Vince Foster Suicide Debate and Poll
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were there no fingerprints on the gun.
In his report to the OIC, Dr. Lee explained that "[t]he handle grip area of [the .38 Colt revolver] is textured and is not typical of the type of surface which commonly results in the development of identifiable latent fingerprints." FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
proof that it was his gun.
To sum up, the testimony establishes that, near the time of his father's death, Mr. Foster took possession of some handguns that had belonged to his father. The testimony also establishes that guns, including (according to the older son) a .38 caliber revolver, were taken to Washington by the Foster family in 1993. Mrs. Lisa Foster said that she recalls two guns in a bedroom closet in Washington, one of which was missing when she looked in the closet after Mr. Foster's death, and that the missing gun was the one found at the scene. Ms. Bowman has said the gun found at the scene looks like a gun previously kept by her father.
In addition, forensic examinations of Mr. Foster's pants pocket and the oven mitt support the conclusion that Mr. Foster carried, and thus possessed, a gun at a time close to his death. As explained above, that evidence tends to link Mr. Foster to the gun recovered from his hand.
This combination of testimonial, circumstantial, and forensic evidence supports the conclusion that the gun found in Mr. Foster's hand belonged to Mr. Foster. FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
one heard the shot. Few people in the surrounding area were even asked.
gun found with victim WAS NOT PROVED TO had
fired the fatal shot.
Dr. Lee conducted
test firings using a laboratory standard weapon and the same kind of ammunition
that was found in the revolver recovered from Mr. Foster's hand. With the
standard weapon, little or no observable gunpowder particles were released from
the cylinder area or onto the shooter's hand.
However, Dr. Lee reported that each test-fired shot of the revolver found in Mr.
Foster's hand at Fort Marcy Park produced a significant amount of unburned and
partially burned gunpowder.
Relatedly, Dr. Lee reported that the gun had an "extraordinary front
(the space between the cylinder and the barrel) of .01 inch through which
gunpowder residue is expelled when the gun is fired. Dr. Lee stated that the gap
was one "possible cause of the deposit of a large amount of gunshot
residue particles on Mr. Foster's body and clothing." FROM STARR'S
eyewitness accounts of the scene IS NOT CONSISTENT WITH The ABC News photo
published showing Foster's hand with the gun.
two bullets in the gun. No matching bullets were to be found in his home or car.
widow shown a gun, silver in color,
that was identified as the weapon used. She said it looked like the
"silver-colored revolver" she had previously seen at home. The ABC
photo shows a black gun in Foster's hand.
spite of an exhaustive search, THE bullet was Never found.
In other words, while the OIC search covered a broader area than previous searches, "the maximum range estimates" predicted the possibility that "the bullet could have cleared the tree tops in Ft. Marcy and landed well outside the park." Moreover, although lines ultimately were laid out within the park along the outer limits of a 90 degree arc to a distance of 175 meters, which represented the "highest probability areas," a full search of even the 90 degree-175 meter range would have included areas outside the park that were not searched. In addition, because "dense foliage and trees surround the area where Foster's body was discovered, and since there is a . . . cannon approximately 12.5 feet directly behind the location where the body lay, there is a distinct possibility the bullet's trajectory was altered due to its striking or ricocheting off a natural or man-made obstruction." Another variable is that "Foster's head could have been turned to one side or the other when the shot was fired." FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
first person to see the body said their was no gun in sight, so did the first
official to see the body.
According to the testimony of the first three official personnel to find the body (Park Police Officer Fornshill and FCFRD personnel Hall and Gonzalez), the gun was in Mr. Foster's hand when they found the body (although Officer Fornshill himself did not see or look for it, but rather was told of it by the others). Those statements contrast with the testimony of C5, the individual who first saw Mr. Foster's body and did not see a gun. Careful evaluation of all of the circumstances and evidence leads to the conclusion that C5 simply did not see the gun that was in Mr. Foster's hand.
First, when questioned by the OIC, C5 agreed with a statement attributed to him in an interview report that "there was extreme dense and heavy foliage in the area and in close proximity to the body, and the possibility does exist that there was a gun on rear of hand that he might not have seen." That is supported, moreover, by the testimony of several witnesses establishing that the gun was difficult to see in Mr. Foster's hand when standing in a position above the head on the top of the berm. That is further confirmed by Polaroids taken from above the head that reveal the difficulty of seeing the gun from that angle. FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
Fiske Report reports a large pool of blood under Foster's head, even though no
one who was at the site made any such report,
Dr. Haut and Corey Ashford, stated to the FBI that there was no blood on
the ground. (Ashford is one of the medical technicians who REMOVED Foster's
Many who saw the body at Fort Marcy Park after it was lifted and rolled over at the scene described a quantity of blood behind Mr. Foster's head, under his body, and on the back of his shirt. A reporter and Park Police officers separately visited the scene on July 21 and 22, 1993, and stated that they could identify the spot where the body had been located by the blood soaked into the ground. A reporter placed a stick into the ground where the blood spot was located and estimated the blood depth at one-eighth inch. FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
damage to FOSTER’S teeth from the
recoil of a .38 placed in his mouth. The pistol had a LARGE steel aiming device
mounted ON the top of the 4-inch
investigator Fiske conceded that the victim's head had been moved after death
had taken place and before his body was photographed.
