THE VIDEOGRAPHER: This is the end
24of Tape 1 to the deposition of Mr. Epstein.
25The time is 11:34 a.m., and we're off the
0075
1 record.
2 (Recess).
3 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: This is Tape
4 Number 2 to the deposition of Mr. Epstein, the
5 time is 11:53 a.m. and we're back on the
6 record.
7 BY MR. RAWLS:
8 Q.Mr. Epstein, have you kept records
9 of your own accuracy and your own errors during
10your career as a questioned document examiner?
11A.I have not, no.
12Q.As best you recall, how many times
13have you been mistaken on the authorship of a
14document?
15A.To the best of my knowledge, if I
16have made a mistake it's never been brought to
17my attention.
18Q.So is it your view that your success
19at questioned document examination has been 100
20percent throughout your career?
21A.As I say, if I have made a mistake
22in this work, it has never been brought to my
23attention. So I'm not aware of my mistakes
24that I've made in the identification of
25handwriting.
0076
1 Q.Have board-certified, by the right
2 board, the American Board of Forensic Document
3 Examiners, have board-certified examiners ever
4 disagreed with you before the case of the ransom
5 note in this case?
6 A.I'm sure they -- yes, they have,
7 certainly. In government service you don't have
8 as much disagreement as you have in the private
9 sector, but in some of the war crimes cases,
10now that I think back, there were some document
11examiners on the other side who did not conclude
12the same way I did.
13Q.Have judges ever disagreed with you?
14A.Not to my knowledge, no.
15Q.Have juries ever disagreed with your
16conclusion?
17A.Oh, I'm sure they have. That would
18be almost an impossibility to have 100 percent
19with juries.
20Q.But you have never after the fact
21looked back and said that your identification of
22authorship of a questioned document has been
23wrong.
24A.I have not.
25Q.Not ever, not once.
0077
1 A.Not once.
2 Q.Even after juries have disagreed.
3 A.Juries disagree for various reasons.
4 Q.Even after board-certified, qualified
5 document examiners have disagreed.
6 A.Absolutely.
7 Q.Now, when you first signed on to
8 accept this case on a pro bono basis while you
9 were still in government service sometime during
10the year 2000 --
11A.Correct.
12Q.-- what documents had you examined
13with reference to this case at that time?
14A.I examined the copies of the ransom
15note and I examined some normal course of
16business standards of Patsy Ramsey.
17Q.What ones in particular?
18A.Could I refer to my notes?
19Q.Please.
20A.I examined a copy of a three-page
21handprinted ransom note, and then as far as the
22standards there was a copy of a two-page letter
23dated Wednesday, June 4th that was signed,
24"Fondly, Patsy and JonBenet."
25I examined a copy of the inside of
0078
1 a greeting card with the entry starting, "Hi,
2 Bob," and additional writing.
3 I examined a color copy of a
4 hand-printed sign. I examined some color copy
5 of package wrappers with the name Ramsey and
6 Ramsey Christmas written on it.
7 I examined a copy of a color
8 photograph with the writing Rainbow Fish Players.
9 I examined a copy of a photo album
10pages with hand-printed entries, copy of an
11ornamental circle with some handwriting in there.
12I examined a two-page document which
13was a copy of an entry form for the 1996
14Lights of December parade bearing the known
15handwriting of -- attributed to Patsy Ramsey.
16Q.From whom had you received those
17documents?
18A.Those documents originally I received
19from Larry Zieglar.
20Q.What steps did you take to confirm
21the authenticity of those documents and the fact
22that they originated from the hand of Patsy
23Ramsey at that time?
24A.They were submitted to Larry Zieglar
25as known writings, and I accepted them as known
0079
1 writings.
2 Q.You did not independently seek to
3 verify that they were known writings of Patsy
4 Ramsey.
5 A.I did not.
6 Q.By whom had Mr. Zieglar been hired,
7 if by anyone, to your knowledge?
8 A.By Mr. Darnay Hoffman.
9 Q.He disclosed that to you at the
10outset.
11A.Disclosed what?
12Q.Mr. Zieglar disclosed to you that he
13had been hired by Darnay Hoffman.
14A.Yes.
15Q.And for what purpose did Mr. Zieglar
16tell you he had been hired?
17A.To conduct the examinations of the
18ransom note.
19Q.With a view to doing what?
20A.Attempting to identify its authorship.
21Q.Well, actually, Mr. Hoffman's purpose,
22you've known all along, was to try to pin the
23ransom note on Patsy Ramsey; was it not?
24A.Well, there was also a writing from
25Mr. Ramsey that was also involved, and I don't
0080
1 -- I don't use the word pinned on anyone.
2 The writing -- it was an examination
3 to establish authorship, and that was the known
4 writing that was submitted. If that was not
5 the writer, you know, in other words, you don't
6 -- I don't enter a case with a preconceived
7 notion of any writer having done a particular
8 writing. My findings rest on what I find once
9 I do the examination, and so I don't accept any
10case with the notion that a particular writer
11has been preidentified. That's what I do.
12That's the purpose of my being there is to
13determine that.
14Q.Mr. Epstein, this was a yes or no
15question, and I object to all of your remarks
16just now that were something other than yes or
17no as unresponsive.
18Let me remind you of the question.
19MR. ALTMAN: Let me object, Jim, in
20all due respect. I'll object to that. I
21think he did respond to the question.
22Q.Here's the question, Mr. Epstein:
23Mr. Hoffman's purpose, you've known all along,
24was to try to pin the ransom note on Patsy
25Ramsey; was it or was it not?
0081
1 MR. ALTMAN: Objection to form.
2 A.Again, no, I didn't -- I was never
3 told when I was retained that the purpose of my
4 being retained was to pin the writing of the
5 ransom note on Patsy Ramsey.
6 Q.Now, did you at the time you were
7 first retained have a report from Cina Wong?
8 A.I did.
9 Q.Did you study it?
10A.No.
11Q.Did you read it?
12A.I did read it.
13Q.Did you know of her conclusion?
14A.I know of her conclusions.
15Q.At that time what was her
16conclusion, as you recall?
17A.Her conclusion was that Patsy Ramsey
18wrote the ransom note.
19Q.Now, as you sit here today, are you
20telling us that when you first signed onto this
21case in the year 2000 you did not know that
22Darnay Hoffman had a prior history with regard
23to the case of JonBenet Ramsey?
24A.Quite honestly, I didn't know
25Mr. Darnay Hoffman or his history as it involved
0082
1 this case. I became involved in this case, and
2 when I did is when I learned of Mr. Hoffman's
3 involvement. I did not know prior to my
4 involvement in this case anything about him or
5 actually not very much about the case.
6 Q.Mr. Epstein, are you telling us
7 today under oath that when you took this case
8 pro bono you neither knew about or cared about
9 Darnay Hoffman's previous efforts with respect to
10the murder of JonBenet Ramsey to blame her
11parents?
12A.I knew that Mr. Hoffman had been
13working on this case for a number of years, and
14I was aware of other document examiners, if you
15will, and I put it in quotes, who examined the
16documents.
17But my entry into this case, as far
18as I was concerned, had nothing to do with what
19had been done previously or what any intentions
20were. My entry into this examination was to
21conduct an examination and be able to examine
22the known handwriting of the people involved.
23Q.Well, let's take the first words you
24just used in the part of your answer that was
25responsive. Quote, I knew that Mr. Hoffman had
0083
1 been working on this case for a number of
2 years, end quote.
3 A.Right.
4 Q.What side did you know he was on?
5 A.Well, obviously I knew that he was
6 not on the Ramsey's side.
7 Q.You say obviously. Why was that
8 obvious to you?
9 A.Well, I was aware that -- actually,
10I really don't know how much I was aware of at
11the time. I was aware of very little.
12I mean, Mr. Hoffman contacted Larry
13Zieglar, who then contacted me and asked me to
14take a look at this writing.
15At that point in time I really
16didn't know very much about the involvement of
17Mr. Hoffman in the case or his past history.
18All I knew was that he was representing
19individuals who had sued the Ramseys, and,
20therefore, I knew what side he was on. But as
21far as the details or the other things that
22went on, I was not familiar to them and I
23really am not even today that familiar with it.
24Q.Did you know that Mr. Hoffman had
25been involved for years with the matter of
0084
1 JonBenet Ramsey, even before he had the benefit
2 of having a client in the matter?
3 A.I did not, no.
4 Q.Have you ever met Darnay Hoffman?
5 A.I have not.
6 Q.Your only contact with Darnay Hoffman
7 has been by telephone and by correspondence?
8 A.That's correct.
9 Q.I'm going to show you, Mr. Epstein,
10a copy of a letter from 1997 that was sent by
11Darnay Hoffman to Thomas C. Miller, Esquire, of
12Denver, Colorado.
13This document, I'll tell you for the
14benefit of yourself and Mr. Hoffman and
15Mr. Altman, is Defendant's Exhibit-9 to the
16deposition of Cina Wong, which was taken on May
1713, 2002, Monday of this week.
18Have you seen that document before,
19sir?
20A.No, I haven't.
21Q.Mr. --
22MR. WOOD: Ask him to read it.
23Q.Would you please read that letter?
24A.Okay.
25Q.Have you, before today Mr. Epstein,
0085
1 have you -- and since you didn't see the letter
2 before today, were you aware from Mr. Hoffman of
3 what he says in that letter before today?
4 A.No, I wasn't aware.
5 Q.Would you read, sir, please, into
6 the record Mr. Darnay Hoffman's remarks? And
7 I'll show you where I'd like for you to begin.
8 The second full paragraph of Mr. Hoffman's
9 remarks about Paul Osborn.
10A."You might be interested to know
11that I spoke with handwriting expert Paul A.
12Osborn, who is, as you probably already know,
13the grandson of Albert S. and son of Albert D.
14Osborn. He refuses to touch the Ramsey case
15with a ten-foot pole. His reasons: He knows
16the handwriting experts who gave their reports
17to the defense team and to CBI -- four in all.
18According to Osborn these experts are supposedly
19top of their field. (He won't give me their
20names) with impeccable ethical credentials.
21Their verdict: the similarities between Patsy
22and the ransom note writer's handwriting is at
23the very lowest of the spectrum. There is
24little or no basis for a match."
25Q.The "he won't give me their names"
0086
1 was in parentheses, was it not, of the letter?
2 A.Uh-huh.
3 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
4 5 was marked for identification).
5 Q.Mr. Epstein, I'm going to show you a
6 document that's been marked Defendant's
7 Exhibit-5. This purports to be a letter of
8 December 11, 1997 from John Paul Osborn,
9 forensic document examiner in New York, to
10someone whose name has been obliterated. Have
11you ever seen this document before?
12A.I have not, no.
13Q.This document, you will notice,
14Mr. Epstein, has a BPD document number on it.
15The BPD is the Boulder Police Department. Would
16you take a look -- would you read this document
17to yourself and familiarize yourself with its
18contents for a moment?
19MR. HOFFMAN: Evan, would you read
20this document to yourself also, because I've
21never heard of this document.
22MR. ALTMAN: Okay.
23Q.Have you finished reading that
24document to yourself?
25A.I have.
0087
1 Q.And do you know John Paul Osborn?
2 A.I do, yes.
3 Q.Is he well-qualified?
4 A.He meets all the qualifications of
5 the profession.
6 Q.Is he an author of one of the texts
7 that you described earlier?
8 A.No, he's not.
9 Q.That was a different Osborn.
10A.That was his father and grandfather.
11Q.In fact, the name of his father is
12on the same letterhead on Defendant's Exhibit 5;
13is it not?
14A.Albert, yes, Albert and Albert D.
15Albert S. is the author of the books, and
16Albert D. was his son.
17Q.And who is Paul A. Osborn?
18A.He's the son of Albert -- no, of --
19John Paul Osborn is the son of Paul Osborn, who
20is, I guess, the fifth generation.
21Q.Would you please read into the
22record the paragraph that's the fourth paragraph
23of the letter, it begins with the words "in
24your letter"?
25A."In your letter, which accompanied
0088
1 the reproductions you submitted, you indicate
2 that you may wish to have a more detailed
3 analysis," in parentheses, "should I find any
4 similarities between the writing samples --"
5 MR. WOOD: Excuse me, the two
6 writing samples.
7 Q.The two writing samples.
8 A."-- the two writing samples. There
9 are some similarities between the handprinting in
10the ransom note and the writing you submit as
11that of Christian Wolf. However, there are also
12similarities between my own handprinting and that
13on the questioned note, if you disregard the
14poor line quality. Similarities, while playing
15a role in the process of examination and
16comparison of writing, are not as significant as
17fundamental or significant differences. Many
18people share common handwriting characteristics
19and even been some distinctive handwriting
20characteristics. The proper weight must be
21given to differences which cannot be accounted
22for by natural variation of a single writer."
23Q.Do you agree with that paragraph you
24have just read?
25A.I agree with the paragraph, but not
0089
1 its application in this case.
2 Q.Do you agree with that paragraph
3 with respect to Christian Wolf in this case?
4 A.No. I can't say, because I really
5 did not do a comprehensive examination of the
6 Christian Wolf writing.
7 Q.Why not?
8 A.Because I had already been working
9 on the handwriting of Patsy Ramsey, and after I
10concluded that examination, which was more than
1150 hours of work, I felt that I had identified
12sufficient significant handwriting characteristics
13with no significant differences, and that's where
14I differ with Mr. Osborn is where he states
15that there are significant differences.
16There are no significant differences.
17There are variations to the same basic
18handwriting patterns, but there are no
19significant differences. So once I've identified
20a writer, there's no reason for me to examine
21the handwriting of another person. If I didn't
22identify it or if I had qualified the
23identification, there would have been reason to
24continue to look at other writers. But once
25you've identified a person as having produced
0090
1 the writing, there is no reason to look for
2 other writers.
3 Q. And what was the date that you made
4 that identification of Patsy Ramsey as the
5 author of the ransom note?
6 MR. ALTMAN: Do you need to refer
7 to something?
8 A. Well, there was a prior report to
9 this -- to the Article 26 report, so it was
10the initial, the initial report that I
11submitted, and let me see if I have that.
12It was after the exemplars had all
13been released to me, and I produced the report
14prior to the Article 26 report, and that was
15probably in late -- in late 2001, but I don't
16have -- I don't have that particular report.
17MR. WOOD: We have it. We have it,
18we'll show it to you.
19 Q. Why did you look at Chris Wolf's
20handwriting at all if you had already decided
21who wrote the ransom note?
22 A. I didn't examine Chris Wolf's
23writing. It had been sent in to me, and I
24don't recall exactly at what point in time I
25received it in relation to when I actually
0091
1 completed the writing of Patsy Ramsey, but if I
2 had not completed that examination or if I had
3 not already reached a conclusion in the case,
4 then I would have probably examined that, but I
5 didn't because I had already completed my
6 examination of the Patsy Ramsey writing.
7 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
8 6 was marked for identification).
9 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim, just as a point
10here, I never heard who the Paul Osborn letter
11was addressed to.
12MR. RAWLS: Darnay, the --
13MR. WOOD: It's been redacted.
14MR. RAWLS: There was a redaction
15after the word "dear", so none of us has ever
16seen the word or the name.
17MR. HOFFMAN: So basically, for the
18record, there is no identification as to who
19that letter was sent to; is that correct? Do
20you know who that letter was sent to?
21MR. WOOD: It was in the Boulder
22Police Department files.
23MR. HOFFMAN: Oh, I see. Okay. Is
24this something that was turned over to you by
25the Boulder police?
0092
1 MR. RAWLS: Yes.
2 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay. And they did
3 not identify through any other document or list
4 or anything else who the person that that was
5 addressed to, was addressed to.
6 MR. WOOD: No, they redacted the
7 name.
8 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay.
9 MR. WOOD: The Boulder police did.
10MR. HOFFMAN: All right, thank you.
11BY MR. RAWLS:
12Q.Mr. Epstein, I'm showing you
13Defendant's Exhibit-6. Do you recognize that
14document, sir?
15A.Yes, that's the report, that's the
16previous report.
