Interviewing Beauprez, Boyles asserted that suspect was "heroin dealer" who "molest[ed] a child"; compared Beauprez source to Ellsberg, Woodward and Bernstein

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

During an interview with Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, radio host Peter Boyles repeated the Beauprez campaign's claims that a man who received a plea bargain from opponent Bill Ritter was a "heroin dealer" who later "molest[ed] a kid" in California. But prosecutors apparently did not establish that the man was a heroin "dealer," and news reports have not stated that he was convicted of child molestation.

During an interview with Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez on the October 20 broadcast of KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show, host Peter Boyles repeated claims -- made by the Beauprez campaign -- that an illegal immigrant identified as Carlos Estrada Medina who was plea-bargained by former Denver district attorney Bill Ritter's office was a "heroin dealer" who later "molest[ed] a kid" in California. However, CBS4 and 9News have reported that, according to the Denver district attorney's office, prosecutors could not establish that the man pictured in the anti-Ritter ad sponsored by the Beauprez campaign was, in fact, a heroin "dealer." Furthermore, neither the ad nor subsequent media coverage of the investigation of how Beauprez obtained the information used in the ad have said that Medina was convicted of child molestation. Most reports have noted only that the suspect was "arrested" in California for sexual assault or battery on a minor. And CBS4 reported that he "was charged with sexual battery of a minor, and plea-bargained to misdemeanor battery."

The suspect in the Denver heroin charges was arrested under the name Walter Ramo. The suspect in the California case was arrested under the name Eugene Estrada. Relying on information from what it called a "proprietary" source, the Beauprez campaign asserted in defending its anti-Ritter ad, titled "Case File," that Medina, Ramo, and Estrada are the same person.

Beauprez called Boyles's show to respond to a criminal investigation into how his campaign obtained information allegedly linking the three names. The Denver Post reported October 20 that sources close to the joint Colorado Bureau of Investigation and FBI inquiry confirmed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent Cory Voorhis used a restricted federal database to access information used in the Beauprez ad.

In his interview with Beauprez, Boyles compared Beauprez's source of the information for the ad to Daniel Ellsberg -- who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the media in 1971 -- and Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who broke the Watergate scandal:

BOYLES: We went through the Pentagon Papers, I was talking about Daniel Ellsberg, we were talking about the entire Watergate scenario -- there's a new book out called "In the Shadow of Watergate" about Bernstein and Wood -- Woodward and Bernstein, they called them Woodstein, and that's a great -- we go through this all the time. They're heroes, they're protected. Now, we have this guy, who was in essence blowing the whistle on Ritter.

While discussing the criminal investigation surrounding the Beauprez ad, Boyles asserted the man identified as Carlos Estrada Medina is a "heroin dealer" who, after receiving a felony agricultural trespass plea bargain from Ritter's office, "molest[ed] a kid" in California. Beauprez responded, "Medina -- yeah, he molests a minor," adding, "Sexually molests a minor":

BOYLES: All right, so this guy Carlos Estrada Medina is a heroin dealer, an illegal, and he gets the ever-popular criminal -- excuse me, agricultural trespass. By the way, where's a farm in Denver?

BEAUPREZ: (laughter) We're driving the streets of Denver as we speak and trying to find one, Pete.

BOYLES: All right, and then he becomes Walter Noel Ramo. And does he molest a kid in the West Coast?

BEAUPREZ: Other way around, he was Ramo in Denver --

BOYLES: Right, Ramo in Denver, I'm sorry.

BEAUPREZ: And Medina -- yeah, he molests a minor.

BOYLES: All right.

BEAUPREZ: Sexually molests a minor.

But as Colorado Media Matters previously noted, CBS4 and 9News have cast doubt on whether the man to whom Boyles and Beauprez referred was, in fact, a "heroin dealer."

The written version of an October 11 KUSA 9News "Truth Test" analysis of the anti-Ritter ad stated, "Denver District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said the only witness to Ramo's alleged heroin dealing was the driver of the car he was arrested with. Ramo had no drugs in his possession when he was arrested and the heroin was found in the floorboard of the driver's car. Criminal background checks on the driver revealed a prior felony conviction for drug dealing."