The Polaroids of the body at the scene depict, and many witnesses who observed the body at the scene describe, the position of the head as facing virtually straight, not tilting noticeably to one side or the other. The Polaroids depict a blood transfer stain in the area of the right side of the face. As explained in previous sections, the expert pathologists and Dr. Lee analyzed this blood evidence and the Polaroid photographs. They concluded, based on the blood transfer stain, that the head made contact with the right shoulder at some point before the Polaroids were taken. The testimony and contemporaneous reports point to the conclusion that rescue personnel at the scene handled the decedent's head to check for vital signs and open an airway. FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
Haut and paramedics said they saw the body in a location that is 200 feet from
the site officially described.
blood splatter or bone fragments found were found at the scene.
crime scene 35mm film
was either "overexposed" or it vanished.
of the Polaroid photos vanished.
people seen in and around victim's car just before the body was found.
report a briefcase in his car, yet the briefcase vanished.
The Park Police report of the interview with Ms. Tripp states:
Ms. Tripp makes it a habit to notice what the staff members are taking with them when they leave the office in order to determine for herself how long she may expect them to be away from the office. Ms. Tripp was absolutely certain that Mr. Foster did not carry anything in the way of a briefcase, bag, umbrella, etc. out of the office.
The Park Police officers who searched Mr. Foster's car at Fort Marcy Park (Braun and Rolla) stated there was no briefcase in the car. The Park Police technician who inventoried the car on July 21, E.J. Smith, stated that no briefcase was found. The Polaroids of the interior of Mr. Foster's car taken at Fort Marcy Park, and the photographs taken the next day at the impoundment lot, do not show a briefcase in the car. (The photos from Fort Marcy show a white canvas bag in front of the rear seat on the driver's side of the car.)
In addition, four other persons at Fort Marcy Park specifically recall looking into Mr. Foster's car but do not recall a briefcase.
Four other persons have varying, but imprecise, degrees of recollection of a briefcase in somecar at Fort Marcy Park. FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
keys were not found with victim at crime scene, or in his car.
Investigator Rolla said he felt into Mr. Foster's pants pockets at the scene in looking for personal effects. Later, when it became apparent to Investigators Rolla and Braun that they did not have the keys to the car, they went to the hospital to check more thoroughly for keys. The hospital logs indicate that Investigators Rolla and Braun were at the morgue at 9:12 p.m. Investigator Braun thoroughly searched the pants pockets by pulling the pockets inside out, and she found two sets of keys. She prepared an evidence receipt indicating that the keys were taken from the right pants pocket, and she subsequently placed the keys in an evidence locker. FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
WAS NO CHECK TO SEE IF THE Numerous hairs and carpet fibers FOUND ON Foster's
clothing WERE PRESENT IN HIS car. TO
SEE IF HE actually drOve himself to Fort Marcy Park.
vanished with no explanation.
CON 21.1Dr. Beyer's assistant recalled that, at the time of the Foster autopsy, the laboratory had recently obtained a new x-ray machine and that it was not functioning properly. The assistant stated that the machine sometimes would expose the film and sometimes would not. In this case, the assistant recalled moving the machine over Mr. Foster's body in the usual procedure and taking the x-ray. He said that he did not know until near the end of the autopsy that the machine did not expose the film. In addition, like Dr. Beyer and the assistant, the administrative manager of the Medical Examiner's Office recalled "numerous problems" with the x-ray machine in 1993 (which, according to records, had been delivered in June 1993).
With respect to the check of the x-ray box on the report, Dr. Beyer stated that he checked that box before the autopsy while completing preliminary information on the form and that he mistakenly did not erase that check mark when the report was finalized. FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
statements about the size of the exit hole by Dr. Haut.
seen on Foster's neck by paramedics, one of which described it as a bullet hole.
BEEN No mention as to whether there
were powder burns inside of Foster's mouth and IF they were consistent with the
shell found in the gun.
report states that "[sections of soft palate" were "positive for
powder debris," and Dr. Beyer said that the gunpowder debris in the mouth
was "grossly present,'" meaning that it could be seen with the naked
eye, and was present in a "large amount."
Thus, Dr. Beyer stated that "the obvious finding was that the muzzle of the
weapon had to be in his mouth, close to the back of his throat, back of his
body DID not LOOK LIKE A suicide. It was laid out straight, with arms neatly at
paramedic listed the death as a homicide on his report.
