New Evidence Exposes Vince Foster Murder

Victim Not Shot With .38 Caliber Revolver

By WESLEY PHELAN

Vince Foster, Deputy White House Counsel early in Bill Clinton's first term, was found dead in Fort Marcy Park on July 20, 1993. Three investigations into Foster's death, including one by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, have ruled the death a suicide. Patrick Knowlton, referred to as "C2" in Starr's Report, entered Fort Marcy Park approximately 70 minutes before Foster's body was discovered. Evidence shows that Foster was already dead at that time. Knowlton saw two vehicles in the parking lot, neither of which matched the description of Vince Foster's 1989 silver- gray Honda.

In the spring of 1994, FBI agent Lawrence Monroe interviewed Knowlton for the Office of regulatory Independent Counsel Robert Fiske. Knowlton learned in October of 1995 that his statements to Monroe were falsified in the FBI interview report. Shortly thereafter Knowlton received a secret grand jury subpoena from Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, who was conducting the third investigation into Foster's death. That same day several men began to harass Knowlton in the streets of Washington, D.C.

John Clarke, attorney for Knowlton, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., claiming the harassment was a violation of Knowlton's civil rights [1]. The suit alleges the harassment was part of a larger conspiracy to cover up the facts surrounding Vince Foster's death.

On Wednesday of last week Clarke filed an amended complaint in the suit, adding several new defendants [2]. The most striking paragraph in the complaint states:

Facts

26. On July 20th, 1993, between the time of 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Vincent Foster died of a small-caliber gunshot wound to his head, at the hand of another. The bullet entered his head from the upper portion of the right side of his neck, under the jaw line, passed upward through the body of the tongue, pierced his brain and struck the skull approximately three inches below the top of the head, fracturing it. The bullet remained in his head. Blood drained from the entrance wound in the neck onto his right collar and shoulder and was absorbed down onto his right shirtsleeve. Blood also accumulated in his mouth.

This statement of facts, which runs counter to the results of three official government investigations, is a very bold gambit by Clarke. Under Rule 11 of Federal Civil Procedure, for an attorney to make irresponsible assertions of fact before a court opens him to severe sanctions by the judge. In the following interview, conducted on October 21, John Clarke discusses with The Washington Weekly the compelling new evidence supporting his statement of facts.

QUESTION: You filed an amended complaint today on behalf of Patrick Knowlton, correct?

CLARKE: Yes, we have named some additional defendants in the case. We also have more of the facts in the case.

QUESTION: Why was there a need to file an amended complaint?

CLARKE: Amending the complaint is the usual course of events in lawsuits. As a party learns more things the lawsuit gets changed. That is particularly true in a conspiracy case. Conspiracies by their very nature are secret. Our job is to try to unravel the conspiracy and that means bringing new facts to light. We have done that, so it became necessary for us to amend our complaint.

QUESTION: Who were the original defendants in the case?

CLARKE: The original defendants were the people who harassed Patrick, including two individuals whom we named. There were two FBI agents named, one of whom falsified reports, and the other whom we believe was involved and knew in advance of the intimidation that Patrick suffered.

QUESTION: Who falsified documents?

CLARKE: Larry Monroe, one of the FBI agents who was assigned to Robert Fiske's office. He interviewed Patrick in the Foster death investigation, and falsified Patrick's statements in his report. Later on the truth surfaced in the London Sunday Telegraph. Foster died on July 20, 1993. Nine months later Monroe interviewed Patrick twice. Eighteen months after that the 302's were public. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard was following the case, but Patrick had never heard of Ambrose. Ambrose contacted Patrick and showed him the 302's, that Patrick said lied about what he had told the FBI. So Ambrose wrote an article that appeared in the October 22 edition of the London Sunday Telegraph. That appeared on U.S. newsstands on October 24th, a Tuesday. That same day the Office of Independent Counsel prepared a subpoena for Patrick to testify before the Whitewater grand jury the following Wednesday. They typed it up on a Tuesday for testimony a week from the following day. But they didn't serve it right away. They waited until Thursday, October 27th to serve it. And that was the beginning of the intimidation Patrick suffered.