17Q.This is the only previous report
18that you made in the year 2001 to Mr. Hoffman;
19is it not, sir?
20A.Yes, it is.
21Q.There was not another written report
22that you prepared other than this written report
23to Mr. Hoffman and the Rule 26 report concerning
24this case; am I correct?
25A.I believe that's correct.
0093
1 Q.This is important, so if there is
2 some other report that you have rendered, please
3 tell us now.
4 MR. ALTMAN: Well, Jim, if you're
5 asking are these the reports that were prepared
6 based on, you know, the actual reports, these
7 are the only reports, I think is what he's
8 saying.
9 If you're saying there was any other
10communication between attorney and expert,
11obviously we've communicated.
12MR. HOFFMAN: And, Jim, I take it
13to the best of Mr. Epstein's current
14recollection; correct?
15THE WITNESS: Yes, that's right.
16There were correspondence over a couple of
17years, but I believe that this is the only
18report other than the Article 26 report.
19Q.You had made only two written
20reports, to the best of your knowledge,
21concerning the ransom note found at the home of
22John and Patsy Ramsey; true?
23A.I believe so, yes.
24Q.And I want to talk for a moment
25about several parts of this exhibit, Defendant's
0094
1 Exhibit 6, your report dated February 25, 2001.
2 And you're a trained questioned document
3 examiner, so I'd like for you to look at Page
4 3 and tell me is that, indeed, your signature?
5 A.It is.
6 Q.Back to Page 1, please, you have
7 listed several items as quote the known
8 documents on Page 1 and Page 2; have you not?
9 A.That's correct.
10Q.You say, "Exhibit 2 is a copy of a
11two-page letter dated Wednesday, June 4, signed
12quote fondly, Patsy and JonBenet, end quote,
13bearing known handwriting attributed to Patsy
14Ramsey".
15A.That's attributed to Patsy Ramsey.
16That's how it was given to me, and that's how
17I have to accept it. I was not there when the
18writing was done, so if someone gives me writing
19and says this is the known writing of an
20individual, then that is the writing -- that is
21the way that I have to accept it.
22Q.How did you verify that Exhibit 2
23was, in fact, written by Patsy Ramsey?
24A.By comparing it against other writing
25within the known samples to see if there is
0095
1 similarity in the same handwriting
2 characteristics.
3 Q.And to what documents did you
4 compare Exhibit 2?
5 A.Well, all of the documents were
6 compared one to the other. Whatever comparable
7 text there was within each document was compared
8 against similar texts if it appeared in other
9 documents.
10As an example, like letter
11combinations were compared to like letter
12combinations; like letter forms were compared to
13like letter forms within the various documents
14that were submitted.
15Q.Did you make notes of those
16comparisons?
17A.I did make notes. I don't have
18those notes with me, however.
19Q.Are they still in your office?
20A.I'm sure they are, yes.
21Q.Can you share those with us, please?
22A.Certainly.
23Q.Did you take any steps to
24authenticate Exhibits 2 through 9? And I'm
25using the exhibit numbers that you used in what
0096
1 is Defendant's Exhibit 6 to this deposition.
2 Did you take any steps to verify that those
3 documents contained the handwriting of Patsy
4 Ramsey except to compare them to one another?
5 A.No, I did not.
6 Q.Did you ask Mr. Darnay Hoffman for
7 verification that those documents contained the
8 handwriting of Patsy Ramsey?
9 A.I asked Mr. Hoffman for additional
10writings. I asked him from the very beginning
11to attempt to locate the same normal course of
12business writings that had been previously used
13in the examinations when they were first done by
14the Boulder people and by Howard Rile and the
15Ramsey document examiners. That was something
16that I requested from the very beginning of my
17involvement in the case.
18Q.Now, I first want to, before I
19follow up on what you did answer, I want to
20ask you please to answer the question I asked
21you, which was this: Did you ask Mr. Darnay
22Hoffman for verification that those documents
23contained the handwriting of Patsy Ramsey?
24That's a yes or a no.
25A.I'm not sure that I can answer that
0097
1 as a yes or a no, because -- and the reason is
2 because we spoke about known writings a lot, and
3 I made it, you know, clear that we would need
4 additional writings, additional known writings.
5 Whether I --
6 Q.I'm not talking about --
7 A.Whether I specifically asked that
8 these particular documents be further verified, I
9 don't believe I did.
10Q.Thank you.
11Now, why did you need additional
12documents?
13A.Because I didn't have enough verbatim
14material. I didn't have enough of the same
15words, the same letter combinations, repeated
16sufficiently to be able to establish habituality,
17to be able to establish handwriting patterns.
18Q.And that's why you were constantly
19seeking more writings.
20A.That's correct.
21Q.Now, let's look at some of your
22findings that are in Defendant's Exhibit 6.
23First of all, Finding Number 1, you
24state, and this is Page 2 of Defendant's Exhibit
256, "The handwriting on the ransom note is a
0098
1 classic example of an attempt to disguise the
2 true handwriting habits of the writer."
3 In your judgment is it prudent for a
4 person who is writing by hand a ransom note to
5 try to disguise his or her handwriting?
6 A.It is prudent.
7 Q.You would be very surprised if the
8 author of a handwritten ransom note did not try
9 to disguise his or her handwriting; would you
10not, sir?
11A.It would be unusual.
12Q.Now, did you, when you made this
13finding about the ransom note itself, did you
14consider whether the ransom note was written
15under stress?
16A.I did consider that.
17Q.Did you find any indication that the
18author of the ransom note had lapsed into an
19earlier type or style of handwriting?
20A.No. The poor line quality of the
21writing can be attributed to stress, it could be
22attributed to disguise, it could be attributed
23to an unconscious return to an earlier form of
24writing. But in my evaluation of the writing I
25felt that it was most likely that it was --
0099
1 the poor line quality was due to disguise,
2 rather than to other reasons.
3 Q.So you found no indication at all --
4 you did not conclude in 2001 and you do not
5 conclude now that the author of the ransom note
6 lapsed into earlier handwriting habits; am I
7 correct?
8 A.I found that the writing was of a
9 poor quality; that the writing, the
10microstructure of the writing line was such that
11it could have been either the person writing
12under stress or a conscious attempt to disguise.
13I felt there was more evidence of a conscious
14attempt to disguise.
15Q.You never ruled out the effect of
16stress with regard to the handwriting in the
17ransom note; did you, sir?
18A.Not entirely, no.
19Q.You never ruled it out in 2001, you
20never ruled it out in the year 2000, and you
21have not ruled it out today; have you, sir?
22A.I haven't ruled out that it could be
23a contributing factor to the poor line quality.
24Q.And, as a matter of fact, is it
25possible that the author of this ransom note was
0100
1 not under stress, under severe stress, if the
2 author of the ransom note had murdered JonBenet
3 Ramsey shortly before writing the note or did
4 murder JonBenet Ramsey shortly after writing the
5 ransom note?
6 A.Are you asking would the person be
7 under stress at that time?
8 Q.I'm asking is it possible that the
9 author of the ransom note was not under stress?
10A.I don't know how I could answer a
11question like that. I mean, I have to go by
12what I have in front of me to examine, and
13based on my experience and having seen disguise
14for so many years, I felt that it was more as
15a result of disguise than it was as a result
16of stress.
17Q.Mr. Epstein, have you seen any of
18the photographs that depict the brutality of the
19murder of JonBenet Ramsey?
20A.I have not.
21Q.Have you read articles about the
22brutality of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey?
23A.I have not.
24Q.Turn, please, to the third page of
25Defendant's Exhibit 6. Am I correct,
0101
1 Mr. Epstein, that you reminded Mr. Hoffman in
2 your paragraph numbered 3, found on Page 3 of
3 Defendant's Exhibit 6, that, "This forensic
4 examination was not undertaken with the belief
5 that a definitive finding concerning the
6 authorship of the note could be established with
7 the type and quantity of known writing presently
8 available, end quote?
9 A.That's correct.
10Q.And what I've just read from your
11report is true; isn't it?
12A.It is true, yes.
13Q.From what you had available, you
14knew you could not make a definitive finding;
15correct?
16A.That's correct.
17Q.And, therefore, did you not make a
18definitive finding; correct?
19A.That's correct.
20Q.In fact, your whole purpose and your
21whole assignment as you and Mr. Hoffman had
22worked it out at that time, in February of
232001, or by that time, was to quote determine
24if further forensic examinations of Patsy
25Ramsey's handwriting is justified, end quote.
0102
1 A.That's correct.
2 Q.You said that was your purpose and,
3 indeed, it is true that that was your purpose;
4 correct?
5 A.That was my purpose.
6 Q.And you also told Mr. Hoffman
7 exactly what you needed; true?
8 A.I did.
9 Q.You needed the originals of Exhibits
102 through 9.
11A.And we also discussed other known
12documents.
13Q.By this time in February 2001 when
14you completed this report, how many hours had
15you spent on the matter of this ransom note
16assisting Darnay Hoffman?
17A.Up to this point, the majority of
18the time was involved with the ransom note
19itself, not so much with the known writing,
20because I recognized that the known writing was
21inadequate for any kind of a definitive finding.
22So the majority of the time, and I
23would say, I don't know, 20, 25 hours, was
24devoted to identifying the habitual handwriting
25characteristics and the consistency of those
0103
1 habits within the ransom note and to try to
2 identify whether or not the degree of disguise
3 would somehow limit the possibility of an
4 identification.
5 Q.And about how much time in total up
6 to now?
7 A.Once I received the exemplars, which
8 if you will recall in my report I relied on
9 the exemplars only in my report and not the
10standards, when I stated my conclusions, after I
11received the exemplars I devoted a great deal of
12time to going over all of the handwriting of
13Patsy Ramsey taken at various times to determine
14whether or not I had enough and sufficient
15significant handwriting characteristics in
16comparison with the ransom note to be able to
17reach any kind of a definitive conclusion.
18Q.Mr. Epstein, by February 25, 2001,
19how much total time had you spent assisting
20Darnay Hoffman with regard to the ransom note
21found at the home of John and Patsy Ramsey?
22A.About 20 to 25 hours.
23Q.Thank you. And let me make sure
24that we're all clear, that before February 25,
252001 you had agreed, for the reasons you've told
0104
1 us earlier, you had agreed to be an expert
2 witness and to assist Darnay Hoffman on a pro
3 bono basis; correct?
4 A.I had agreed to do the examinations
5 of the writing, right, on a --
6 Q.On a pro bono basis.
7 A.-- on a pro bono basis.
8 Q.For the reasons you've given us
9 earlier.
10A.Exactly.
11Q.When did you first see the original
12of the ransom note in this case?
13A.I've never seen the original of the
14ransom note.
15Q.Well, what generation copy was the
16copy you saw?
17A.I couldn't tell you what generation
18it was because I don't know -- it was not
19possible to establish from the copy I received
20what generation it was, but it was a copy that
21was sufficient in quality to identify those
22areas of the handwriting that had to be
23examined.
24Q.When did you first see the original
25of what you in your report refer to as Exhibit
0105
1 2?
2 A.I never received -- I don't believe
3 I received copies -- could I look at my next
4 report?
5 Q.Please, indeed.
6 A.Yes, I always referred to those
7 documents as copies. I don't believe I was
8 ever given the originals of those documents.
9 Q.You say those documents. I was
10asking you about Exhibit 2.
11A.Exhibit 2.
12Q.Did you ever receive or review or
13see the original of Exhibit 3?
14A.No, nor 4, nor 5, nor 6, nor 7, nor
158, nor 9.
16Q.To your knowledge, Mr. Epstein, have
17any of your reports been sent to the Boulder
18Police Department?
19A.I would have no knowledge of that.
20If they have, I'm not aware of it.
21Q.Did Mr. Hoffman not tell you that he
22was going to send your report to the Boulder
23police?
24A.He did not.
25Q.You did not authorize that?
0106
1 A.I was not aware of it.
2 Q.Have you ever spoken to anyone with
3 the Boulder police?
4 A.I have not.
5 Q.Have you ever spoken to anyone with
6 the district attorney's office in Colorado that
7 investigated the murder of JonBenet Ramsey?
8 A.I have not.
9 Q.In 1996, 1997, 1998 or 1999, were
10you contacted by any law enforcement
11representatives with respect to the authorship of
12the ransom note found at the home of John and
13Patsy Ramsey?
14A.I was not.
15Q.Did you volunteer your assistance in
16any way in 1996, 1997, 1998 or 1999 to any law
17enforcement official with respect to the ransom
18note or its authorship?
19A.I did write actually two letters.
20When I became familiar with the case, and, I
21think, in fact, I may have even mentioned it to
22Mr. Hoffman, I did contact the previous district
23attorney's office in Boulder, along with my CV,
24offering my services on a pro bono basis, and I
25never received an answer from him.
0107
1 When the new district attorney took
2 office, I did the same thing. I wrote a
3 letter to her and also never received a reply.
4 Q.Can you tell us approximately the
5 dates that you wrote those letters?
6 A.I believe I have a copy of the
7 second letter. I don't believe I have a copy
8 of the first letter.
9 The dates, the letter going to the
10present one was shortly after she took office,
11when she replaced the previous district attorney,
12and the original letter, I really can't recall
13when that was. I mean, it was after I had had
14an opportunity to look at the writing and study
15the note, but prior to my being retained by
16Mr. Hoffman.
17Q.Do you have any of those letters
18here with you today?
19A.I do not, no.
20Q.Do you have the second letter back
21in your office?
22A.I do.
23Q.Can you please share that with us?
24A.Certainly.
25Q.Is there a copy of the first letter
0108
1 back in your office?
2 A.No. I looked for the first letter.
3 Actually, I don't know why it wasn't in my
4 files or my database. But I couldn't locate
5 the first one. But I did send one and they
6 may have it, I don't know.
7 Q.And did you, in either one of those
8 letters, did you volunteer any conclusion about
9 the matter?
10A.I did not.
11Q.Any opinion about the matter?
12A.I did not.
13Q.Did you hold any opinion about the
14matter?
15A.The only thing I stated was that I
16felt that I could be of assistance to them, and
17that I would be willing to work the case on a
18pro bono basis.
19Q.At that time had you seen any
20reproduction or copy of the ransom note in any
21medium whatsoever?
22A.I did have copies of the ransom
23note, yes.
24Q.How had you obtained them?
25A.I believe that those copies were
0109
1 given to me by Mr. Zieglar, but it was prior
2 to my involvement with Mr. Hoffman. I had
3 already seen -- or seen the copies of the
4 ransom note, and I had also seen some of the
5 known writing --
6 Q.Of?
7 A.-- of Patsy Ramsey.
8 Q.But you did not say so to the
9 Boulder district attorney.
10A.I did not, no. All I was doing was
11telling -- I simply offered my services to them.
12Q.Did you ever get a phone call in
13return?
14A.No, I never received any answer from
15them.
16Q.Had you reached any conclusion when
17you wrote your second letter to the Boulder
18district attorney?
19A.No, I hadn't, because I had not done
20all of the examinations that were necessary.
21All I was doing was offering my services to do
22the examinations.
23Q.When did you first do a detailed
24study of the ransom note itself?
25A.It was probably around the end of --
0110
1 the end of 2000 or the very beginning of 2001
2 when I was given copies of the ransom note.
3 Q.Did you draw up a master plan as a
4 result of your study of the ransom note?
5 A.A master plan?
6 Q.Yes.
7 A.I don't know what you mean by that.
8 I went through the note and identified the
9 significant handwriting similarities, and I
10numbered the lines, I identified various
11combinations of habits that were repeated
12throughout the note. I studied the writing over
13a considerable period of time. I did those
14kinds of things.
15But as far as a master plan, I'm
16not sure what you mean by that.
17Q.And did you commit to writing your
18observations about the ransom note that you've
19just described to us, the significant handwriting
20similarities, the various combinations of habits
21that were repeated throughout the note?
22A.They were reflected in my work right
23here (indicating).
24Q.Well, you're showing us pages of
25your report, but did you, when you first studied
0111
1 the ransom note, create a written document or
2 any notes that --
3 A.I did not.
4 Q.-- summarized your study of the
5 ransom note?