Similarly, the written version of CBS4's "Reality Check" from October 12 reported that "Kimbrough said the case [against Ramo] had evidence problems." CBS4 further reported:

What kind of problems? Before police arrested Ramo in 2001, he was spotted getting out of a car. Police arrested the driver of that car, and found him with drugs. The driver said he bought the drugs from Ramo. When police caught up with Ramo, they found he had no drugs, and no criminal record in Colorado. But the driver who told police about Ramo did have a criminal record. So prosecutors found themselves wondering who to believe.

Moreover, neither the attack ad from the Beauprez campaign nor subsequent media coverage of the investigation of how Beauprez obtained the information used in the ad has said that Medina was convicted of child molestation or any other sex crime.

The ad states that Medina was "arrested again for the sexual abuse of a minor" in California. The ad does not claim that the man identified as Medina was convicted of "sexual abuse of a minor" or of child molestation.

In his October 12 CBS4 "Reality Check" analysis, Chohan reported that, according to the San Francisco County District Attorney's Office, "There was an arrest in San Francisco. The suspect, who used the name Eugene Estrada, was charged with sexual battery of a minor, and plea bargained to misdemeanor battery in 2003."

Similarly, the Rocky Mountain News reported October 14 that "The ad also blasts Ritter for 'bad judgment' claiming that Ramo -- who received 63 days in jail and a suspended two-year prison term -- was later arrested in San Francisco under the name 'Eugene Alfredo Estrada-Acosta' for lewd and lascivious acts with a child, a knife violation and sexually battery of a 'medically institutionalized person.' He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery in 2003."

Other recent newspaper coverage of the investigation of the Beauprez campaign has reported only that Medina was arrested for suspected sexual abuse of a minor, not that he was convicted. The Denver Post reported October 19 that the anti-Ritter ad "says Ritter plea-bargained a case against illegal immigrant and alleged heroin dealer Carlos Estrada Medina, who was given probation and later arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse on a child." An October 17 Rocky Mountain News article also reported that "Medina may have been arrested later in California for sexual abuse of a minor, under the name Eugene Alfredo Estrada-Acosta."

In addition to Boyles's misleading characterization of the Medina case, the Rocky Mountain News on October 20 uncritically reported the comments of Beauprez campaign manager John Marshall, who claimed that the man identified as Medina in the ad was a "heroin trafficker." Despite CBS4 and 9News' previous reporting that casts doubt on Marshall's claim, the News uncritically quoted Marshall as saying, "Bill Ritter is very worried about the specter of having to explain to voters why he put a heroin trafficker back out on the street."

From the October 20 broadcast of KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: We went through the Pentagon Papers, I was talking about Daniel Ellsberg, we were talking about the entire Watergate scenario -- there's a new book out called "In the Shadow of Watergate" about Bernstein and Wood -- Woodward and Bernstein, they just call them Woodstein, and that's a great -- we go through this all the time. They're heroes, they're protected. Now, we have this guy, who was in essence blowing the whistle on Ritter. If, in fact, all this is true that a guy can -- the most filthy drug in the universe, I don't care, is heroin -- and this guy can do this, he's illegal. To the best of your knowledge, do you believe this information that quote, gets whistleblown or leaked about this guy, congressman, do you believe it is a hundred percent true?

BEAUPREZ: One hundred percent, and we have verified it, Pete, with multiple sources.

BOYLES: All right, so this guy Carlos Estrada Medina is a heroin dealer, an illegal, and he gets the ever-popular criminal -- excuse me, agricultural trespass. By the way, where's a farm in Denver?

BEAUPREZ: (laughter) We're driving the streets of Denver as we speak and trying to find one, Pete.

BOYLES: All right, and then he becomes Walter Noel Ramo. And does he molest a kid in the West Coast?

BEAUPREZ: Other way around, he was Ramo in Denver --

BOYLES: Right, Ramo in Denver, I'm sorry.

BEAUPREZ: And Medina -- yeah, he molests a minor.

BOYLES: All right.

BEAUPREZ: Sexually molests a minor.

BOYLES: Did you -- is there anyone in this audience who doesn't think you had the right to know that?

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