We believe this intimidation was a civil rights violation, to intimidate a federal witness in order to dissuade him from testifying fully, fairly, and truthfully. We filed suit based on that. We also believe this civil rights violation was part of a conspiracy. Under the law of civil conspiracy all members of the conspiracy are liable and answerable for anything done in furtherance of the conspiracy. If the civil rights violation was in furtherance of a conspiracy, even if the defendants did not know who Patrick Knowlton was, they are all liable for what happened to Patrick. That is what we call the theory of the case and it's what we are proceeding on. What we did today was file an amended complaint to name additional defendants who were members of the conspiracy. Even though these people did not know who Patrick Knowlton was, and even though they did not personally harass him, they were a part of this joint venture and that's why they are liable.

Two things very relevant in the prosecution of Patrick's case are: (1) if there was a cover-up surrounding the death of Vincent Foster; and (2) who covered it up. About 10,000 pages of documents have been released regarding the Foster death. We just recently completed our review of these documents and got our summary down on paper. It's not in its final form. But we are now in a position to find out who did what, and what happened in the Vince Foster case. We have unraveled a lot of it and that's why we added defendants in our amended complaint.

The first defendant we added is U.S. Park Police sergeant now retired, Robert Edwards. He was the third Park Police officer to respond to the body site. As he was walking up to the body site the first Park Police officer was leaving. Edwards ordered him to leave the park and return to his duties. Edwards proceeded to the body site where Park Police officer Franz Ferstl was photographing the body. Ferstl was the 'beat officer'; it was his beat. He took about 7 photographs before Edwards got there. Edwards then took Ferstl's photographs and sent Ferstl to the parking lot. Then two other Park Police officers walked up to the body site, Lt. Patrick Gavin and Christine Hodakievic. They stayed for a few minutes and left.

That left Edwards alone at the body site for about 10- 15 minutes, with the only photographs that had been taken. Edwards then tampered with the crime scene by moving the head to the right. This allowed blood that had accumulated in the mouth to drain down onto the right shoulder. He then repositioned the head straight up, leaving a contact stain on the right side of the chin. The contact stain occurred when the chin hit the wet shoulder.

Edwards did that because he wanted to make it appear that the blood -- which was already on the right shoulder, right side of the shirt, and right side of the neck and collar -- had come from the mouth. He wanted to provide an excuse for that blood being there. You don't commit suicide by shooting yourself in the neck, so they wanted to cover up the neck wound. So the excuse for the blood on the right side, the OIC tells us, is blood had accumulated in the mouth and an early observer turned the head to the right, whereupon the blood drained out. Then this early observer turned the head back up, leaving the contact stain on the chin. That's right. He wanted to leave a sign of having moved the head, because that's the excuse for the blood. His excuse for having moved the head to the right was to open up an airway, although no one tried to resuscitate Mr. Foster.

We know Edwards moved the head because all of the observers before Edwards said the blood was dry, and the witnesses after Edwards said the blood was wet. The OIC never said who the early observer was, but it was pretty obvious that they couldn't find anybody who said they did it or saw it being done. So to the OIC this is an unknown person; they didn't know who this person was, although it had to have been Edwards.

This is important because officially there was no wound on the side of the neck. Foster supposedly shot himself in the mouth. But he did not have an entrance wound in his mouth. The entrance wound was on his neck. The blood had drained from the neck. In order to conceal the entrance wound in the neck, you have to conceal where the blood came from. So Edwards turned the head to right to let the blood drain out, to provide an explanation for the blood that was already there. This is also what caused the two lateral drain tracks that came from his nose and mouth going toward his ear. People say those tracks show he was moved to the park. That's not really true. We believe that occurred from Edwards' actions after the body was already at the park.