6 A.What I created was the information
7 that led to the creation of these charts.
8 Q.And did you create that in writing?
9 A.I did not create it in writing. I
10created it through actually cutting out the
11various combinations and various words within the
12ransom note and comparing them against the known
13similar writings from the exemplars.
14Q.When you wrote your first letter to
15the Boulder district attorney, this being Alex
16Hunter, I assume; am I correct?
17A.Yes.
18Q.Had you at that time seen the ransom
19note?
20A.Yes, I had.
21Q.Had you at that time seen any
22documents attributed to Patsy Ramsey?
23A.Yes, I had seen some copies of the
24normal course of business writings.
25Q.And are those exhibits listed in
0112
1 your report?
2 A.They are.
3 Q.Which ones, please?
4 A.I believe they were the Exhibits 2
5 through 9.
6 Q.So you had seen Exhibits 2 through
7 9, as you used those numbers in your report
8 dated February 25, 2001, at the time of your
9 first and at the time of your second letter to
10the Boulder district attorney.
11A.I did not identify any exhibits in
12my letter.
13Q.No, sir, my question is different.
14You had seen --
15A.Yes.
16Q.-- Exhibits 2 through 9 as you used
17those numbers in your February 25, 2001 report
18before either one of your letters to the Boulder
19district attorney that you've told us about
20today; true?
21A.Would you ask that again? I'm not
22sure exactly what you're asking.
23Q.You wrote to district attorney Alex
24Hunter volunteering your services.
25A.Right.
0113
1 Q.You later wrote to his successor,
2 Mary Keenan; did you not, sir?
3 A.Right, that was the name, yes.
4 Q.And before sending the first of
5 those letters, you had seen both the ransom note
6 and Exhibits 2 through 9, as you use those
7 exhibit numbers in your February 25, 2001
8 report.
9 A.I had seen -- I had seen those
10exhibits, yes.
11Q.And did you state in either one of
12those letters that there was any indication
13known to you that Patsy Ramsey authored the
14ransom note?
15A.I did not.
16Q.And did you have any information or
17conclusion or opinion at the time you wrote
18either letter that --
19A.No, and I didn't -- and I didn't --
20Q.-- excuse me, let me finish, please.
21Mr. Epstein, this is an important
22case.
23A.I --
24Q.Mr. Wolf is accusing Patsy Ramsey of
25murder.
0114
1 A.Right.
2 Q.He's accusing John Ramsey of covering
3 it up, and it's important that this record has
4 both my question and your answer.
5 A.I understand.
6 Q.So would you please let me finish?
7 A.Certainly.
8 Q.When you wrote district attorney Alex
9 Hunter and when you wrote district attorney
10Keenan, did you hold any opinion or conclusion
11that there was any indication that Patsy Ramsey
12authored the ransom note?
13A.I did not. I -- from what I had
14seen, I felt that there were additional
15examinations that were warranted, and that I
16felt that if additional known writing that was
17necessary to do a proper examination could be
18collected and obtained, that an examination could
19be conducted.
20Q.In volunteering your services or
21assistance to the Boulder district attorney, did
22you inform the Boulder district attorney that
23your investigation would be limited to Patsy
24Ramsey?
25A.No, I did not.
0115
1 Q.Did you suggest that your examination
2 would involve Patsy Ramsey?
3 A.No, I did not.
4 Q.Did you use the name of any person
5 in your letter --
6 A.I didn't.
7 Q.-- other than JonBenet Ramsey?
8 A.I did not. I did not indicate in
9 any way which way, you know, I would reach any
10kind of conclusion. My whole point of this and
11what I've always said from the beginning is that
12I just felt that there was not -- a sufficient
13type or proper examination had not been
14conducted.
15Q.Did you ask the Boulder district
16attorney to furnish you the originals of
17Defendant's Exhibits --
18A.No, I didn't, because I first --
19Q.-- I'm sorry, of Exhibits 2 through
209?
21A.I did not ask them for anything. I
22was simply introducing myself.
23Q.Turn with me, please, to Page 3,
24again of Defendant's Exhibit 6. At the top of
25the page in the first full sentence on that
0116
1 page your report states as follows: "Based on
2 the presently available documents, there are
3 strong indications that Patsy Ramsey is the
4 author of the ransom note."
5 Did I read that correctly?
6 A.You did. Strong indications is not
7 a definitive conclusion, it's only indications.
8 There were characteristics within the known
9 writing that I had at that time that were
10comparable, and that were -- that if additional
11known writing could be obtained of a sufficient
12amount that there were indications that the
13findings could be strengthened, but at this
14point in time, it was strictly indications.
15Q.When you wrote Alex Hunter and
16volunteered your assistance, did you tell him
17there were such strong indications?
18A.I did not.
19Q.Did you believe there were?
20A.Myself?
21Q.Yes, sir.
22A.In my own mind, I believed there
23were. But I never expressed them to anyone.
24Q.When you wrote to district attorney
25Keenan and volunteered your assistance, did you
0117
1 tell her that in your judgment there were quote
2 strong indications close quote?
3 A.No, I did not. I did not.
4 Q.Did you believe there were?
5 A.I believed there were, but I didn't
6 express it.
7 MR. RAWLS: All right. This is a
8 good time for a lunch break.
9 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Off the record at
1012:56 p.m.
11(Recess).
12THE VIDEOGRAPHER: On the record at
132:12 p.m.
14BY MR. RAWLS:
15Q.Mr. Epstein, in 1996, 1997, 1998 and
161999, what was your familiarity with the murder
17investigation into the death of JonBenet Ramsey?
18A.Only what I had read in the
19newspapers and magazines, which was just
20basically a description of the crime. I didn't
21know any more than the average person who read
22the paper.
23Q.Have you read about the lawsuit
24which Mr. Darnay Hoffman had filed against
25district attorney Alex Hunter?
0118
1 A.No, I didn't.
2 Q.Were you aware that Mr. Hoffman had
3 sued and claimed that the district attorney,
4 Alex hunter, should be required to charge the
5 Ramseys with murder?
6 A.No, I'm not familiar with that.
7 Q.Do you know the outcome of that
8 case?
9 A.I don't, no.
10Q.That's never been shared with you by
11Mr. Hoffman.
12A.No.
13Q.Or by anybody else.
14A.No.
15Q.Did you review any handwriting report
16of Larry Zieglar?
17A.Yes, I did.
18Q.With respect to the ransom note?
19A.Right.
20Q.Left -- or found at the home of
21John and Patsy Ramsey?
22A.The initial report. I don't believe
23he ever did a final Article 26 report.
24Q.And when did you read the initial
25report of Larry Zieglar?
0119
1 A.As far as the date, I really can't
2 tell you. He -- after he had done the
3 examination he showed me the report and asked me
4 to read it over to see if it -- you know, if
5 there was anything that I saw in there that he
6 had left out or, you know, that didn't -- where
7 he didn't use the proper wording or whatever.
8 It was just basically to see if it
9 was -- if he had covered the subjects that he
10was required to cover, that kind of thing. I
11don't even really recall, you know, exactly what
12he had said in the report because we did our
13work independently. He did his examinations and
14I did mine. And -- but I did have occasion to
15see his report prior to him finalizing it.
16Q.Did you see any report of his in
17the year 2000?
18A.I only saw one report. I don't
19know whether that was the report in 2000 or
20whether it was a different report.
21Q.Well, let me --
22A.I think he only provided one report.
23I don't know.
24Q.He only provided one to you; is that
25true?
0120
1 A.I've only seen one that I know of.
2 Q.And do you know if you saw that
3 while you were still employed by the Immigration
4 and Naturalization Service?
5 A.I believe I was.
6 Q.Did you see Larry Zieglar's report
7 before you were retained by Darnay Hoffman?
8 A.I think I had already been retained
9 by Darnay Hoffman and I think I had just
10retired. Really, the date of when I first saw
11it is not that clear in my mind, but I recall
12that -- I think that I had already been
13retained.
14Q.And what did you tell Larry Zieglar
15about whether his report covered the subjects
16that it should cover?
17A.I recall that there was nothing in
18the report that I really found, you know, that
19I could comment on. I mean, I read the
20report, it sounded fine. Larry Zieglar writes
21a, you know, a good report, he's been writing
22them for years. I think he just wanted to
23show it to me, basically, before he sent it
24out. But I don't recall making any comments
25about anything that he had to change in the
0121
1 report.
2 Basically it was -- it covered, I
3 imagine, whatever it was supposed to cover. I
4 don't really recall.
5 (WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
6 7 was marked for identification).
7 Q.Mr. Epstein, let me show you
8 Defendant's Exhibit-7 and ask you to take a look
9 at it, please, and tell us if this is the
10report you saw.
11A.This looks like, best of my
12recollection, what I remember seeing.
13Q.Did you copy from Mr. Zieglar's
14report any language for your own?
15A.I did not. Mr. Zieglar saw my
16report. I don't know whether he saw my report
17first or his report came to me first. I just
18don't remember the sequence of events, but I
19know that I didn't take anything from his
20report.
21Q.Let me share with you, or ask you
22to focus, please, on the following language on
23Page 2 of Defendant's Exhibit 7, and this is
24from the paragraph numbered 2.
25A.Okay.
0122
1 Q.It's in the sentence beginning "but
2 rather", and the quote I want to --
3 A.You said Page 2?
4 Q.Page 2, Number 2.
5 A.Okay.
6 Q.The language --
7 A.Oh, but rather. I see it, yes.
8 Q.Do you see the language that
9 follows, quote was undertaken to determine if
10further forensic examinations of Patsy Ramsey's
11handwriting is warranted. Do you see that?
12A.Uh-huh.
13Q.Did I read it correctly?
14A.You did.
15Q.That identical verbatim language is
16found in Paragraph 3 of your report, which is
17Defendant's Exhibit 6. How can you account for
18that, please?
19A.I can account for that because my
20report -- Larry Zieglar saw my report before I
21saw his report and he probably borrowed that
22sentence. We were asked -- we were asked the
23same questions. We were asked to establish the
24same thing.
25After I had done my draft report, I
0123
1 know I showed it to Larry, he showed me his,
2 and now that that's in there I know that I
3 didn't take it from him, so if it's the same
4 sentence then he must have taken it from mine
5 because I didn't take it from his report.
6 Q.And would I be correct in stating
7 this as fact, Mr. Epstein: Before you finalized
8 your 2001 report to Mr. Hoffman you showed it
9 to Larry Zieglar; is that true?
10A.After I had done my examination,
11yes.
12Q.And before Larry Zieglar finalized
13his 2001 report, which is Defendant's Exhibit 7,
14he shared it with you.
15A.That's correct.
16Q.And at least one of you borrowed
17language of the other.
18A.It appears to be. But I can tell
19you that I did not borrow his language, so
20therefore he must have borrowed mine.
21Q.Did you suggest any language for
22Mr. Zieglar's report?
23A.No, I didn't suggest any language.
24Larry was well aware of the limitations that we
25had at the time, and his examinations -- it's
0124
1 not unusual to come to similar language because
2 basically in questioned document work there are
3 certain standard sentences that are used in
4 different types of conclusions, and we were both
5 working with the same documents, we both came to
6 the same conclusions. But as far as that
7 particular sentence, it's very possible that he
8 borrowed it from me.
9 Q.Well, when you read his report
10before he completed it, did it strike you as
11strange that he used verbatim identical
12phrases --
13A.I really --
14Q.-- from your report?
15A.I'm sorry for interrupting you. But
16I really didn't remember that that sentence was
17verbatim from mine when I read it. I mainly
18was looking to see whether the exhibits were
19listed, whether or not, you know, he had
20answered the question. But as far as the words
21that he used, I wasn't really that concerned
22with it.
23Q.Who is James Gardiner?
24A.James Gardiner?
25Q.Yes, sir.
0125
1 A.I think he's the individual that I
2 also received some writing from, or he was
3 somehow involved, I think he was a homeless
4 person. Is this the homeless person that was
5 living in --
6 Q.I don't know, I'm asking you.
7 A.And I say, my memory is very sketchy
8 because I didn't really do very much with
9 anything from James Gardiner, but I remember
10that the name rings a bell, but I'm not
11specific as to exactly who he is.
12Q.So Mr. Darnay Hoffman furnished you
13with handwriting exemplars which he told you
14were from Patsy Ramsey; correct?
15A.That's correct.
16Q.He furnished you with handwriting
17exemplars which he told you were from Chris
18Wolf; is that correct?
19A.I believe so, yes.
20Q.And he furnished you with handwriting
21exemplars which he told you were from James
22Gardiner; am I correct about that as well?
23A.Whether those were exemplars or some
24other kind of writing, I did receive something
25from James Gardiner, but I don't know if you
0126
1 could classify them as exemplars, that is
2 collect writings, or not. I don't believe they
3 were exemplars. I think they were some kind of
4 writing.
5 Q.Now, did you eliminate Chris Wolf as
6 the author of the ransom note based on Chris
7 Wolf's handwriting alone at any time?
8 A.No, I didn't, because again --
9 Q."No" is sufficient, Mr. Epstein.
10A.Okay.
11Q.Did you at any time eliminate James
12Gardiner as the author of the ransom note based
13on his own handwriting alone?
14A.I did not, no.
15Q.Now, you gave a Rule 26 report to
16Mr. Hoffman containing a conclusion of yours
17that Patsy Ramsey authored the ransom note; did
18you not, sir?
19A.I did.
20Q.What is your degree of certainty
21yourself as you sit here today that Patsy Ramsey
22wrote the note?
23A.I am absolutely certain that she
24wrote the note.
25Q.Is that 60 percent certain?
0127
1 A.No, that's 100 percent certain.
2 Q.You are 100 percent certain that
3 Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom note in this case;
4 is that your testimony?
5 A.Yes, it is.
6 Q.And the word 100 percent came out of
7 your mouth, not mine; correct?
8 A.That's correct.
9 Q.At least first.
10A.That's correct.
11Q.And you are an individual who, to
12the best of your knowledge, has never made an
13error in determining the authorship of a
14document; am I correct?
15A.As I stated, if I have, and it's
16very possible that I have, it's never been
17brought to my attention.
18Q.You will acknowledge that as a human
19being the possibility of error is a part of
20your genetic makeup.
21A.Absolutely.
22Q.But you will not testify that
23there's any possibility of a mistake on your
24part with respect to Patsy Ramsey; am I correct?
25A.No, that's -- in regards to Patsy
0128
1 Ramsey I feel that the conclusion that I reached
2 is the correct one, and that is that she is
3 the author of that note.
4 Q.And again, that is with not just a
5 little bit certainty, that is with 100 percent
6 positive conviction.
7 A.Yes, sir.
8 Q.Do you know Lou Smit?
9 A.Lou Smith. I don't believe so.
10Q.Do you know who he is?
11A.I don't think so.
12Q.Have you seen him on television?
13A.Not that I can recall.
14Q.You are, by the way -- you have had
15some contact with Nebraska, I believe I recall
16in your testimony and in your resume. I
17believe that was your college; is it not?
18A.Right.
19Q.University of Nebraska? Did you
20ever come to know Mr. Robert Stratbucker?
21A.I don't believe so.
22Q.Do you know who he is?
23A.I don't.
24Q.Mr. Epstein, Lou Smit, for your
25information, is a retired former homicide
0129
1 investigator who was asked by the Boulder Police
2 Department to come out of retirement and assist
3 in the investigation into the murder of JonBenet
4 Ramsey. Does that ring a bell for you of any
5 sort?
6 A.No.
7 Q.That does not help you determine who
8 he is.
9 A.No.
10Q.We have in the case called upon
11Mr. Smit to share some of the results of his
12investigation, and we've asked him to place that
13in evidence and I'm going to share with you
14some of the portions of Lou Smit's own personal
15presentation as he has shared it with us.
16Would you please mark this
17Defendant's Exhibit-8, I believe is next.
18(WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
198 was marked for identification).
