Mr. Robert Anderson
555 W. 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
Dear Mr. Anderson:
I see that your man Mike Wallace has taken exception to some things said about your 60 Minutes program in Marlin Fitzwater's book, even going so far as to accuse Fitzwater of telling "bald-faced lies." Speaking of which, in his by-now infamous, skillfully edited piece featuring the courageous Christopher Ruddy as a sly, dishonest money grubber Mr. Wallace makes the following statement: "The forensic evidence shows that the fatal bullet bad been fired into Foster's mouth from the gun found in Foster's hand and that Foster's thumb had pulled the trigger."
You surely must know that as lies go that one is a big time whopper, one of the most egregious ever told on prime time television, and worse, it is an intentional misrepresentation of the facts that goes right to the heart of the Vince Foster death case. The known forensic evidence does nothing of the sort. Without the bullet, which is still yet to be found, there is simply no way of connecting the apparent head wounds to the revolver found in Foster's hand. All that could be said from Dr. Beyer's autopsy is that there is a possibility that the wounds were made by a large caliber weapon firing a high-velocity bullet corresponding to the revolver with the spent shell casing found in Foster's hand, and that the weapon's barrel was deep in the mouth at the time the trigger was pulled. But there is much evidence, both within the autopsy and without, which doesn't just fail to support that conclusion, but actually contradicts it.
A .38 caliber Colt revolver has a high sight and a large recoil. That combination almost guarantees chipped teeth if the gun was fired as Wallace so authoritatively says it was, especially if the gun and the hand are to end up all the way down by the side of the leg. No such chipped teeth were noted in the autopsy. Dr. Beyer did record the presence of powder burns in the soft palate of the mouth, but curiously, the Fiske panel of pathologists, who, ostensibly, relied exclusively on Dr. Beyer's report, said there were no "flame burns," which is essentially the same thing, in the mouth. The gaping exit wound which Dr. Beyer depicted in his autopsy diagram is characteristic of the .38, but all other known evidence appears to contradict Beyer's observations. No other person known to have seen the body has described such a wound. Chief Medical Examiner Donald Haut said the wound appeared to have been made with low velocity bullet. Others thought there was no exit wound at all. Still others thought they saw a small wound below the ear such as one might expect from the entrance of a small caliber bullet. The blown out skull and brain matter of the Beyer diagram were nowhere in evidence at the site where the body was found. To further confuse matters, one witness, known as CW, says there was no gun in the hand when he saw the body and another, emergency worker Richard Arthur, insists that the gun he saw was an automatic and not a revolver. He even drew a picture of the automatic for his Senate interviewers.
There is, as you surely must know, additional reason to question Dr. Beyer's honesty. He checked on the gunshot wound chart that he took X-rays, while the attending policeman wrote that "Dr. Byer (sic)" reported that the X-rays showed no bullet fragments in the head (This is not a minor point. A bullet fragment of sufficient size might have been traceable to the gun which fired it.). Yet Dr. Beyer maintains that he took no X-rays, which is quite convenient for him if they, as seems likely from all the other evidence, contradict his diagram. In addition, his performance in two other recent autopsies, one of which apparently involves dastardly political corruption similar to the Foster case, seems at the very least criminally negligent.
The final assertion that the evidence shows that Foster's thumb pulled the trigger is just silly. How did he handle the gun without leaving his fingerprints on it? And if there was an indentation on his thumb such as that which Rep. Clinger says he saw in the Polaroids, it could easily have resulted from rigor mortis setting in after the pistol's trigger had been wedged against the thumb by someone else post mortem. In fact, that is the most likely explanation. The trigger recoil that some have hinted at simply doesn't exist, and if it did, a livid thumb would quickly spring back to its original configuration.
So why, Mr. Anderson, would Mr. Wallace tell us such a bald-faced lie over a matter of such consequence to the nation, and when do you plan to correct it? Now that the most expert opinion available to date tells us quite confidently that the "suicide note" was not even a particularly good forgery, I would say the time for you people to salvage what's left of your reputation is growing short.
p.s. I didn't even get into the matter of the improbable, if not impossible, grip Foster would have had to have had on the weapon to produce the front cylinder gap powder smudges on his fingers that Dr. Beyer reported and photos apparently show.
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