DID HE DO in hours before death remains a mystery.
had a full lunch before leaving to kill himself, was jovial, and told his staff
he would be back later in the day.
FBI was kept out of the initial investigation.
appointment book was never found.
had been making overnight, two-day trips to Switzerland which his wife didn't
know about. Indications are that he had a Swiss bank account which had been
emptied of $2.7 million a week before he died. His last planned trip to
Switzerland had, for reasons unknown, been canceled.
had been a $300,000 a year lawyer, yet in last weeks before his death he had a
overdrawn checking account.
were prevented from searching victim's home and office.
testimony as to when the White House was told of the SUICIDE from as early as
6:00 PM, to the official time of
According to Secret Service records, the Secret Service was notified of Mr. Foster's death at about 8:30 p.m. Eastern time on July 20. The records reflect that various White House officials were then contacted.
An Arkansas Trooper has stated that, while on duty at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, he was notified of Mr. Foster's death by Helen Dickey, at the time a 22-year-old personal assistant of the Clintons who lived on the third floor of the White House Residence. The trooper described Dickey as "hysterical" and "very upset" when she called. The trooper, who was working a shift until 10:30 p.m. Arkansas time that night, stated that Dickey called him before 7:30 p.m. Arkansas time (8:30 p.m. Eastern time); according to the interview report, he said "he could possibly be mistaken about the time the call from Dickey was received. The call could have been as late as 8:30 PM, Arkansas time. However, he still felt his best recollection was that the call was received sometime between 4:30 PM and 7:30 PM [Arkansas time]."
There are two other pieces of relevant evidence with respect to Ms. Dickey's statement. First, Ms. Dickey's diary entry for July 20 (written within a few days of the event) states in relevant part:
The totality of the evidence – including the diary entry, the testimony of the Usher's Office employee, and the lack of any other evidence that White House or Secret Service personnel had knowledge of Mr. Foster's death at a time earlier than when the Park Police first notified the Secret Service -- does not support a conclusion that Ms. Dickey knew about Mr. Foster's death at some earlier time. FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
phone number of a Secret Service officer was found in the notebook of Park
Police investigator Rolla. ALONG WITH the address and phone number of Vince
Foster. When asked about this during his deposition, Rolla BECAME
of interference with prosecutor Rodriguez' inquiry , he resigned in protest.
and rescue workers have been forbidden to discuss the case.
independent handwriting experts have determined conclusively that the Foster
"suicide" note is a FORGERY.
only prints found on the torn-up
"suicide" note, was a palm print. There were no attempts
made to see if it was Foster's palm print.
The police detected no signs of a struggle at the scene, and examination of Mr. Foster's clothes by Dr. Lee revealed no evidence of a struggle or of dragging. Nor does the evidence reveal that Mr. Foster was intoxicated or drugged.
Dr. Lee found gunshot residue in a sample of the soil from the place where Mr. Foster was found. He also found a bone chip containing DNA consistent with that of Mr. Foster in debris from the clothing. Dr. Lee observed blood-like spatter on vegetation in the photographs of the scene. Investigators found a quantity of blood under Mr. Foster's back and head when the body was turned, and Dr. Beyer, who performed the autopsy, found a large amount of blood in the body bag. In addition, the blood spatters on Mr. Foster's face had not been altered or smudged, contrary to what likely would have occurred had the body been moved and the head wrapped or cleaned. Fort Marcy Park is publicly accessible and traveled; Mr. Foster was discovered in that park in broad daylight; and no one saw Mr. Foster being carried into the park. All of this evidence, taken together, leads to the conclusion that the shot was fired by Mr. Foster where he was found in Fort Marcy Park. FROM STARR'S FOSTER REPORT
FACT 41 12-20-99 BILL O'REILLY AND KEN STARR
O'REILLY: Now some of your investigators have told us off the record that they believe Vince Foster did not commit suicide and that your office was not aggressive enough in investigating the Vince Foster situation. How do you reply?
STARR: Bill, you didn't get that from my investigators. I don't know who you got it from.
O'REILLY: I did.
STARR: Oh, I...
O'REILLY: I did.
STARR: They - they did not think that...
O'REILLY: I got it from one of your investigators, I have to tell you. I would never say an untruth on this program.
STARR: All right. OK. All right. Let me just say this.
O'REILLY: Go ahead.
STARR: We looked at every aspect of that invest - of that death, and we came unanimously - those of us involved in it, so I will look forward to finding out who this person was...
O'REILLY: You'll never get it from me because, you know, just like you, I keep confidences. But, look, this person said - and it was backed up by another - that there were unanswered questions about Vince Foster's suicide. Are you 100 percent sure that Vince Foster committed suicide?
O'REILLY: You're a hundred percent positive.
STARR: One hundred percent that he committed suicide, that it was done at the very point where his body was found.
O'REILLY: OK. Now let me ask you a second question.
STARR: Not a shadow of a doubt.