20Q.Mr. Epstein, this is a series, this
21Defendant's Exhibit 8 which I'm about to hand
22you, is a series of one, two, three, four,
23five, six, seven pages of information which
24comes -- these pages come from one portion of
25Lou Smit's presentation.
0130
1 First, Mr. Smit -- and this is Page
2 1, if I could ask you to direct your attention,
3 please, to this case. Mr. Smit identifies six
4 individuals who have evaluated the ransom note.
5 First I want to ask you, are you familiar with
6 Chet Ubowski?
7 A.I've met him many years ago. I'm
8 not really acquainted with him, but I think I've
9 met him.
10Q.Do you know that he is --
11A.I do know that he's a document
12examiner at the Colorado bureau.
13Q.Have you seen his name in the press
14reports you have followed about the Ramsey case?
15A.I have, yes.
16Q.Do you know Leonard Speckin?
17A.He's a chemist. Yes, I know him.
18Q.Is he a qualified document examiner?
19A.Not in my view, no.
20Q.Do you know Edwin Alford?
21A.Ed Alford I've known for many years.
22Q.Is he a qualified document examiner?
23A.He is.
24Q.Do you know Lloyd Cunningham?
25A.I do know him, yes.
0131
1 Q.Is he a qualified document examiner?
2 A.He has all of the credentials.
3 Q.Do you mean to say he is or he is
4 not?
5 A.I really don't know much about his
6 work.
7 Q.But by all of the credentials, does
8 that include board certification?
9 A.I believe he's board certified. I'm
10not sure.
11Q.By the proper board, not by the --
12A.Yeah, whenever I say board certified
13I'm only assuming one board. And I believe he
14is, but I don't really know for sure.
15Q.Do you know Richard Dusick?
16A.Secret Service, yes.
17Q.Is he a qualified document examiner?
18A.Best of my knowledge, he is.
19Q.The Secret Service is more often
20involved with criminal investigations than the
21INS is; is it not, sir?
22A.Dusick has a special job there. He
23works with a particular database. I don't know
24how much actual handwriting work he does.
25I mean, he works with what's known
0132
1 as the Fish database, it's a database for
2 handwriting, and he's pretty much responsible for
3 that. But I have -- you know, I have no
4 qualms about his qualification.
5 Q.What is the Fish database?
6 A.It's an automated database that was
7 developed by the Germans to track similar
8 handwriting characteristics, and they use it for
9 their threatening letters against the president
10and members of the cabinet.
11What they do is they capture these
12particular notes and later they're able to
13search these notes by handwriting characteristics
14to see whether or not that particular writer has
15ever been identified before, ever written a note
16before.
17Q.And now back to the question that I
18asked you a couple of questions ago, is this
19true or is this false, that the Secret Service
20is more often involved with criminal
21investigations than is the INS?
22A.That's true.
23Q.Thank you. And do you know Howard
24Rile?
25A.I do.
0133
1 Q.Is he a qualified document examiner?
2 A.He meets all the qualifications.
3 Q.And you don't mean to be criticizing
4 him or his skills when you say that; do you?
5 A.Again, I've never really seen Howard
6 Rile's work. I know that he's one of the
7 busiest private document examiners in the
8 country. Probably has one of the largest
9 practices, and he's been doing it for 20 years,
10so -- but I've never seen his work. We've
11never been involved in the same case. So he
12meets all the qualifications.
13Q.The fact is you have never seen his
14work before this case.
15A.That's correct.
16Q.Am I correct? You have seen it in
17this case; have you not?
18A.I have.
19Q.You have seen Lloyd Cunningham's work
20in this case.
21A.I have.
22Q.Turn, please, to Page 2 of
23Defendant's Exhibit 8. And according, at least,
24to Lou Smit's presentation, Chet Ubowski of the
25CBI found indications, that's the first bullet
0134
1 point.
2 The second bullet point is Chet
3 Ubowski found there is evidence which indicates
4 that the ransom note may have been written by
5 Patsy Ramsey.
6 You found the same to be true, did
7 you not, sir? There is such evidence.
8 A.Yes, I did.
9 Q.Mr. Ubowski, however, went on to
10find, according to Lou Smit, as we see it here
11in Defendant's Exhibit 8, that, quote, the
12evidence falls short of that necessary to
13support a definite conclusion, end quote. Did
14you know before today that Mr. Ubowski had
15reached that conclusion?
16A.I don't believe I knew exactly what
17conclusion he had reached, but I believe I did
18know that he had some degree of indications. I
19knew that his conclusion of the document
20examiners that had been retained or used was the
21strongest of the others, as compared to the
22others.
23Q.Where did you get the information
24you've just told us that you knew?
25A.Recently I was given a list of the
0135
1 document examiners that had work on the case.
2 Q.From whom?
3 A.From, I think, Mr. Darnay Hoffman.
4 Q.Do you have that with you?
5 A.No, I don't.
6 Q.Do you have it in your office?
7 A.I don't know that I even kept it.
8 It may be in my office, but I didn't consider
9 it, you know, that important.
10Q.We would like a copy if you can
11find that, please, sir.
12A.Okay.
13Q.When was the first time that you had
14any information about Chet Ubowski's findings or
15conclusions concerning the Ramsey note in this
16case?
17A.Well, I knew that Chet Ubowski had
18worked on the case because he was a member of
19the Colorado bureau and I think he was the
20senior person in the Colorado bureau, or he's
21not. But anyway, I knew that he was there.
22I knew that he had worked on it,
23but I did not know what his findings or
24conclusions were up until recently when I
25received the note or the letter stating who the
0136
1 different --
2 Q.How recently did you receive the
3 note or letter from Darnay Hoffman stating who
4 the different document examiners were who were
5 involved in the case?
6 A.I don't know. It might have been
7 30 days, 45 days ago. I mean, it was fairly
8 recent.
9 Q.It was after you did your Rule 26
10report in this case.
11A.Yes, it was.
12Q.Let's turn to the next page, please,
13of Defendant's Exhibit 8, that being the page
14concerning Leonard Speckin.
15A.Speckin.
16Q.Speckin, thank you. According to
17Lou Smit's presentation, Mr. Speckin is a police
18expert and a private forensic document analyst.
19Do you agree that those are among Mr. Speckin's
20credentials?
21A.I know that that's what he
22advertises himself to be, yes.
23Q.When did you learn of Mr. Speckin's
24conclusions about the ransom note?
25A.At the same time as I did about all
0137
1 the others, about 30 to --
2 Q.Thirty to forty-five days ago.
3 A.That's correct.
4 Q.When Mr. Hoffman sent you that
5 letter did he send you these pages from Lou
6 Smit's report?
7 A.No.
8 Q.Did Mr. Hoffman send you information
9 that is consistent with this page that you're
10now looking at, which is Page 3 of Defendant's
11Exhibit 8?
12A.So far it is, yes.
13Q.Is it consistent with the entire
14page of -- the entire third page of Defendant's
15Exhibit 8?
16A.I believe it's very similar to what
17I read. I can't be sure that it's word for
18word, but it's basically the same thing.
19Q.According to Mr. Smit, and apparently
20according to what you received independently from
21Darnay Hoffman, Mr. Speckin concluded quote I
22can find no evidence that Patsy Ramsey disguised
23her handprinting exemplars, end quote.
24Do you yourself agree that there's
25no evidence that Patsy Ramsey disguised her
0138
1 handprinting exemplars?
2 A.No, I don't agree.
3 Q.Okay. Mr. Speckin also, according
4 to Lou Smit and apparently also according to
5 what Mr. Hoffman shared with you before today,
6 but sometime this year, am I correct?
7 A.Yes.
8 Q.Mr. Speckin also concluded, quote,
9 when I compare the handprinting habits of Patsy
10Ramsey with those presented in the questioned
11ransom note, there exists agreement to the
12extent that some of her individual letter
13formations and letter combinations do appear in
14the ransom note, end quote.
15Now, you would agree with that
16bullet point; would you not, sir?
17A.I would substitute the word "some"
18for a different word, but I would not say some.
19I would say all.
20Q.You would edit one word.
21A.Well, in that particular sentence.
22Q.Exactly. And Mr. Speckin went on,
23did he not, according to Lou Smit and to
24previous information you received this year from
25Darnay Hoffman, to conclude, "When this agreement
0139
1 is weighed against the number, type and
2 consistency of the differences present, I am
3 unable to identify Patsy Ramsey as the author of
4 the questioned ransom note with any degree of
5 certainty. I am, however, unable to eliminate
6 her as the author."
7 It is proper in the field of
8 document examination, is it not, sir, to
9 consider differences as well as similarities?
10A.Absolutely.
11Q.And you yourself are unable to
12eliminate Patsy Ramsey as the author; are you
13not?
14A.I'm unable to eliminate her?
15Q.Yes, sir.
16A.I have identified her.
17Q.You're unable to eliminate her, am I
18not correct?
19A.I could not eliminate her, no.
20Q.Let's turn to the next page on Edwin
21F. Alford, Jr. This is Page 4 of Defendant's
22Exhibit 8. Did you learn about Mr. Alford's
23conclusions from Darnay Hoffman this year for
24the first time as well?
25A.That's correct.
0140
1 Q.Did Mr. Hoffman's information given
2 to you this year agree with Lou Smit's summary
3 on Page 4 of Defendant's Exhibit 8?
4 A.As I remember it, it's close to
5 this, to the same thing.
6 Q.He too did not find quote a basis
7 for identifying Patricia Ramsey as the writer of
8 the letter, end quote, as you understand the
9 facts; am I correct?
10A.That's what he says, yes.
11Q.Indeed, as Lou Smit characterizes it,
12he found quote lack of indications, end quote.
13A.That's what he says.
14Q.Now, if you assume, as you were told
15by Darnay Hoffman and as Lou Smit tells us in
16these three pages we have just seen, that Chet
17Ubowski did find what is summarized on Page 2,
18that Leonard Speckin did find what is summarized
19on Page 3, and that Edwin Alford did find what
20is summarized on Page 4, is it your best
21judgment that these men were dishonest or
22incompetent?
23A.I wish I could tell you that I knew
24what caused them to reach their conclusions, but
25obviously I don't. But I do have my own
0141
1 feelings as to how the chain of events, starting
2 from the very beginning, led up to a number of
3 other document examiners coming to the same
4 conclusion. And if you would like me to tell
5 you what that is, I will.
6 Q.Do you base it on facts?
7 A.No, I can't base it on fact. I can
8 base it on my experience with these people and
9 with the profession as I know it, and what
10happens within a profession as small as this
11one.
12Q.Let me ask you to turn for a moment
13past the Lloyd Cunningham page to the page on
14Richard Dusick. And I think there may be a
15spelling error on this page of Lou Smit's
16materials, but this is the next to last page.
17Do you see that?
18A.Richard Dusick.
19Q.Yes, sir.
20A.Okay, I have it.
21Q.Did Mr. Hoffman give you earlier
22this year for the first time a summary of
23Mr. Dusick's conclusions that is consistent with
24Lou Smit's presentation page on Richard Dusick?
25A.Prior to receiving the letter that
0142
1 had all of these document examiners on it, I
2 had heard, I believe from someone in the Secret
3 Service or some document examiner in the
4 government, that Richard Dusick had done some
5 examinations in the case, and that he had --
6 they didn't tell me exactly what his conclusion
7 was, but they said that he had reached a
8 conclusion where he felt that Patsy Ramsey had
9 not done the ransom note, but I did not see
10anything in writing or I didn't see anything as
11to exactly what he said until I received the
12letter.
13Q.That is the letter from Darnay
14Hoffman this year.
15A.Right.
16Q.Perhaps 30 to 45 days ago.
17A.I believe so. I'm not exactly sure
18of the time.
19Q.And did Mr. Hoffman's letter provide
20you information that is consistent with the page
21that you see in Lou Smit's report?
22A.Yes, I believe it is.
23Q.So that, according both to Lou Smit
24and to Darnay Hoffman, Richard Dusick found,
25quote, lack of indications, end quote; true?
0143
1 A.That's what he seems to say, yes.
2 Q.And according to Lou Smit and to
3 Darnay Hoffman, Richard Dusick, document analyst
4 for the United States Secret Service, concluded
5 that a study and comparison of the questioned
6 and specimen writing submitted has resulted in
7 the conclusion that there is no evidence to
8 indicate that Patsy Ramsey executed any of the
9 questioned material appearing on the ransom note;
10true?
11MR. ALTMAN: Jim, I would object to
12form on that. You say according to Darnay
13Hoffman. Are you indicating that he supplied
14the document or are you indicating that
15according to him this gentleman, Mr. Dusick, I
16believe, stated what was stated? Maybe you want
17to rephrase it.
18Q.Mr. Epstein, what Darnay Hoffman told
19you that Richard Dusick concluded is essentially
20the same thing that Lou Smit's page tells you
21Richard Dusick concluded; correct?
22A.I believe so, yes.
23Q.Now, of these individuals that we've
24talked about so far -- they are Chet Ubowski,
25Leonard Speckin, Edwin Alford and Richard Dusick
0144
1 -- is it your understanding that each of them
2 was retained by the Colorado police and
3 investigative authorities?
4 A.I really don't know who retained
5 them. I would just be guessing if I told you
6 that I did.
7 Q.You do know that the Colorado
8 authorities for a time sought to make a case
9 against Patsy Ramsey; do you not?
10A.I do know that, yes.
11Q.And employed several handwriting
12analysts to attempt to determine whether a case
13could be made to prosecute Patsy based on the
14ransom note. Do you not know that?
15A.I do know that such examinations
16were done, yeah.
17Q.If these individuals were, in fact,
18hired by the Colorado authorities, do you know
19of any reason to believe they would be biased
20in favor of Patsy Ramsey?
21A.No, I don't have any reason to
22believe they were biased of Patsy Ramsey, but if
23I -- could I continue with my answer, or were
24you going to stop me there?
25Q.I think you're finished with your
0145
1 answer.
2 A.Well --
3 Q.I think the answer was no.
4 A.No, I'm not really finished.
5 MR. ALTMAN: I think he's entitled
6 to explain.
7 A.I think there are some very
8 important points that have to be made in order
9 to really answer the question.
10Q.To answer the question of bias?
11A.Yes.
12Q.Are you telling me you want to
13speculate about the motives of these individuals?
14A.I don't want to speculate, but I
15feel that it's important to consider why some of
16these conclusions were made.
17Q.Do you have any information that is
18going to tell us why these conclusions were made
19that is not based on rank speculation on your
20part?
21MR. ALTMAN: Objection as to the
22form.
23A.No.
24Q.The answer was no? Does the record
25have that? Was that your answer?
0146
1 A.That was my answer.
2 Q.So if you added to your answer,
3 which you told me you wanted to do, you would
4 be adding material based purely on speculation?
5 Am I correct?
6 A.I don't know if you would call it
7 pure speculation. It would certainly be -- it
8 would be based on my experience with the
9 profession over the many years, and if you want
10to call that speculation then I suppose it would
11be speculation.
12Q.Mr. Epstein, I think you've told us
13enough about whether that's based on speculation
14or not.
15Now --
16MR. ALTMAN: So, Jim, I guess you
17don't want him, then, to state the rest of his
18response; is that correct?
19MR. WOOD: Rank speculation.
20MR. ALTMAN: I don't know that it's
21rank speculation. If he has an opinion I feel
22he's entitled to finish.
23MR. ALTMAN: Look, this is an
24expert's opinion deposition. By definition, when
25you ask an expert an answer normally it's their
0147
1 opinion, to the degree that it's their opinion,
2 it's speculation, so it's almost a redundancy
3 here.
4 It's not rank speculation for him to
5 comment on his observations concerning Patsy
6 Ramsey's handwriting. It's not rank speculation
7 to comment on his observation after 40, 50 years
8 in the profession about how certain decisions
9 are reached by groups of handwriting experts, so
10to that degree I don't think it's more or less
11than what you've been asking him or any other
12expert this whole time.
13MR. RAWLS: I am ready to move to
14the next question as soon as I'm permitted to
15do so by opposing counsel.