QUESTION: Do you think Edwards was in the know about a need for cover-up when he moved the head?

CLARKE: You would think so, wouldn't you?

QUESTION: His job was to do something to help cover this up? Is that what you think?

CLARKE: Yes, that's what I think. I don't think he all of a sudden, sua sponte, did that on his own, with nobody telling him to.

Anyway, the official version is that there was a mouth entrance wound and an exit wound in the back of the head. But actually, there was no entrance wound in the mouth, and there was no exit wound at the top of the back of the head. There was only one visible wound from the outside, and that was to the neck.

QUESTION: How do you know that there was no entrance wound in the mouth?

CLARKE: Let's do the entrance and exit wounds at the same time. Twenty-five witnesses saw the body before the autopsy. There is a record of not one of them having seen an entrance wound.

QUESTION: Well, they would not have opened the mouth, would they?

CLARKE: That's true, although two of those persons were MD's whose job it was to inspect the body. But there is no record of any of those 25 witnesses having seen either the mouth entrance wound or the exit wound at the top of the head. The only reference is to officer Ferstl, who allegedly saw an exit wound. Five Park Police officers all prepared reports and in none of those reports was there a reference to an entrance wound, an exit wound, or blood.

QUESTION: I thought Dr. Haut stated he saw matted blood at the back of the head.

CLARKE: He did say matted blood at the top of the head.

QUESTION: I thought he said the back of the head.

CLARKE: Right, the top of the back of the head, where you would expect this alleged exit wound to be. He did see blood there. But the best evidence we have is the Park Police officer who gloved up and felt there. That was Officer John Rolla. He said a big hole would be one he could put his finger through. He said, "His head was not blown out. I probed his head and there was no big hole there, there was no big blowout. There weren't brains running all over the place. There was blood in there, there was a mushy spot. I initially thought that the bullet might still be in his head." He uses the word hole, but that's not what he described as what he felt. He said if you could put your finger in it, that's a big hole. He says he couldn't put his finger through any hole.

QUESTION: But he did mention a hole being present, didn't he?

CLARKE: No, although he used the word hole in general terms, he what he says found at the back of the head was a mushy spot. A mushy spot is not a hole. There was blood back there. What we think happened is the bullet, after it entered under the right jaw line, went straight up and fractured the top of the back of the head. It remained in the head. John Rolla does not describe an exit wound, and Richard Arthur said there was no exit wound.

QUESTION: Who is Richard Arthur?

CLARKE: He was in the group of the 4th to 7th people at the scene. First on the scene was the U.S. Park Police officer, then one EMT and a paramedic, then minutes later came Richard Arthur accompanied by 3 others. Richard Arthur was the only paramedic in that group of four. He was the second paramedic at the body site.

Arthur said that there was no exit wound. He was asked if he could describe the exit wound. He said, "Was there one? I didn't know there was one." That's the other record we have pertaining to an exit wound. The only person we have not covered for whom there is a record of being there is Dr. Haut. Haut said that there was a neck wound. He wrote in his report "gunshot wound mouth-neck."

QUESTION: That's on the second page of his report, isn't it?

CLARKE: Yes.

QUESTION: The first page of the report has a spot where a word, presumably 'neck,' is evidently whited out, and another word inserted -- 'head' is inserted instead. Is that correct?

CLARKE: That report has Dr. Haut's signature on it. It is dated July 20, 1993. It is verified. It has an "I hereby certify and affirm under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia," and it goes on and on. He says in effect "I swear that I undertook an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death and this is what I found." Under "circumstances surrounding death," it says, "U.S. Park Police found a gunshot victim, mouth to neck." That's not an error. If you are the medical examiner you're not going to say there's a neck wound unless there is. Haut's statement is the only record of an exterior wound that anyone of 25 witnesses saw.

