(3/15/11) Many Americans probably have forgotten, or never knew, that a 28-year-old female staff member was found dead in the summer of 2001 in the office of U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL). Officials in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, determined that Lori Klausutis died from an accident. The mainstream press largely ignored the case, but our review of several investigative reports indicates the official finding is highly questionable.
Why should we doubt the finding of an accidental death in the Lori Klausutis case? Here are several reasons:
The nature of the head trauma does not suggest an accidental death–According to a report from American Politics Journal (APJ), Dr. Michael Berkland, medical examiner, determined that Klausutis had an undiagnosed cardiac arrhythmia that caused her to faint and hit her head on a desk in Scarborough’s office. Reports APJ
The fainting story does not add up–What is the likelihood that an apparently healthy woman, who ran marathons, would faint and hit her head on a desk in such a way that would cause death? It’s pretty unlikely, our research indicates. Reports APJ
A report at onlinejournal.com, stated that such a fall in a healthy person is unlikely to cause death. Berkland’s determination of an accidental death, however, brought the investigation to a virtual halt.
The medical examiner had a troubled history–Before moving to Florida, Dr. Berkland had practiced in Kansas City, Missouri. His time there ended in controversy.
Jennifer Van Bergen, writing at Truthout, provides a summary of the oddities surrounding Lori Klausutis’s death:
* The congressman (an ardent and vocal supporter of G.W., by the way) resigns only six months after re-election, just prior to his aide’s death. The reason: amid rumors of marital infidelity, the recently-divorced husband wants to spend more time with his sons.* A medical examiner who had his license revoked in another state. Why? He lost it falsifying autopsies.
* The medical examiner’s supervisor had contributed thousands of dollars to the congressman’s election campaign.
* Contradictory reports about whether there is a visible head injury or not.
* A medical conclusion that contains several inconsistencies. First, that Mrs. Klausutis, who was a marathon runner, died of a cardiac arrhythmia. Second, that although she had suffered a fractured skull and a “contracoup” bruise on the opposite side of the brain, the injury could not possibly have been caused by a physical assault.
* Then there’s the question of whether the office was locked and the lights were on. One report says the door was locked and the lights were off; another report says the door was unlocked and the lights were on.
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