16Q.Would you turn, please, Mr. Epstein,
17to the page on Lloyd Cunningham in Defendant's
18Exhibit 8?
19A.Okay.
20Q.Did Mr. Hoffman share with you Lloyd
21Cunningham's findings in his letter earlier this
22year?
23A.Lloyd Cunningham was listed as one
24of the examiners.
25Q.And, in fact, you have also read
0148
1 Lloyd Cunningham's expert witness report
2 submitted under Federal Rule 26 for use in this
3 case; have you not?
4 A.I have.
5 Q.You are, then, aware that
6 Mr. Cunningham does find a lack of indications;
7 are you not?
8 A.I am.
9 Q.That he concluded he cannot identify,
10nor eliminate, Patsy Ramsey as the author of the
11ransom note.
12A.I'm familiar with that.
13Q.That he has spent 20 hours examining
14the samples and documents and found that there
15were no significant individual characteristics,
16but much significant difference between Patsy's
17writing and the note.
18And may I say that Lou Smit's
19presentation was based on the report Lloyd
20Cunningham submitted before the Rule 26 expert
21witness report in this case.
22And with that in mind, are you aware
23that this page of Lou Smit's presentation is
24accurate?
25MR. ALTMAN: Jim, I'd ask you to
0149
1 define if you would what you meant by accurate.
2 Q.An accurate summary of Lloyd
3 Cunningham's conclusions.
4 A.This page is a summary of his
5 conclusions.
6 Q.And insofar as it summarizes his
7 conclusions, you understand that Mr. Cunningham
8 did, indeed, reach those conclusions.
9 A.I understand that he did, yes.
10Q.And turn, please, to the last page
11of Lou Smit's report. This is the page on
12Howard Rile. And do you know that Mr. Rile
13was a -- was formerly with the CBI as a
14document examiner?
15A.Yeah, I'm aware of that.
16Q.Do you know that Howard Rile, in
17fact, trained Chet Ubowski?
18A.I think it's the other way around.
19I think Chet Ubowski trained Howard Rile.
20Q.Well, according to -- well, it may
21be that neither of us is correct. We --
22A.I think Chet --
23Q.We know that Lloyd Cunningham, if
24Lou Smit is to be believed, on Page 1,
25certified Chet Ubowski. In any case, regardless
0150
1 of who trained whom and who certified whom, did
2 you understand that Howard Rile concluded that
3 Patsy Ramsey probably did not author the ransom
4 note?
5 A.Yes, I'm familiar with that.
6 Q.And that his opinion is that the
7 likelihood that Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom
8 note is between probably not on the one hand
9 and elimination of Patsy Ramsey on the other.
10Were you aware of that?
11A.I was.
12Q.And do you have any fact,
13Mr. Epstein, that any of these individuals made
14a report based on incompetence? And these
15individuals, I mean Chet Ubowski, Leonard
16Speckin, Edwin Alford, Lloyd Cunningham, Richard
17Dusick and Howard Rile.
18A.I, to be perfectly honest, don't
19know how they reach their conclusions.
20Q.But you certainly have no fact that
21indicates it was based on incompetent.
22A.I have no facts.
23Q.And you have no facts that indicates
24it was based on dishonesty.
25A.I don't know why they reached or how
0151
1 they reached those conclusions.
2 Q.Now, how many prosecutors, to the
3 best of your knowledge, have looked at the
4 evidence, at all of the evidence, not just
5 handwriting analysis, concerning the murder of
6 JonBenet Ramsey?
7 A.I would have no idea.
8 Q.But you would be surprised if only a
9 small number of trained, experienced prosecutors
10have looked at all of the body of evidence,
11would you not, sir, in an unsolved murder case
12dating from 1996?
13A.I really don't know how many people
14have looked at it.
15Q.You certainly know that Alex Hunter
16looked at it.
17A.I would assume so.
18Q.You certainly know that Ms. Keenan
19looked at it?
20A.Again, I would hope so.
21Q.You know that each of their -- that
22a group of assistants to each of them looked at
23the evidence; do you know?
24A.Again, I really don't know who
25looked at it.
0152
1 Q.You know that a grand jury looked at
2 the evidence; do you not, sir?
3 A.I know that there was a grand jury,
4 but I don't know what evidence they looked at.
5 Q.You know the grand jury did not
6 indict; do you not, sir?
7 A.I'm aware of that.
8 Q.Does Alex Hunter have credibility to
9 you, sir?
10A.I don't know Alex Hunter.
11Q.You wrote to him volunteering your
12assistance. Did you at the time believe him to
13be a qualified, able district attorney and
14prosecutor?
15A.I wrote to him because he was the
16district attorney, period.
17(WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit Number
189 was marked for identification).
19Q.Mr. Epstein, I'm showing you
20Defendant's Exhibit-9, and for your benefit and
21that of the record, this is -- this exhibit
22consists of the cover page and Page 2 and 3 of
23the initial pages of the transcript of the
24deposition of Alex Hunter.
25Have you before today become familiar
0153
1 with anything Alex Hunter testified about in
2 this case?
3 A.Nothing.
4 Q.So Mr. Hoffman's letter to you of
5 some weeks earlier this year with reference to
6 handwriting analysts did not including any
7 reference to Alex Hunter's testimony; correct?
8 A.It did not.
9 Q.And I will tell you, Mr. Epstein,
10that this deposition was taken by my co-counsel,
11Lin Wood, and my colleague, Derek Bauer, out in
12Boulder, Colorado in November of last year.
13I want to ask you to turn, please,
14to the page that is actually the fourth page of
15this exhibit, Defendant's Exhibit 9, but has at
16the top of it Page Number 119.
17A.Very well.
18Q.And I'd like for you to simply read
19to yourself from Line 9, and you'll see there's
20a mark right above that line -- these are
21questions by Mr. Wood, by the way, for your
22information -- over to Page 122 and you'll see
23a line there, but I want you to go a little
24further.
25I want you to go down through Line
0154
1 11 on 122 and simply familiarizing yourself with
2 this testimony before I ask you some questions
3 about it.
4 In fact, while you're doing so,
5 Mr. Epstein, I think we're going to need the
6 court reporter -- the videographer to change the
7 video tape, so may we go off the record briefly
8 while she does so?
9 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: This is the end
10of Tape 2 to the deposition of Mr. Epstein.
11The time is 3:01 and we're off the record.
12(Recess).
13THE VIDEOGRAPHER: This is Tape
14Number 3 to the deposition of Mr. Epstein. The
15time is 3:10 p.m. and we're back on the record.
16BY MR. RAWLS:
17Q.Mr. Epstein, did you have a chance
18to view those pages --
19A.I did.
20Q.-- of former district attorney Alex
21Hunter's testimony?
22A.I did.
23Q.Thank you. And of course, you do
24understand, do you not, that part of the system
25of justice in the United States is that a
0155
1 prosecutor has discretion whether to charge
2 someone or not.
3 A.I understand that.
4 Q.That some crimes require an
5 indictment by the grand jury under the United
6 States Constitution.
7 A.I understand that also.
8 Q.And are you aware that prosecutors
9 can decide that some cases should be pursued and
10some cases should not?
11A.Of course.
12Q.And in your career with the
13Immigration and Naturalization Service, you found
14some evidence of crimes, did you not, from time
15to time?
16A.I have.
17Q.But you alone could not make the
18decision to accuse an individual of a crime
19based solely on your own handwriting analysis;
20could you, sir?
21A.No, of course not.
22Q.In our system it's vitally important
23to the concept of justice and to the proper
24prosecution of criminals that we have what's
25called prosecutorial discretion to enter in; is
0156
1 it not?
2 A.Yes, it is.
3 Q.You've always understood that.
4 A.I have.
5 Q.You have always been comfortable with
6 that decision; have you not?
7 A.I have.
8 Q.You yourself have never sued a
9 prosecutor to claim that someone should be
10prosecuted; have you, sir?
11A.No, I haven't.
12Q.You yourself have never been a
13prosecutor.
14A.I have not.
15Q.And, consequently, where your own
16role has come into contact with the criminal
17process, you have been in the role of an expert
18witness on handwriting; have you not, sir?
19A.I have.
20Q.Or on document examination.
21A.That's correct.
22Q.Correct? You have never been in the
23role of making a decision whether to prosecute
24someone or not.
25A.No, I haven't.
0157
1 Q.And sometimes that decision by a
2 prosecutor is a difficult decision; is it not?
3 A.I would think it is.
4 Q.And was Alex Hunter right, in your
5 judgment, to arm himself with the evidence
6 supplied by way of the reports of persons such
7 as Chet Ubowski, Leonard Speckin, Edwin Alford
8 and Richard Dusick?
9 A.That's a very difficult question for
10me to answer, and the reason it is is because
11Howard Rile and Lloyd Cunningham are private
12examiners, and I don't know -- and you certainly
13do, but I don't -- whether or not they were
14retained by the Ramsey family initially or
15whether they were retained by the Colorado
16bureau.
17Q.Let me remind you my question, which
18did not mention Mr. Rile and did not mention
19Mr. Cunningham.
20A.But you said the document examiners
21that were retained.
22Q.Here's my question: Was Alex Hunter
23right, in your judgment, to arm himself with the
24evidence supplied by way of the reports of
25persons such as Chet Ubowski, Leonard Speckin,
0158
1 Edwin Alford and Richard Dusick?
2 A.Okay, Speckin I don't consider a
3 document examiner. Speckin has a document
4 laboratory. He's basically a chemist, he does
5 ink and paper work. He's a young fellow with
6 very little experience. If he has done
7 handwriting, it's been very little handwriting.
8 I don't know the circumstances under
9 which these examinations were done and I don't
10know what kind of evidence was provided for the
11district attorney to present to the grand jury.
12Obviously I have a problem with the
13findings in this case, otherwise I wouldn't be
14here, and I believe that there are document
15examiners out there, and I know there are
16because they've come forward and told me so, who
17believe as I do.
18But the point is they were not
19involved in this case, and the people that were
20selected to do this examination, I don't know
21what influences, outside influences played a part
22on their findings and I don't know that they
23were completely free to conduct their
24examinations and to reach the conclusions in the
25manner that they felt was necessary.
0159
1 So there's a lot of different
2 factors here. The evidence is there, the
3 physical evidence is there. Was it -- was it
4 used to its maximum? No, obviously I don't
5 think it was. And was that the fault of a
6 particular person or the system? I don't know.
7 Q.My question, Mr. Epstein, had to do
8 with Alex Hunter's decision. Was he right to
9 rely on people such as Chet Ubowski --
10A.And I tried to answer that.
11Q.-- Leonard Speckin?
12MR. HOFFMAN: Jim, I think he
13answered no. I think his answer was no because
14he questioned their qualifications. I think the
15answer was no.
16MR. WOOD: You say he questioned
17their qualifications?
18MR. HOFFMAN: Such as those
19particular individuals, it sounds to me like
20Gideon is saying no, those are not the experts
21he should have relied on, maybe questioned
22document examiners in a generic sense, but those
23individuals, it sounds to me like he's saying
24no.
25MR. RAWLS: Well, I object to the
0160
1 remarks, Mr. Hoffman, that you have made just
2 now and I object to the witness's interruption
3 of my question. Please don't interrupt until
4 I'm finished, and then I'd like for you, sir,
5 Mr. Epstein, to please answer.
6 BY MR. RAWLS:
7 Q.Was Alex Hunter right -- and I'll
8 leave Leonard Speckin out because you have told
9 me he's young, he's inexperienced and he's a
10chemist, so we'll leave him out.
11The first thing I want to ask is
12was Alex Hunter right to try to get trained
13document examiners --
14A.I think he was right in trying to
15get trained document examiners. Whether he got
16them is the question.
17Q.And you've previously told us that
18you believe Edwin Alford, Richard Dusick and
19Chet Ubowski to be qualified document examiners;
20do you not?
21A.I know them to be qualified document
22examiners, but I don't know the circumstances of
23this case, how they worked.
24Q.So one can only conclude that Alex
25Hunter was correct to consult and to obtain a
0161
1 report from Chet Ubowski, from Edwin Alford and
2 from Richard Dusick; am I correct?
3 MR. ALTMAN: Objection as to form.
4 A.He was correct in what he attempted
5 to do.
6 Q.Thank you. And his decision was not
7 necessarily easy; was it?
8 A.I would not think so, no.
9 Q.This is the original of Defendant's
10Exhibit 8, Mr. Epstein. Tell me if I'm right
11or wrong about this, based on your
12understanding.
13Am I correct that Chet Ubowski had
14access to the original ransom note?
15A.I would certainly expect that he
16would have had access to the originals.
17Q.And you did not.
18A.I did not.
19Q.Have you ever requested the
20opportunity to view the original ransom note?
21A.Of course.
22Q.When?
23A.From the very beginning.
24Q.To whom did you make that request?
25A.When we -- when I first became
0162
1 involved in the case I told Mr. Hoffman that,
2 you know, that we would like to see all of the
3 original documents, if they were still available,
4 of the documents that were examined previously,
5 and obviously that included the ransom note.
6 Q.Mr. Epstein, I believe your
7 microphone may have slipped.
8 A.Slipped off.
9 Q.Were you finished with your answer?
10A.Yes. Between, I -- when I first
11became involved in this case I asked to see
12whatever original documents were previously
13examined by the document examiners before.
14Q.And why did you want to see the
15original ransom note?
16A.Whenever an original is available,
17it's just standard and automatic to want to see
18it.
19Q.There are some things you can tell
20from the original that you cannot tell from a
21copy; correct?
22A.The line quality can be more
23adequately examined. You can do a microscopic
24examination of the microstructure of the line.
25You can sometimes get a better idea of why the
0163
1 line quality is what it is. There are obvious
2 advantages to having the original.
3 Q.You can determine the amount of
4 pressure that was used on the writing implement;
5 can you not, sir?
6 A.You can. But from what you could
7 see already in the ransom note you could see
8 that the pressure was probably fairly even.
9 There was no feathering or up stroke and down
10stroke differences, so --
11Q.Is it your understanding that Chet
12Ubowski also had access to the originals of the
13exemplars which he compared to the original
14ransom note?
15A.I would certainly expect that he
16would.
17Q.Was that an advantage?
18A.It is an advantage to have the
19originals. It's not always absolutely necessary,
20but it's always an advantage.
21Q.And did you understand that Chet
22Ubowski also had access to original historical
23writings of Patsy Ramsey?
24A.Yes, and I felt those were very
25important.
0164
1 Q.And did you have access to any of
2 those?
3 A.None other than those that were
4 listed in my report. Not originals.
5 Q.Did you have access to the originals
6 of any historical writings?
7 A.I did not.
8 Q.To the best of your knowledge did
9 Leonard Speckin, Edwin Alford and Richard Dusick
10have access to the original ransom note, to the
11original handwriting exemplars of Patsy Ramsey
12and to the original historical writings of Patsy
13Ramsey?
14A.I don't know. I don't know what
15they had access to. I would imagine that
16Howard Rile had access to the original documents
17and Lloyd Cunningham would have had original
18documents.
19Q.As well.
20A.As well.
21Q.And for Lloyd Cunningham and Howard
22Rile, were those advantages, i.e. the access to
23the original ransom note, historical writings of
24Patsy Ramsey and handwriting exemplars of Patsy
25Ramsey?
0165
1 A.They are advantages.
2 Q.You've read the testimony of Alex
3 Hunter --
4 A.I have.
5 Q.--that is part of Defendant's Exhibit
6 9; have you not?
7 A.Yes.
8 Q.And you understand that from Alex
9 Hunter's perspective, the sum total of the
10handwriting analysis done by the investigation on
11Patsy Ramsey was that she was somewhere at about
12a 4.5 on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being
13elimination.
14A.(Nods head).
15Q.Do you not, sir?
16A.That's what he says.
17Q.Thus, that from Alex Hunter's
18perspective, Patsy Ramsey was not eliminated by
19the experts chosen by the district attorney, but
20she was close to elimination; correct?
21A.That's what he says, yes.
22Q.And from Alex Hunter's perspective,
23you also understood that there were other
24individuals under suspicion who were not
25eliminated; correct?