Richard Arthur was interviewed five times and the best record we have of what it was he saw was in his deposition, with no opportunity by the FBI to spin or edit his account. He is asked the following question in the deposition, and I'm quoting: "Let me ask you this: if I told you there was no gunshot wound in the neck, would that change your view as to whether it was a suicide or not?" And he responded, "No . . . what I saw is what I saw . . . I saw a small - what appeared to be a small gunshot wound here near the jawline. Fine, whether the coroner's report says that or not, fine. I know what I saw."

QUESTION: Let me make sure I understand. The only reference to a head wound, other than a "mushy spot," would be on the first page of Haut's report. Is that correct?

CLARKE: Yes, on the first page. The first page says "Cause of death" in a small area. In there it says "gunshot wound" on one line. Then "gunshot wound" with a dash and then right under it some little black marks with no word there, and then to the right of that it says "head." So it looks like it originally said "gunshot wound mouth" then under it, centered properly, was the word "neck." In order to falsify it they whited-out the word "neck" and moved the paper a bit to the side, and then typed "head." The reason they moved it over was because otherwise they would have to type over the whited-out word, which would have been apparent on the photocopies. If you type over white-out you can tell.

QUESTION: What did the autopsy report say about the head wound?

CLARKE: We have just covered all the witnesses up till you get to the autopsy. The body was found on Tuesday around 6:00 p.m. The autopsy was originally scheduled to occur Thursday at 7:00 a.m. Dr. Beyer claimed that he rescheduled the autopsy as soon as he heard about the case, from 7:00 a.m. on Thursday to 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. He rescheduled it for just 16 hours after the discovery of the body. He said it was his idea, he didn't talk to anyone about it, no one suggested it, he just decided to do it.

QUESTION: Where are the records of what he said?

CLARKE: That comes from his Senate testimony. Both of the Park Police investigators on the case, Rolla and Cheryl Braun, had called the Office of the Medical Examiner for Northern Virginia, Dr. Beyer's office, Wednesday morning as they were getting off work. Rolla testified that he waited instead of leaving work at 6:00 a.m. He said he waited until about 6:30 before calling the Medical Examiner's Office. The reason he waited was he wanted to call to make sure they weren't going to do the autopsy that day. They told him over the phone, "Don't worry, it won't be done till the following day." So he went home . . .

QUESTION: Why did he not want it done on Wednesday?

CLARKE: There is a requirement that law enforcement officers attend an autopsy. So he was calling to make sure he would be available to be there, because he had just worked all night. So he went home. Braun's story is pretty much the same. Then they both got a call about 8:30 or 9:00 saying, "We're going to have the autopsy at 10:00. Do you want to go?" And they said "No." Four other Park Police officers attended the autopsy instead. Normally Dr. Beyer would perform the autopsy or Dr. Fields would. But in this case, an unknown person assisted Dr. Beyer in the autopsy.

QUESTION: Have you found out who that person was?

CLARKE: No, he's named as a "John Doe pathologist" in our suit.

QUESTION: Isn't that strange?

CLARKE: It gets more strange. Four Park Police officers, Robert Rule and three other personnel, go to the autopsy to witness it. There is Dr. Beyer with his unknown, unusual assistant, whose identity is never revealed in 10,000 pages of records. According to his deposition Robert Rule asked Dr. Beyer who the assistant was, and Beyer refused to tell him. He would not identify the guy who was helping him with the autopsy to the police who were there!

The autopsy was scheduled for 10:00, but Dr. Beyer began much earlier than that, before the police arrived. He stripped the body, x-rayed it, and then of all things to do he took out the tongue and portions of the soft palate. The reason he did that, we allege, is to hide the fact that the bullet pierced the tongue from below, and the absence of an entrance wound in the soft palate.

QUESTION: Is he then named as one of the new defendants in the case?

CLARKE: Yes, Dr. James Beyer.

QUESTION: How about the mystery person?

CLARKE: Yes, we call him "John Doe Pathologist."