0166
1 A.That's what I understand, yes.
2 Q.Who were not eliminated as the
3 author of the ransom note.
4 A.I understand that, right.
5 Q.Mr. Epstein, I thought about during
6 our break your desire, seconded by Mr. Hoffman
7 and Mr. Altman, your desire to share with us
8 your theory on how all these other document
9 examiners that we've talked about here got it
10wrong except for you and your co-expert, Cina
11Wong.
12And I'm going to ask you to tell us
13your theory in a minute, but first I want to
14ask you if you were in a Daubert hearing in
15front of our judge, Judge Julie Carnes in this
16case, and if Judge Carnes asked you should she
17permit Cina Wong to give expert opinion
18testimony about the authorship of the Ramsey --
19excuse me, of the ransom note found at the home
20of John and Patsy Ramsey in this case, what
21would you tell her?
22A.I would say that she may well be
23correct in her findings, but that she does not
24meet the standards of a forensic document
25examiner as accepted by the profession.
0167
1 Q.And, therefore, as you understand the
2 Daubert rules, there is no sufficient scientific
3 basis in her qualifications, her training and
4 her credentials, for her to be permitted to
5 testify about the subject of handwriting
6 authenticity; correct?
7 A.If it was strictly interpreted, that
8 would be correct.
9 Q.And the "it" you refer to is
10Daubert.
11A.Yes.
12Q.The Daubert test.
13A.Right.
14Q.It is your view under your
15understanding of the Daubert test, and I know
16you're not an attorney --
17A.I'm not.
18Q.-- but it is your view under your
19understanding of the Daubert test, and given
20your knowledge, your education, your expertise,
21your training and your experience as a
22board-certified document examiner, that Cina Wong
23is not qualified under Daubert to render an
24opinion about authorship of the ransom note at
25issue in this case; correct?
0168
1 A.I would say that's correct.
2 Q.Now, Mr. Epstein, what exactly is
3 your theory about how all these individuals,
4 Chet Ubowski, Leonard Speckin, Edwin Alford,
5 Lloyd Cunningham, Richard Dusick and Howard Rile,
6 got it wrong and you, sir, beginning in the
7 year 2000, almost four years after the murder in
8 this case, and without access to any original
9 handwriting of any party you analyzed, got it
10right?
11 A. Very well. First of all, I'd like
12to say that the field of forensic document
13examination in the United States is a very small
14profession, as you may well have found out,
15especially within the ranks of those people who
16are board-certified and who are the mainstream
17examiners in this country.
18Everyone knows everyone else. There
19are certain document examiners who, because of
20their exposure in the profession, because of the
21work that they do, because of the workshops that
22they may present, are looked upon by other
23examiners as leaders in their field.
24A lot of these examiners are in
25private practice, and they're retained oftentimes
0169
1 by one side or the other. In this particular
2 case I think the fact that Howard Rile and
3 Lloyd Cunningham, who became involved in this
4 case very early on, and who were retained by
5 the Ramsey family, coupled with the fact that
6 Lloyd -- that Howard Rile came out of the
7 Colorado bureau and knew the people in the
8 Colorado bureau, I believe that that connection
9 was very instrumental in the Colorado bureau
10coming to the conclusion that they did, because
11Howard Rile had come to the conclusion that he
12did.
13Lloyd Cunningham works very closely
14with Howard Rile and they were both on this
15case, and then it was a matter of chain of
16events, one document examiner after another
17refusing to go up against someone who they knew,
18someone who was large in the profession, for
19fear that they would be criticized for saying
20something that another examiner -- it's sort of
21like an ethics within the medical community,
22where one doctor protects the other doctor.
23The fact that I think the whole
24scenario may have been completely different if
25Howard Rile had not been one of the first
0170
1 document examiners and who was not in private
2 practice, and if he had not been connected so
3 closely with the Colorado bureau; if it had been
4 a document examiner totally separate and apart;
5 if the document examiner had actually been a
6 document examiner in government service who had
7 nothing to gain by his conclusions, who was on
8 a salary rather than on a large retainer.
9 All of these things influence a
10case, and when it came down to Dusick and it
11came down to Speckin and it came down to
12Alford, by that time a number of well-known
13document examiners had already rendered
14conclusions, and I feel personally that the
15other examiners were simply afraid to state what
16they believed to be the truth, or that they
17simply didn't devote the necessary time.
18This is the kind of case that you
19have to devote a tremendous amount of time and
20effort to. I've spent a lot of my years
21working cases where you don't count the hours,
22you simply count the weeks and you count the
23months and you devote the time that's necessary.
24If a document examiner is working
25this kind of a case and counting the hours,
0171
1 he's going to get to a point where it's going
2 to be too expensive for him to bill, and so
3 he's either not going to do the case in the
4 time that's required or he's going to cut the
5 time short.
6 And I just don't believe that some
7 of these people devoted the necessary amount of
8 time to the case to come up with the correct
9 conclusions, and I think they simply went along
10with what had been previously said because it
11was the most expedient thing to do.
12Q.I want to ask one question,
13Mr. Epstein, and then take a brief recess. And
14the purpose of the recess is to try to wind up
15the questions I want to ask in order to
16conclude our part of this deposition.
17The question I have for you is this:
18Do you know how much time was devoted to the
19formulation of the conclusions of Chet Ubowski?
20A.I do not know, no.
21Q.Same question for Leonard Speckin.
22Do you know how much time was devoted to
23forming his conclusion?
24A.I do not, no.
25Q.Same question with Edwin Alford.
0172
1 A.(Shakes head).
2 Q.Same question, Lloyd Cunningham.
3 A.I think Lloyd Cunningham said he
4 spent 20 hours on the case.
5 Q.That was what Lou Smit said, and
6 that was before Lloyd Cunningham made his Rule
7 26 report.
8 A.Okay.
9 Q.Am I correct?
10A.I'm not sure.
11Q.Do you know how much time Richard
12Dusick or Howard Rile spent arriving at their
13conclusions on this case?
14A.I do not know.
15MR. RAWLS: May we take a brief
16recess?
17THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Off the record at
183:34 p.m.
19(Recess).
20THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're back on the
21record at 3:44 p.m.
22BY MR. RAWLS:
23Q.Mr. Epstein, the answer that you
24have given us about why in your judgment Chet
25Ubowski, Leonard Speckin, Lloyd Cunningham,
0173
1 Richard Dusick and Howard Rile got it wrong,
2 was, in fact, as you had told me earlier, rank
3 speculation; was it not?
4 A.It's -- that's my opinion.
5 Q.And your opinion is based on
6 speculation; is it not?
7 A.My opinion is based on my knowledge
8 of the profession and the people involved.
9 Q.And, in fact, you have no
10information at all about the sequence of the
11analyses done by Chet Ubowski, Leonard Speckin,
12Edwin Alford, Lloyd Cunningham, Richard Dusick
13and Howard Rile; correct?
14A.That's correct.
15Q.To the best of your knowledge, Chet
16Ubowski might have been first.
17A.I would expect that he would have
18been first, as far as the examination is
19concerned.
20Q.And for all you now, Howard Rile
21might have been last; correct?
22A.I don't believe he was last.
23Q.What's your basis for having a
24belief about sequence at all?
25A.I know when Howard Rile came into
0174
1 the case it was early in the case. I mean, I
2 -- it was common knowledge in the profession
3 that he had been retained by the Ramseys early
4 on, so I don't believe he came in last.
5 Q.Do you know whether any of these
6 individuals even had access to Howard Rile's
7 findings, conclusions, reports or analyses when
8 he rendered his finding?
9 A.I don't know that for a fact, no.
10Q.You don't know that Chet Ubowski had
11any access to Howard Rile's findings, do you,
12sir, when he reached his own conclusions?
13A.I don't know any facts to that, no.
14Q.You don't know if Chet Ubowski had
15any access to Lloyd Cunningham's report or
16conclusions when Chet Ubowski reached his
17conclusion; do you, sir?
18A.I don't know that they had any
19access, but they certainly were aware of what
20had been previously done, I mean --
21Q.What been previously done?
22A.I mean, they were aware of the
23people that had been retained on which side at
24the time that they did their examinations. And
25it's -- these people communicate by way of the
0175
1 -- by e-mail on a regular, constant basis, so I
2 don't know how much information passed from one
3 individual to another through e-mails and other
4 ways.
5 Q.If any.
6 A.If any.
7 Q.The fact is you're guessing; are you
8 not, sir?
9 A.I think it's a little bit stronger
10than guessing, but if you want to say that I'm
11guessing, that's fine.
12Q.And as I understand what you've just
13said, you think that Chet Ubowski, Leonard
14Speckin, Edwin Alford and Richard Dusick may
15have been so concerned about the mere retention
16of Howard Rile that they pulled their punches;
17is that your testimony?
18A.No, I didn't say that. You did.
19Q.Do you think that's what happened?
20A.No, I don't think it has anything to
21do with fear that anybody was retained. I
22think it was a sequence of events of what had
23been done previously, and people talk, it's a
24small profession, everyone knows what everyone
25else does in these kinds of cases, and there
0176
1 are certain people who don't have the stomach
2 for going up against someone else if they feel
3 that, you know --
4 Q.Which of these individuals does not
5 have the stomach to go up against Howard Rile?
6 A.I don't -- I'm saying that there are
7 people in the profession who may fear -- it's
8 the same thing, if I attempted to contact
9 individuals after I became involved in this case
10to see whether or not they would be interested
11in doing some pro bono work in this case, and
12I did try to contact some people who I had
13confidence in, and to a person, even though some
14of them were familiar with the case and were
15familiar with the findings in the case, chose
16not to get involved because it's not the kind
17of case everybody wants to be involved in.
18And some people consider that it's
19not worth it. Whether they may agree or not
20agree, that's not the thing that they weigh.
21They weigh how difficult is it going to be on
22me, what am I going to have to go through, am
23I going to have to sit through a deposition for
24eight hours, I don't need that.
25So to a person, the people I
0177
1 contacted who I know can do this work and do
2 it right said that at this point in the case
3 they didn't want to become involved.
4 Q.Did you contact anybody who was
5 comfortable being co-expert with Cina Wong?
6 A.I didn't mention Cina Wong and until
7 I -- as I told you, I didn't know until this
8 morning riding over here that Cina Wong was even
9 involved, and you're trying to push my buttons,
10I realize that.
11Q.Sorry, sir, I have no opportunity to
12push your buttons.
13A.You do know which ones to push.
14Q.I'm only given the right to ask you
15questions.
16A.And I'm here to answer them.
17Q.Thank you. And if you have any
18buttons visible, I'll try to stay away from
19them.
20A.I hope I can keep them concealed.
21Q.You told us earlier that other
22document examiners have come to you to say that
23they believe that Patsy Ramsey authored the
24ransom note; did you not, sir?
25A.I did have some document examiners
0178
1 -- I'm -- if you're going to ask me who they
2 were, I'm not going to mention their names
3 because they did not -- some of them were given
4 access to these documents, and had an
5 opportunity to look at them, and I don't --
6 they didn't want their names mentioned, and I
7 don't think it would be right for me to mention
8 them.
9 But I can tell you that I -- that I
10did contact some people, and that was their
11response. I would prefer to leave it that way.
12I don't think -- if they wanted to come forward
13they would have come forward themselves, and
14it's not up to me to mention who they are.
15 Q. Well, no need for you to mention
16Larry Zieglar, Cina Wong --
17 A. I wouldn't mention Cina Wong.
18 Q. And I don't say that to push a
19button. There's no need to mention David
20Leibman. But apart from those three, are there
21other experts --
22 A. I can tell you that Richard
23Williams, who is an ex retired FBI document
24examiner who I have a lot of respect for and
25who had an opportunity to see the documents
0179
1 because he is also a contract document examiner
2 for the Department of Justice, and at one time
3 we considered -- he considered becoming involved
4 in the case because he, after he had seen the
5 documents he -- and examined them he believed
6 that our findings, my findings and Larry
7 Zieglar's at the time were correct.
8 But there were personal circumstances
9 that came up involving another case in England
10and it's a very large case, and he couldn't
11jeopardize his position in that case because of
12the circumstances of this case, and so he chose
13not to become involved.
14But there are other -- there are
15some other document examiners who also are
16familiar with the documents, who, when I
17contacted them to see if they would be willing
18to take this on on a pro bono basis -- and I
19don't think it was the fact that it was pro
20bono, it was simply the fact that I could tell
21that they simply didn't want to become involved,
22even though they knew that the findings that had
23been previously reached were not correct.
24 Q. What documents did Richard Williams
25have access to?
0180
1 A. Well, he certainly had access to a
2 copy of the ransom note, the copies of the
3 normal course of business writings that we
4 originally received.
5 I'm trying to think if he was still
6 considering involvement at the time that we got
7 the exemplars. I'm pretty sure that -- I'm
8 pretty sure that he may have seen the exemplars.
9 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim, do you need
10anything more definitive than what he knows?
11Because I can tell you either on or off the
12record.
13MR. WOOD: Is Williams the guy you
14withdrew as an expert?
15MR. HOFFMAN: Yeah, uh-huh, I can
16tell you because I actually sent material --
17MR. WOOD: I don't think we need
18anything further.
19MR. HOFFMAN: Oh, okay.
20MR. WOOD: If he's not an expert,
21he's not an expert. He didn't have the stomach
22for it.
23MR. HOFFMAN: Okay. Well, then if
24he's not then I'm just wondering why the
25questioning about what he looked at. If he's
0181
1 not in the case, he's not in, but if he's in
2 in terms of your questions in the deposition, if
3 you really need the answers to that, I can
4 answer them for you.
5 Q.Without the benefit of the exemplars
6 here in late 2001, there's not any expert that
7 can reach a definitive conclusion about
8 authorship of the ransom note; is there, sir?
9 A.That's correct.
10Q.Tell us why you felt the need to
11recruit other questioned document examiners in
12this case for Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Altman and Chris
13Wolf.
14A.I suppose it could be answered
15strength in numbers, I guess. You have five
16people on your side and I'm on this side by
17myself. I think that answers it pretty well.
18Q.By yourself, along with an individual
19whom you'd prefer that I not name again.
20A.An individual who I didn't know was
21part of this until I got here this morning.
22Q.You told us one reason some of these
23individuals you spoke to were concerned about
24coming into the case was that it might become
25too expensive; did you not?
0182
1 A.Well, too expensive for them, but I
2 think it was more than that. I think it was
3 more a desire not to become involved in this
4 case, period.
5 Q.Do you know approximately how many
6 millions of dollars have been spent on this
7 investigation by the people of the State of
8 Colorado?
9 A.I have no idea.
10Q.By the Boulder Police Department?
11A.I would imagine that it's
12considerable.
13Q.By the Colorado Bureau of
14Investigation?
15A.I don't know.
16Q.By the Boulder County District
17Attorney's Office?
18A.Again, don't know.
19Q.By the FBI?
20A.(Shakes head). I don't know. I
21would imagine it would be considerable.
22Q.You're not saying, Mr. Epstein, are
23you, in this case, that Patsy Ramsey murdered
24her daughter?
25A.Absolutely not.
0183
1 Q.You told us earlier that your charge
2 for an eight-hour day is twelve hundred dollars;
3 am I correct?
4 A.Examination time. Deposition and
5 testimony time is sixteen hundred.
6 Q.And I believe that is exactly the
7 fee that Mr. Hoffman quoted to me for your
8 deposition day, and he also quoted to me the
9 amounts of your airfare and hotel expenses.
10I am, therefore, handing you a check
11now for $1,877. Please let me know if that
12does not cover your travel expenses plus your
13$1600 for your deposition today.
14A.Fine, thank you.
15Q.Does that appear to cover it?
16A.It seems to. I think the air are
17was -- round trip was $240 or something like
18that, and I imagine the hotel is being paid for
19directly.
20Q.If there is more that is needed,
21please let us know.
22I've got just another question or
23two, Mr. Epstein.
24Early in the day, in talking about
25your reasons for becoming involved in this case
0184
1 pro bono, and I think that under the
2 circumstances we can consider that now partially
3 pro bono and partially for fee; am I not
4 correct?
5 A.Certain portions of it I have billed
6 for.
7 Q.But your reasons for coming into
8 this case had to do with justice.
9 A.That was my only reason for coming
10into this case.
11Q.And you've told us here, however,
12that you do not accuse Patsy Ramsey of murder.
13A.No. There's no way I could do
14anything like that. I am only involved in the
15handwriting.
16Q.And you also know that Patsy Ramsey
17has never been indicted for murder; do you not,
18sir?
19A.I know that.
20Q.You know that she has never been
21charged for murder; don't you?
22A.I know that also.
23Q.And you know that whatever the
24course of the criminal investigation going on in
25Colorado, this case filed by Chris Wolf is a
0185
1 civil case; do you not?
2 A.I understand that.
3 Q.If Chris Wolf wins this case, you
4 understand he will win money; do you not, sir?
5 A.I imagine that's normally the
6 outcome, yes.
7 Q.And the criminal prosecution will not
8 be affected.
9 A.That, I don't know. I had always
10hoped that perhaps this could lead to -- one
11could lead to the other.
12Q.One could lead to the prosecution of
13whom?
14A.If the evidence is finally recognized
15as being stronger than it was previously
16portrayed to be, then perhaps --
17Q.Prosecution of whom?
18A.I don't know. That would be up to
19the investigation. But I think that the ransom
20note was an extremely important piece of
21evidence.
22Q.And you have no reason to believe
23that the Colorado authorities asked Chris Wolf,
24former reporter, former entertainer, to pursue a
25civil action against John and Patsy Ramsey for
0186
1 libel; do you, sir?
2 A.I know nothing about that.
3 Q.As a matter of fact, you know
4 nothing about what was said in the Ramseys' book
5 about Chris Wolf, do you, sir?
6 A.I have not read the Ramseys' book.
7 Q.And whatever was said by the Ramseys
8 about Chris Wolf, you don't have any information
9 about whether it was true or false; do you,
10sir?
11A.I do not, no. I haven't read the
12book.
13Q.Nor do you have any information
14about the reputation of Chris Wolf; do you, sir?
15A.I know nothing about Chris Wolf
16either.
17Q.But you'll agree with me, will you
18not, sir, that for anyone to use the media to
19attack Patsy Ramsey, to call her a murderer when
20she has been unindicted by the responsible
21authorities is unfair, unseemly, improper and
22unjust; would you not?
23A.I think that's obviously the logical
24thing is that you, you know, a person is always
25innocent until they're proven guilty, and I
0187
1 believe that very strongly. But I also believe
2 that evidence, if it's there, it should be used.
3 Q.It should be used in a court of
4 law; should it not?
5 A.In a court of law, absolutely.
6 Q.It should be used in a grand jury;
7 should it not?
8 A.Absolutely.
9 Q.Not in the media.
10A.Not in -- I'm -- I've never believed
11in trying a case in the media. I don't like
12the media. I try to stay away as far as I
13can from the media.
14Q.In fact, were you unhappy when
15Darnay Hoffman on Court TV used your name to
16accuse Patsy Ramsey of murder?
17A.I had not seen that, but somebody
18had told me about that, and I would have
19preferred it go a different way.
20Q.Were you unhappy when your name was
21used to the National Enquirer with an accusation
22that Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom note?
23A.I was.
24Q.And are you unhappy, Mr. Epstein,
25that the only co-expert recruited by Chris Wolf
0188
1 in this case as a result of all the efforts of
2 Darnay Hoffman, all the efforts of Evan Altman
3 and all the efforts of yourself on the question
4 of handwriting is Cina Wong?
5 A.I'm very disappointed in my
6 profession right now over this whole case, and
7 that's why I'm here.
8 MR. RAWLS: Darnay, my part of
9 today's examination is concluded.
10You have earlier told us that you
11would like to ask some questions. I want to
12make sure you and I are in accord; that you
13have a perfect right to ask questions by way of
14clarification or correction of previous answers,
15but because I have paid for the witness' day,
16you have no right to use the time I have paid
17for for any direct examination of this witness
18to support any motion or any position on any
19motion that may be filed in this case.
20Do we agree?
21MR. HOFFMAN: Well, I don't know
22what you mean by that. Obviously if you attach
23his deposition to a summary judgment motion I'm
24going to use whatever is -- I'm going to use
25the complete transcript of this.
0189
1 However, I'm certainly going to treat
2 this as cross-examination with respect to his
3 testimony having been a direct examination, and
4 I will certainly not try to go outside the
5 bounds, so I'm not going to open up areas that
6 you haven't already previously discussed.
7 MR. WOOD: You're going to treat
8 your examination as cross-examination, Darnay?
9 MR. HOFFMAN: No, I'm going to treat
10my examination as if it were a cross-examination
11in the sense that -- or I guess that's the
12best way, for the purposes of just simply
13limiting my questioning to all those areas that
14were brought in your testimony as if yours have
15been -- your questioning, as if yours has been
16a direct examination. So I'm following that
17rule.
18MR. WOOD: What rule is that? We
19just took the discovery deposition of your
20expert witness on cross-examination.
21MR. HOFFMAN: Come on, Lin, stop
22trying to be a wise guy.
23MR. WOOD: Now, I'm not trying to
24-- you don't have the right --
25MR. HOFFMAN: Stop trying to be a
0190
1 wise guy, Lin, which is what you're doing right
2 now.
3 MR. WOOD: You do not have the --
4 MR. HOFFMAN: I'm just analogizing.
5 I'm treating it as if it were a direct
6 examination for the purposes of trying to make
7 this analogy understandable, and, very simply, I
8 will not go outside the bounds of what was
9 asked at this deposition as if it had been a
10direct examination at trial.
11MR. ALTMAN: I think we're on the
12same page on that.
13MR. HOFFMAN: That's a pretty simple
14concept.
15MR. WOOD: I thought the question
16was whether -- don't you agree you don't have
17the right to conduct a direct examination on our
18dollar.
19MR. HOFFMAN: Absolutely not. All I
20want to do is just simply allow him to answer
21a few of the questions that he might not have
22been allowed to answer more fully that were
23asked on your, you know, on your dime, so to
24speak.
25MR. WOOD: So you do agree that you
0191
1 do not have the right to do a direct
2 examination on our dime.
3 MR. HOFFMAN: Well, no, no. I
4 don't agree that there's any law or authority to
5 that effect so to that degree I don't agree
6 that you have a legal right to make that as a
7 requirement.
8 However, as far as to just simply
9 what I'm going to do is I'm certainly not going
10to try and take advantage of the situation.
11You certainly could have gone the full seven
12hours. I appreciate the fact that you're
13extending my witness the courtesy of letting him
14leave so he can catch his flight and also
15shorten your examination to give me a little
16time to what I hope will be a legitimate
17attempt to try and just let him augment some of
18the answers that he had given in response to
19your earlier questioning.
20But you have no legal authority, in
21my opinion, to limit it, and in that degree I
22don't agree with you. However I'm telling you
23that I will simply abide by our gentleman's
24agreement that we're making right here that I
25will limit it only to those areas that were
0192
1 gone into when you questioned him originally.
2 MR. WOOD: I haven't made any
3 agreement with you today. I don't think Jim
4 Rawls has made any agreement with you today.
5 MR. ALTMAN: Why don't we do this?
6 Why don't we proceed forward, and if you have
7 an objection, state your objection as we go.
8 MR. RAWLS: Let me -- Darnay, I
9 don't know if we're together. I understand what
10I said to you, I'm not sure I understand your
11intentions.
12But rather than your explaining them
13to me, let me say we will object if you
14attempt to use any part of today's deposition,
15all of which we've paid for, none of which
16you've paid for, nor, as I understand the
17witness' testimony, are you ever going to pay
18for.
19So if you attempt to use any part
20of this in a way that I consider the subject
21of a direct examination designed to get any
22opinions of this witness into evidence in the
23case, we will not only object, but we're late
24in the afternoon on a Friday, we'll need to
25call Judge Carnes about that.
0193
1 MR. HOFFMAN: You know what normally
2 happens in depositions?
3 MR. WOOD: Darnay, we don't need to
4 hear that. I've been taking depositions for 25
5 years. You haven't taken depositions -- I bet
6 you haven't taken five depositions in your whole
7 life.
8 MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, Lin, given the
9 fact that you've never tried a libel case in
10front of a jury --
11MR. WOOD: Darnay Hoffman, let me
12tell you something -- Darnay, you've never --
13the only case you ever tried you got hit for
14$45 million when Bernie Getz was found guilty
15for a crime he walked from in a criminal case.
16Listen, I have tried cases for 25
17years. I've tried more cases than you could
18count in your sleep, big boy.
19MR. HOFFMAN: -- your first libel
20case, okay.
21MR. WOOD: Darnay, I don't have to
22try a libel case to know how to try a case,
23but after listening to Fleet White's deposition
24it was obvious to me that you don't know how
25to take a deposition.
0194
1 MR. HOFFMAN: That's okay.
2 MR. WOOD: Why don't you tell us
3 how many depositions you've taken in your
4 illustrious career?
5 MR. HOFFMAN: I've taken plenty.
6 MR. WOOD: I bet you haven't taken
7 25.
8 MR. HOFFMAN: Can I tell you
9 something? I'm the only --
10MR. WOOD: I've tried more cases
11than you've taken depositions. So don't lecture
12me.
13MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, I'm the only man
14on the planet that's taken Patsy Ramsey's
15deposition, and plenty have tried, so don't --
16MR. WOOD: Let me tell you
17something, and it was a joke. You didn't know
18what you were doing.
19MR. HOFFMAN: I hope that's what you
20believe because I hope you prepare your trial
21case accordingly, underestimating me.
22MR. WOOD: You're not going to see
23a trial in this case. You're going to get
24booted on summary judgment just like you got
25booted out in Linda Hoffman Pugh's criminal
0195
1 case.
2 MR. HOFFMAN: Sorry, you're wrong.
3 I'm sorry, you're wrong. When you went --
4 MR. WOOD: I'm sure you're 100
5 percent certain like this guy sitting across the
6 table is.
7 MR. HOFFMAN: If I was supposed to
8 be out of here, I would have been out on that
9 motion to dismiss, but you guys --
10MR. WOOD: You got by that motion
11to dismiss by the thinnest of threads, only
12because you were willing to plead anything,
13despite the fact that you can't prove it.
14MR. HOFFMAN: And the judge paid me
15the complement of actually quoting extensively
16from my brief.
17MR. WOOD: I don't think the judge
18paid you any complements.
19MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, I'm here, and all
20I can tell you --
21MR. WOOD: You're here and you
22haven't even bought the deposition --
23MR. HOFFMAN: And you guys couldn't
24do what 95 percent of the lawyers in
25America --
0196
1 MR. WOOD: You're so proud of Patsy
2 Ramsey's deposition, you haven't even bothered to
3 pay for it. You haven't even paid the court
4 reporter for taking it down yet.
5 MR. HOFFMAN: Come on, who cares --
6 MR. WOOD: You haven't even paid the
7 court reporter for taking down Patsy Ramsey's
8 deposition.
9 MR. HOFFMAN: All right, so what?
10MR. WOOD: You never got a copy of
11it. I thought you were proud of it.
12MR. HOFFMAN: So what's your
13problem?
14MR. WOOD: You don't have the money
15to pay for it. It's a frivolous lawsuit filed
16by a frivolous lawyer and you don't even have
17the money to pay to come down and sit with
18your own deposition witness. You never even met
19your own client.
20MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, Lin, don't talk
21to me about frivolity and the fact that I had
22to go to an expert because your daughter had a
23horse show that you had to attend and you
24couldn't be a real lawyer over a weekend, you
25actually had to twist everything into God knows
0197
1 what in order to be able to --
2 MR. WOOD: I just wanted to make
3 damned sure that I would be there in Nebraska
4 to shred Robert Stratbucker.
5 MR. HOFFMAN: -- your family
6 outings --
7 MR. WOOD: I'm going to eat him
8 alive. Be there. Be there, okay. Guess
9 what? I'm going to be at my daughter's horse
10show and I'm also going to be in Omaha,
11Nebraska to rip Stratbucker a new rear end, and
12I bet you what, you aren't going to be there.
13You ain't going to bother to be
14there, neither is Evan Altman, because you don't
15have the money and you're not willing to spend
16the money on this frivolous case. You got
17that? I'll see you in Omaha. Are you going
18to be there or are you going to show up by
19telephone?
20MR. HOFFMAN: How can I not miss
21this invitation to be in Omaha? Okay?
22MR. WOOD: You be there. You be
23there. I bet you a thousand dollars you won't
24be there. Want to bet?
25MR. HOFFMAN: Lin --
0198
1 MR. WOOD: Because you're afraid to
2 fly.
3 MR. HOFFMAN: -- I would never,
4 never bet you, you know better than that.
5 MR. WOOD: You're afraid to fly;
6 aren't you? That's what you told Susan Bennett
7 -- Jamison.
8 MR. HOFFMAN: I liked the AirTran to
9 Atlanta, I told you that when I got there.
10MR. WOOD: It looked like you were
11scared to death.
12MR. HOFFMAN: Only of you, Lin.
13You frighten me.
14MR. WOOD: Well, that may be the
15only smart damned thing you've said since I laid
16eyes on you the first time. All right, I've
17vented enough.
18All I'm saying is this: I don't
19intend to sit here and listen to you lecture me
20one damned second about how to take a
21deposition. I know more about taking
22depositions on the thumbnail of my right thumb
23than you'll ever learn in your damn life. Do
24we understand each other?
25MR. HOFFMAN: Lin, I'll just have to
0199
1 take your word on that one.
2 MR. WOOD: You can take the word of
3 anybody that's ever had the opportunity to go up
4 against me in a courtroom. I'll talk to people
5 you've -- if we can find somebody.
6 MR. HOFFMAN: Lin, this sounds like
7 rank speculation on your part. Just drop it.
8 MR. WOOD: Let me tell you
9 something, if I am lucky enough, you will have
10your day with me, sir.
11MR. HOFFMAN: Oh, I hope so, and I
12hope --
13MR. WOOD: And it will be the
14pleasure of my career when I take you down, and
15that day may yet come because you still run
16your mouth to the media so much that you're
17going to get yourself sued eventually, you're
18going to get your experts sued eventually, so
19you just keep the business coming, Darnay. It's
20really good for my pocketbook. I'm taking a
21recess.
22MR. HOFFMAN: I know in this case
23that the Ramseys aren't paying a penny, the
24insurance company is paying you finally, okay,
25which is nice --
0200
1 MR. WOOD: Hey, I made more money
2 handling the Ramsey case than you've made in
3 your whole damn career practicing law, Darnay.
4 MR. HOFFMAN: -- instead of settling
5 for chump change, which you've done in all these
6 other cases, you're actually getting paid a
7 decent --
8 MR. WOOD: I've made more money in
9 the Ramsey case than you've made in your entire
10career as a lawyer, you want to bet on that?
11MR. HOFFMAN: You mean you've made
12more than a hundred dollars?
13MR. WOOD: Yes, I have made for
14than a hundred dollars, Darnay.
15MR. HOFFMAN: -- in this case.
16Well, good.
17MR. WOOD: I'd just like to know
18the poor person that paid you the hundred
19dollars. Maybe we'd have a good legal
20malpractice claim.
21MR. HOFFMAN: All right. Are we
22ready?
23MR. RAWLS: Do we want to take a
24short recess?
25MR. ALTMAN: Maybe we ought to.
0201
1 MR. HOFFMAN: Jim, if you'd like to,
2 that's fine.
3 Jim, just one thing I just want to
4 say. If at any point during my questioning or
5 whatever I'm in an area that you feel is
6 inappropriate, just simply tell me and I'll move
7 on.
8 MR. RAWLS: I guarantee you I will
9 do that.
10MR. HOFFMAN: I appreciate the
11courtesy you're extending me. And if there
12becomes an issue as to how this is used in
13court or whatever, just simply raise the
14objection with the judge and that will certainly
15settle the issue too, okay? We'll leave it
16like that.