QUESTION: When you name somebody like that in a suit who is not previously identified in the records, will that person's identity have to be disclosed? Will they be required by the court now to come forward with this person's identity?

CLARKE: Not until discovery. We have to do discovery.

QUESTION: You will get it through discovery?

CLARKE: Oh, yes.

QUESTION: You think you will?

CLARKE: Sure.

QUESTION: What if they say 'National Security'?

CLARKE: (Laughs). They won't be saying that. This is the Medical Examiner for Northern Virginia, who covered up . . . 'national security'? They might say that but I don't think they will get away with it. We'll find out a lot. But the astounding stuff is what we already know. Let me continue on with the autopsy.

There is also testimony that Dr. Beyer did not photograph the entrance wound -- that portion of the soft palate that allegedly had the entrance wound. Why would he not photograph that? In addition, he reported that on the soft palate there were very large amounts of what he called "gunpowder debris." He said it was "grossly present," meaning it could be seen with the naked eye. He described it as "large quantities of powder debris." He sent his 5 slides containing 13 sections of the soft palate to the Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences. They issued a report saying there was no ball-shaped gunpowder identified on any of those tissue samples.

QUESTION: When did you learn of the existence of this report?

CLARKE: Somebody told me about it nearly a year ago. This is a very interesting thing. The finding of powder debris on the soft palate by Dr. Beyer is the absolute cornerstone of the entire official conclusion of suicide in the park.

QUESTION: That Vince Foster stuck a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger?

CLARKE: Right. That is the cornerstone of the official conclusion. Now, this Virginia Department of Forensic Science report said that no ball-shaped gunpowder -- and ball-shaped gunpowder is the type of powder allegedly found by Beyer -- was found. The FBI laboratory issued a report on May 9 or 10 of 1994, which said no ball-shaped gunpowder was identified on the tissue samples when the Office of the Northern Virginia Medical Examiner examined them. And they didn't really have an explanation. In June, about a month later, they issued another lab report saying the tissue samples had been prepared in such a way as not to be conducive to retaining unconsumed gunpowder particles. In other words, it had been put in something -- formaldehyde or something - - which made it disappear.

That's a lie. That didn't happen. Depending on the type of ball smokeless powder, the solvents, in order to destroy it, would have to be either ether or nitroglycerin. People just don't use that to preserve tissue samples. So Beyer was lying. And remember, that's the cornerstone of the entire conclusion.

When we look at everything we've just talked about, the only word we have about this entrance and exit wound is from Dr. Beyer. You would think out of 25 witnesses before the autopsy -- an autopsy which is screwy from the start -- there would be some record of the entrance or exit wound other than the neck wound, if it existed. It did not exist until you get to the autopsy, and Dr. Beyer falsified his autopsy.

QUESTION: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard claimed he was shown a photograph of the neck wound, correct?

CLARKE: Correct. Ambrose told me that; I've asked him.

QUESTION: Have you been able to track down this photo?

CLARKE: No.

QUESTION: Where do you think the photo might be?

CLARKE: I don't know.

QUESTION: Do you know who the last person would have been to have it?

CLARKE: I have a couple of suspects. He was shown the photograph, so you have to ask yourself who showed it to him.

QUESTION: Haut?

CLARKE: No, no. I think it was XXXXX [redacted by request].

QUESTION: Who else have you added to your list of defendants?

CLARKE: After "John Doe Pathologist," next is Robert F. Bryant. At the time of Mr. Foster's death, Bryant was Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Washington Metropolitan Field Office. He has since been promoted to Deputy Director, FBI. On Friday, July 23, 1993, three days after the death, he sent a Teletype to then Acting Director of the FBI, Floyd Clark. Clark was the Acting Director because Sessions had been fired a week before. Accuracy in Media got this Teletype, which is heavily redacted, through a Freedom of Information lawsuit. What it shows is that Bryant was sending it to confirm telephone conversations that took place on the 21st, the day after the death. He says something like, "This is to confirm our conversation wherein the preliminary results of the autopsy are that there was a .38 caliber gunshot wound with no exit wound."

QUESTION: He said no exit wound?

CLARKE: He confirmed the conversation with Floyd Clark in which he said there was no exit wound. On August 10th, about 17 days after he sent the Teletype, he appeared at a joint Park Police/FBI press conference to announce the FBI's finding of suicide in the park. He told everyone there a very thorough investigation showed it was a suicide in the park. His having done that constitutes his participation in the conspiracy. He is telling the American people, the press, that it was suicide in the park. Seventeen days earlier he confirmed his guilty knowledge of no exit wound. And this is the Special Agent in charge of the Washington D. C. Metropolitan Field Office.

QUESTION: What did Dr. Beyer's report say about an exit wound?

CLARKE: He said it was 1 x 1.5 inch, which is about the size of a half-dollar. Remember, it wasn't there earlier; John Rolla could have put his finger through something the size of a half-dollar. But that's what Beyer said. He said he put a probe through the head, and there is a record of one of the Park Police officers having seen the probe going in through the mouth and coming out through the back of the head.

QUESTION: Did the Park Police officer sign a statement that he saw that?

CLARKE: No, but I believe that he did see that. But that Park Police officer didn't get there until after Beyer had done God knows what to the body. He's reported as having removed the tongue and portions of the soft palate before the officers got there. I think he inserted the probe before the officers got there. They walked in and saw the probe, then he took it out.

QUESTION: So you think he may have drilled a hole in the back of the head to be able to put the probe through?

CLARKE: I think the bullet went up through Mr. Foster's tongue into the top of his head, and fractured his head. So Rolla said "I felt a mushy spot, I thought the head was fractured, and I thought the bullet was still in the head." He's right on all three counts is what I think.

QUESTION: OK, Bryant is also named because in his memo to . . .

CLARKE: There is a record of his active participation in the cover-up.

QUESTION: Who else besides Bryant are you naming?

CLARKE: There's Scott Jeffrey Bickett. Scott bashed Patrick's car in with a tire iron the night before his second FBI interview. One of the appendices at the back of Evans-Pritchard's "The Secret Life of Bill Clinton" is a computer printout of Scott Jeffrey Bickett, showing that he was employed by the Department of Defense. [3] He holds what is called an "active SCI" security clearance. SCI stands for "Sensitive Compartmented Information." That's a top U.S. government security clearance. So this malicious attack on Patrick's car, which Bickett later confessed to . . .

QUESTION: He did? To whom did he confess?

CLARKE: Coincidentally, to the U.S. Park Police who were handling the case. They said they couldn't trace the license plate number. Luckily, there was a limousine driver not too far away who witnessed the whole thing, who wrote it down.

QUESTION: Did he tell them why he bashed the car?

CLARKE: No. So, the Park Police showed up and the limo driver gave the license number to both the Park Police and to Patrick. A week went by and they said they couldn't find the guy. So a private investigator was hired on October 18, 1995, and he found Bickett in one day. The Park Police then interviewed Bickett and he confessed. This incident was pretty damned coincidental. It was the night before Patrick's second interview. Patrick had two interviews. The first one was April 15, 1994, when FBI agent Larry Monroe was leaning on him trying to get him to admit the car he saw in the Fort Marcy Park parking lot was Vince Foster's car. Patrick had another interview about 3 weeks later. The incident where his car was bashed in was the night before the second interview. He actually had a confrontation with this guy, Scott Bickett.

Either they were trying to give Patrick a hint, or they were trying to shake him up. His car was a 1974 refurbished Peugeot. It was just beautiful. It was Patrick's only possession. They bashed the shit out of it right in front of the Vietnam Memorial. Patrick and his girlfriend were showing another couple the memorial.

QUESTION: When did you learn of Bickett?

CLARKE: When Evans-Pritchard's book came out.

QUESTION: Why did you not name Bickett as a defendant to begin with?