17MR. RAWLS: Indeed, for now we will,
18and let's have a brief recess.
19MR. HOFFMAN: Thank you.
20THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Off the record at
214:16 p.m.
22(Recess).
23THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're on the
24record, 4:21 p.m.
25//
0202
1 EXAMINATION
2 BY-MR.HOFFMAN:
3 Q. Okay, Mr. Epstein, there is an area
4 in handwriting which is probably considered one
5 of the most important areas, which states this
6 proposition, that even though you may find
7 similarities, maybe even significant similarities
8 between a questioned document and known documents
9 of a particular author, that there can be
10significant differences between the writings to
11thereby allow the elimination of the author in
12question.
13Did you find that to be true in
14this particular case when you looked at the
15handwriting exemplars of Patsy Ramsey and the
16ransom note?
17MR. RAWLS: Darnay, I'll note an
18objection as to form, and I do think this is
19exactly what you are not entitled to do.
20MR. HOFFMAN: Then I won't. You
21asked earlier about the differences and the
22distinction. Then I won't go into it if this
23is an area that you think he is not called
24for, in terms of your other area.
25Can I ask him this question: With
0203
1 respect to when you look at handwriting and you
2 look for what you'd call significant characters
3 or connections or whatever, do you look for any
4 particular number of similarities to have any
5 confidence in your conclusions?
6 MR. RAWLS: That too, Darnay, in my
7 view, is the conduct of a direct examination,
8 and I don't think it's appropriate.
9 MR. HOFFMAN: Okay, because in
10answering a question of yours he had actually
11used the term significant characteristics or
12whatever, okay? All right, let me go into this
13area.
14 BY MR. HOFFMAN:
15 Q. You were asked about the element of
16stress versus disguise in terms of poor quality
17handwriting, I think you were asked very early
18on in that, and I want to ask you if you drew
19any conclusion with respect to whether or not
20Patsy -- the ransom note writer, I should say
21this, showed any stress in their writing.
22MR. RAWLS: And I must agree, this
23is a question of clarification of something I
24asked, and I have no objection to that question.
25MR. HOFFMAN: Okay, very good.
0204
1 A.And in answer to that question, I
2 never totally excluded the possibility that
3 stress was a part of what line quality was
4 composed of, because I don't know that any two
5 people under stress would react in the same way
6 to where you could say that you are totally --
7 can be totally familiar with how a person's line
8 quality will look when under stress.
9 But I felt that the elements of
10disguise were much more prominent and were more
11consistent with those elements of disguise that
12are normally identified to where that was the
13prominent reason for the line quality being as
14it was.
15Q.I think that when you talked about
16disguise you talked about it in explaining the
17poor line quality that you noted in the
18handwriting; is that true?
19A.Yes, that's right. And actually,
20even in the exemplars, in the exemplars that are
21given by Patsy Ramsey, those exemplars are not
22written as rapidly and as smoothly as she would
23normally write in her normal course of business.
24Is that intentional? It may well be
25somewhat intentional, because she is certainly
0205
1 conscious of the exemplar writing phase and she
2 may still be attempting to alter some of the
3 habits that she knows she does, but on the
4 other hand it could also be the element of
5 stress that's injected at that time when someone
6 is being asked to provide handwriting samples in
7 a situation such as this.
8 The point is the handwriting in the
9 exemplars is not as naturally and freely and --
10freely executed as a normal course of business
11writing that she would have done.
12MR. RAWLS: I'll object to the
13responsiveness of the answer after the words,
14"Yes, that's right."
15MR. HOFFMAN: Okay.
16Q.Now, with respect to today's
17deposition or whatever, you haven't been asked
18to show any of your exhibits; is that correct?
19A.That's correct.
20Q.Okay. Have you attended many
21depositions in the past?
22A.I attended one just last week, and
23over the years I've attended a number of them,
24yes.
25Q.In all of those depositions that you
0206
1 remember, were you asked to show your charts and
2 comment on them?
3 A.I was asked to certainly show what I
4 was going to testify to and to illustrate and
5 actually provide copies of what those
6 illustrations would be, yes.
7 Q.And were you actually questioned at
8 that time about your charts and asked to
9 actually give demonstrations with them?
10A.I was asked to illustrate what it
11was that I would demonstrated it at the time of
12testimony.
13Q.Using your charts?
14A.That's correct.
15Q.But you weren't asked that today;
16were you?
17A.I was not.
18Q.Is this the first time this has ever
19happened?
20A.To the best of my recollection, it's
21an unusual situation. If it has happened
22before, I don't recall it.
23Q.All right. And are you aware that
24on Monday Cina testified for seven hours and was
25not asked to demonstrate any of her charts?
0207
1 A.The whole thing about Cina is a
2 total surprise to me.
3 Q.Okay. But would you be surprised to
4 hear that Cina was not asked to demonstrate any
5 of her charts at that deposition?
6 A.No, I wasn't aware of that.
7 Q.Okay. Now, with respect to a
8 concept called blow smoke, is that a term of
9 art that you've actually heard in the
10handwriting profession?
11A.It's often used in the handwriting
12profession when a document examiner comes into a
13case simply to cast doubt or dispersions on a
14particular finding, primarily to inject out into
15the minds of the jury or to attempt to add
16some sort of confusion to the case, without
17specifically saying that the previous examiner
18was wrong, in other words, they simply say there
19wasn't enough evidence or the evidence was not
20comparable, that kind of thing. So they -- the
21term blowing smoke comes from that particular
22type of testimony, if you will.
23MR. RAWLS: Darnay, I can understand
24your thoughtful questions to the witness about
25my not having asked him to go over his own
0208
1 exhibits, his own charts, and the same of Cina
2 Wong. I know you're trying to help me learn
3 how to become a cross-examining counsel.
4 But I must say that I find no
5 purpose at all in the deposition record today in
6 the questions that I asked this witness for any
7 concept about blowing smoke.
8 I had that reaction to your
9 question, and that reaction is even more
10profound having listened to the answer.
11MR. HOFFMAN: Well, look, I'll tell
12you what my followup question is to that,
13because that sets up -- lays the foundation for
14the next question, which is -- and if you don't
15want him to go into this area we'll just talk
16about it.
17BY MR. HOFFMAN:
18Q.Did you find any examples of blowing
19smoke in either the report of Howard Rile or
20Lloyd Cunningham.
21MR. RAWLS: I object to this as
22having no basis whatsoever in anything covered
23today; as being a blatant effort to attempt to
24take this deposition, for all of which we have
25paid for, for none of which you have paid for,
0209
1 and to turn it into a piece of direct evidence
2 to use to attempt to impeach our two experts.
3 And, Darnay, with respect to our two
4 experts, not only have you failed to show them
5 any exhibits, including yours or their own, but
6 you've told us you don't even plan to take
7 their deposition testimony. So if you want to
8 impeach them, I suggest that you reconsider, and
9 you try to do that with the use of their own
10testimony.
11MR. HOFFMAN: Well, I would have
12said the same thing with Cina Wong, but
13apparently you wanted to use the deposition
14testimony of Gideon to impeach her yourself, so
15I think --
16MR. RAWLS: Well, and I had a lot
17of trouble with that as well.
18MR. WOOD: Took awhile for him to
19get there; didn't it?
20MR. RAWLS: But, Darnay, I remind
21you, I paid for the time of this witness, and
22I asked questions that were proper. If I had
23not, you would have objected to them. So I do
24object to this line that you're now pursuing.
25MR. HOFFMAN: Okay, well, then I
0210
1 won't continue in that line, all right? I'm
2 going to ask Gideon another question with
3 respect to the -- some of the earlier experts
4 that you were asked to comment on.
5 BY MR. HOFFMAN:
6 Q.You were asked to comment on Cina
7 Wong and her qualifications, and from what I
8 understand you do not believe she's a qualified
9 document examiner within your understanding of
10that term used in your field; is that correct?
11A.Within the requirements that the
12profession has laid down.
13Q.Do you feel her conclusions were
14wrong with respect to her identifying Patsy
15Ramsey as the ransom note writer?
16A.No, I don't believe that her
17conclusions were wrong. But, you know, this is
18something that we certainly discussed earlier,
19and, you know, how a person reaches those
20conclusions and how they support those
21conclusions is just as important as the
22conclusions themselves.
23Q.Okay. Now, with respect to David
24Leibman, I think you were also asked about David
25Leibman's professional credentials and I believe
0211
1 you also said that you didn't feel that he met
2 the credentials that you believe the profession
3 has established; is that correct?
4 A.That's correct.
5 Q.But do you feel that David Leibman
6 arrived at the wrong conclusion when he
7 concluded that Patsy Ramsey was, in fact, the
8 ransom note writer?
9 A.No, I don't believe he reached the
10wrong conclusion.
11Q.Were you aware of a report by a
12Donald Lacy that was attached as an exhibit, I
13believe, to the complaint?
14MR. RAWLS: Darnay, I don't believe
15the name Donald Lacy came up today before now.
16MR. HOFFMAN: I wasn't sure whether
17it had or hadn't, because I know that you had
18talked about the other handwriting experts in
19the case and I wasn't sure whether I had heard
20his name or not. If you didn't mention his
21name then I won't continue along those lines.
22MR. WOOD: Lacy's one of the
23graphologists?
24MR. HOFFMAN: Well, he likes to
25think of himself as a questioned document
0212
1 examiner, but you know how people are with that.
2 BY MR. HOFFMAN:
3 Q.I'll just ask for some clarification.
4 You were asked very specifically toward the end
5 of your deposition examination here about some
6 of the professionals that you had contacted
7 regarding their involvement in the case. Do you
8 remember that?
9 A.Yes, I do.
10Q.Do you remember you were asked to
11name some of them, and one of which you named
12was Dick Williams or Richard Williams?
13A.Yes, that's correct.
14Q.Okay, now, I wasn't clear what it
15was that you were saying. Did you say that
16Richard Williams had actually reached a
17conclusion in this case?
18A.Richard Williams at one time was
19willing to come into the case because he
20believed that the conclusions that we had
21reached were the correct conclusions.
22Q.Which was?
23A.That the ransom note was written by
24Patsy Ramsey.
25Q.And that is the same conclusion that
0213
1 Larry Zieglar had reached; is that correct?
2 A.That's the same conclusion that Larry
3 Zieglar had reached, that's correct.
4 Q.Let's see. I think I'm coming to
5 the end of my list here.
6 Oh, okay, you were also asked about
7 the district attorney's office and how hard this
8 type of decision making could be, and I believe
9 you were asked also whether or not they had
10been wise in availing themselves of questioned
11document examiners.
12Were you surprised that you never
13heard anything from the district attorney's
14office after you had contacted them with your
15credentials and your letter offering to help
16them pro bono?
17A.I wasn't really that surprised,
18because so many crackpots have come out of the
19woodwork in this case that I assume that they
20just considered me another one of them, and
21maybe if I had been one of the district
22attorneys and been exposed to what they had been
23exposed to I may have taken the same action.
24But I would have liked to have heard from them,
25but I wasn't totally surprised that I didn't.
0214
1 Q. See, I haven't seen your letter.
2 Was there anything in your letter indicating
3 that you were actually, in fact, something other
4 than a crackpot, like a qualified document
5 examiner?
6 A. I attached my CV, but that doesn't
7 mean that it was read.
8 MR. WOOD: Did he say anything in
9 the letter about being hired by you?
10MR. HOFFMAN: Case closed there.
11MR. WOOD: You're right about that.
12MR. HOFFMAN: Okay, gentlemen, I've
13had my fun, so to speak, and I've finished the
14questioning of Mr. Epstein.
15Jim, if you have any other
16questions, please, at this point.
17MR. RAWLS: Thank you for that
18invitation, Darnay. We're completed.
19MR. HOFFMAN: Great.
20MR. ALTMAN: Darnay, could we have
21about two minutes?
22MR. HOFFMAN: Sure.
23THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Off the record at
244:35 p.m.
25(Recess).
0215
1 MR. HOFFMAN: I've had an
2 opportunity to talk with Evan and with Gideon.
3 We're finished as far as our questioning is
4 concerned, so unless you have other questions
5 we're prepared to end the deposition whenever
6 you are.
7 MR. RAWLS: Well, I just want to
8 know, the conversation you just had with Evan
9 and with Mr. Epstein, was that on my nickel?
10MR. HOFFMAN: I hope not.
11MR. ALTMAN: It certainly wasn't
12being recorded.
13MR. RAWLS: Well, I move to strike
14it.
15I think we're all done. Thank you,
16let's go off the record.
17(WHEREUPON, the deposition was
18concluded.)
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
0216
1 STATE OF GEORGIA:
2 COUNTY OF FULTON:
3 I hereby certify that the foregoing
4 transcript was reported, as stated in the
5 caption, and the questions and answers
6 thereto were reduced to typewriting under my
7 direction; that the foregoing pages represent
8 a true, complete, and correct transcript of
9 the evidence given upon said hearing, and I
10further certify that I am not of kin or
11counsel to the parties in the case; am not
12in the employ of counsel for any of said
13parties; nor am I in anywise interested in
14the result of said case.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
0217
1 Disclosure Pursuant to Article
2 8(B) of the Rules and Regulations of the
3 Board of Court Reporting of the Judicial
4 Council of Georgia, I make the following
5 disclosure:
6 I am a Georgia Certified Court
7 Reporter, here as a representative of
8 Alexander Gallo & Associates, Inc., to report
9 the foregoing matter. Alexander Gallo &
10Associates, Inc., is not taking this
11deposition under any contract that is
12prohibited by O.C.G.A. 5-14-37 (a) and (b).
13 Alexander Gallo & Associates,
14Inc., will be charging its usual and
15customary rates for this transcript.
16.
17.
18
19 VALERIE N. ALMAND, CCR-B-531
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
0218
1 CAPTION
2 The Deposition of Gideon Epstein,
3 taken in the matter, on the date, and at the
4 time and place set out on the title page
5 hereof.
6 It was requested that the deposition
7 be taken by the reporter and that same be
8 reduced to typewritten form.
9 It was agreed by and between counsel
10and the parties that the Deponent will read
11and sign the transcript of said deposition.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
0219
1 CERTIFICATE
2 STATE OF :
3 COUNTY/CITY OF :
4 Before me, this day, personally
5 appeared, Gideon Epstein, who, being duly
6 sworn, states that the foregoing transcript
7 of his/her Deposition, taken in the matter,
8 on the date, and at the time and place set
9 out on the title page hereof, constitutes a
10true and accurate transcript of said
11deposition.
12
13 Gideon Epstein
14.
15 SUBSCRIBED and SWORN to before me this
16 day of , 2002 in the
17jurisdiction aforesaid.
18
19My Commission Expires Notary Public
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
0220
1 DEPOSITION ERRATA SHEET
2 .
3 RE: Alexander Gallo & Associates
4 File No. 1637
5 Case Caption: Robert Christian Wolf vs.
6 John and Patricia Ramsey
7 Deponent: Gideon Epstein
8 Deposition Date: May 17, 2002
9 .
10To the Reporter:
11I have read the entire transcript of my
12Deposition taken in the captioned matter or
13the same has been read to me. I request
14that the following changes be entered upon
15the record for the reasons indicated. I
16have signed my name to the Errata Sheet and
17the appropriate Certificate and authorize you
18to attach both to the original transcript.
19.
20Page No. Line No. Change to:
21
22Reason for change:
23Page No. Line No. Change to:
24
25Reason for change:
0221
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3 Reason for change:
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5
6 Reason for change:
7 Page No. Line No. Change to:
8
9 Reason for change:
10Deposition of Gideon Epstein
11.
12Page No. Line No. Change to:
13
14Reason for change:
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16
17Reason for change:
18Page No. Line No. Change to:
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20Reason for change:
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22
23Reason for change:
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25
0222
1 Reason for change:
2 Page No. Line No. Change to:
3
4 Reason for change:
5 .
6 .
7 SIGNATURE:_______________________DATE:___________
8 Gideon Epstein
9 .