CLARKE: Because we filed suit a year before that book came out. The next new defendant I call "John Doe FBI Laboratory Technician." I'll tell you briefly some of the things they hid. Remember, Beyer supposedly found ball shaped smokeless powder on the body. Well, Remington manufactured the cartridges found in the official death gun. They were .38 HVL, which stands for high velocity ammunition. Remington has never used ball smokeless powder in the manufacture of that ammunition.

QUESTION: So the supposed finding of the ball shaped powder on the soft palate by Beyer is impossible in any event?

CLARKE: I think Foster had ball powder on him, but none of it was in the mouth.

QUESTION: Does the presence of this particular type of powder give you any indication what the murder weapon actually was?

CLARKE: Yes. It's used by Winchester .22's, a small caliber gun.

QUESTION: Whoa!!

CLARKE: Yes, it's consistent with reloads also.

QUESTION: Professional hit men are known to reload their ammunition.

CLARKE: That category is included.

QUESTION: Although it seems unlikely to me that anyone would want to reload .22 cartridges, unless they wanted very special properties. But a professional might.

CLARKE: Right, for up close work. The FBI lab also hid the length of the powder burns on Mr. Foster's hands. They did not describe the length of those powder burns.

QUESTION: Is the official story that he had one hand over the cylinder of the gun as he pulled the trigger?

CLARKE: Right. And you would get a blast from the front cylinder gap.

QUESTION: Well, on a revolver there are gaps between the cylinder and the frame at both the front and the back of the cylinder, where some blast might escape.

CLARKE: You could get a little bit from the back, but these powder burns on his hands were definitely from the front cylinder gap, and they are huge. As the blast escapes from the cylinder gap, it is blocked at the top and the bottom by the frame of the gun. So it comes out in a triangular shape on both sides from the front cylinder gap, which is at the back of the barrel. As the blast flees from the gun, it expands, so the triangle gets larger the farther it is from the point of the blast.

If your hand is over the cylinder when you pull the trigger, you won't get gunshot residue on the part of your hand that is above the gun, or the part that is below the gun. The top and bottom of the gun frame will protect those parts of your hand. Now, if you wrap your hand around the gun at the front of the cylinder, according to our measurements, you will have two 2-inch burns on your hand, one on each side of the cylinder.

QUESTION: Exactly right.

CLARKE: Let's suppose you got somebody else to pull the trigger. You take both hands and wrap them around the gun, but not touching the gun. With your hands out like that, instead of 2 inches long the burns are going to be 6 to 7 inches long. The gunshot residue deposit is shortened by closeness of your hand to the gun and lengthened by its distance. Now, we calculate that Mr. Foster had a 3-inch burn on the left-hand side, so he was not touching the gun there.

QUESTION: OK.

CLARKE: On the right hand side he had over a 5-inch burn.

QUESTION: So his hands were not touching the gun?

CLARKE: On neither side. He was not holding that gun.

QUESTION: What's he doing with his hands around but not touching a gun that goes off?

CLARKE: Think about it. He's in a defensive posture. The gun went off when his hand was two inches from it on the right hand side and on the left side maybe a half an inch. He was grabbing for the gun when it went off!

QUESTION: How do you know how long the burns were on each hand?

CLARKE: We can approximate the size of his hand. He was 6 feet 4, and he could palm a basketball palm down in each hand. Anybody who can do that has a 6-inch index finger.

QUESTION: How do you know the length of the burns?

CLARKE: We have sources in the record that tell us the burn began at the last phalange, which is about an inch long. It extended down into the web area of his hand. From the beginning of the last phalange to the web area would have been 5 inches. If the burn extended into the web area, that means it was more than 5 inches. One of the reports -- Simonello's -- says it is also to the thumb. Simonello removed the weapon from Mr. Foster's right hand. He said there was gunpowder on the thumb. That means the hand could not have been in contact with the weapon when it went off.

QUESTION: Was his stain also the ball shaped powder?

CLARKE: We don't know because it is residue.

QUESTION: Is it possible that someone put the .38 in his hand and shot the gun to make it look like he shot it?

CLARKE: No.

QUESTION: But the .38 had been fired, had it not? It had a spent casing in it didn't it?

CLARKE: One spent casing and one unspent casing.

QUESTION: Did they do a test of the gun to see if it had been fired recently?

CLARKE: I don't know. I do know that they didn't test it until after they closed the investigation. Did you know that?

QUESTION: No. Good grief.

CLARKE: In fact the letter requesting testing was not written until the 11th, but the case was officially closed on the 5th. A week later they decided to send it out for testing. That was the official FBI/Park Police investigation, which was 16 days long.

QUESTION: Why have you added "John Doe FBI lab Technician" to your suit?

CLARKE: Because of the FBI report. He says the gunpowder residues are consistent with Foster having fired the weapon. We made a model of the weapon. You cannot pull the trigger with your hands in the position relative the gun that Foster's must have been. His right hand was 2 inches away from it, and the left hand about one half inch". The only way he could have been holding it would be with his hands around it and away from it. You can't pull the trigger like that. Even if he could reach the trigger, he couldn't have pulled it -- it was too far away.

QUESTION: Was he supposed to have pulled the trigger with his thumb?

CLARKE: Yes.

QUESTION: So you name the FBI lab technician because he falsified the documents, in your opinion?

CLARKE: Yes.

QUESTION: What you are talking about here -- you've said it yourself more than once -- is a conspiracy that involves many, many people.

CLARKE: Many people, but less than some might imagine.

QUESTION: It's hard for the average person to contemplate that all of these disparate people would be involved to falsify the record. Why would they do that?

CLARKE: They were evidently covering up an apparent homicide. I don't know why they did it, why he was killed, or who killed him.

QUESTION: What's the next step in your suit?

CLARKE: The judge still has not ruled on the defendants' motion to dismiss. The two FBI agents and one other named defendant who was served in the case earlier filed a motion to dismiss. We argued that in January. The judge has not ruled on it. It's a good thing, too, because we have been going through thousands of pages of records pulling all of this stuff out.

QUESTION: I won't ask you if you trust the judge.

CLARKE: You can say that I trust him because I do.

QUESTION: What is his name?

CLARKE: John Garrett Penn.

QUESTION: Which court is the case in?

CLARKE: U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

QUESTION: Has he been there for a while?

CLARKE: He's been there for a long time. I tried a case before him in 1989.

QUESTION: I suppose the next step is he will make a ruling about whether to dismiss. And if he does not dismiss, he will then look at your amended complaint. Is that right?

CLARKE: He really has to look at the amended complaint before ruling. Part of the argument of the motion to dismiss is our supposed failure to particularize the allegation of conspiracy. Our amended complaint is a lot more particular. So he would not want to dismiss the suit without looking at this.

QUESTION: You think at this point with the evidence you have presented you have overcome that objection?

CLARKE: Yes, I thought I overcame it back then, but even more so now.

QUESTION: How is Patrick Knowlton doing?

CLARKE: He's doing very well.

QUESTION: Is he getting on with his life?

CLARKE: We are both involved in this up to our armpits, so this is his life for the time being.

QUESTION: I know you are getting along partly on donations, so give us the address to contribute to this cause.

CLARKE: The Knowlton Legal Fund, 1730 K Street NW, Suite 304, Washington, D.C. 20006. Donations are not tax deductible.

Notes

1. The amended complaint in the lawsuit is available at: http://www.aim.org/special/knowlton.htm

2. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, "The Secret Life of Bill Clinton," p. 416.

Wesley Phelan may be reached at wphlen@mtco.com


Published in the Oct. 26, 1998 issue of The Washington Weekly. Copyright © 1998 The Washington Weekly (http://www.federal.com). Reposting permitted with this message intact.

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