Calif. Attorney Wants Vince Foster Case Reopened

This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, Dec. 3, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.


ALLAN FAVISH, ATTORNEY: All I can do is make an educated guess about what happened to Mr. Foster. My best educated guess is that he was murdered, but that's just an educated guess.


JOHN GIBSON, HOST: The Vince Foster (search) case is back. A California lawyer named Allan Favish (search) is trying to expose what he believes is a cover-up.

In 1993, the death of deputy White House counsel Vince Foster was ruled a suicide. Favish isn't so sure. He's asking the Supreme Court for access to several unreleased photos taken by police after Foster's death. Foster's family doesn't want the pictures released.

Mr. Favish joins us from Washington. Today's "Big Question," what do you think Vince Foster's photos will prove?

FAVISH: Hello, John. How are you?

GIBSON: Good. What will it prove?

FAVISH: I don't know what they'll prove because I haven't seen them. But I know that the people need to see the evidence directly, unfiltered by the government, because the government reports on this case have no credibility.

GIBSON: Well, why don't they?

FAVISH: They have no credibility because, for instance, and let me give you three examples. There was an FBI memo to the director of the FBI that was written two days after the death, one day after the autopsy, which said that there was no exit wound. Well, that completely contradicts the official story of the death, which says that there was an exit wound.

The [government] reports said nothing about that FBI memo.

Also, the only doctor to view the body at the park wrote on page two of his medical report that the death shot was mouth-to-neck. Well, that contradicts the official story, because officially there is no neck wound. The [government] reports didn't tell the people about page two of that report. Also...

GIBSON: But the kind of things you're citing there are the kind of discrepancies which do occur in these kinds of cases and have normal explanations. Aren't you making a large mountain out of this small hill?

FAVISH: Those are two out of about 20, I could have run down the list. They're all in my brief. You can see it at, with the briefs by the government...

GIBSON: All right. Let's go to the pictures. There were photos taken of Vince Foster's body lying in that park, where he supposedly committed suicide.


GIBSON: And those photos have never been released, and that's what you're trying to get access to, correct?

FAVISH: Well, one of the 10 photos was leaked by the government and published in 1994. Shows the gun in the hand.

GIBSON: Okay. Now, are photos of this sort generally made public? Is it so unusual that these are sealed?

FAVISH: Well, I don't know about what general policy is. I just know that, legally, under the Freedom of Information Act (search), they must be released. And the only reason the government is withholding them is because they're claiming that to release them would violate the privacy rights of Foster's survivors. Not Foster, but Foster's survivors.

GIBSON: Well, why don't they have privacy rights?

FAVISH: Well, because privacy has been defined by the Supreme Court... as the right to control information about yourself. There is no information about the survivors in these pictures.

GIBSON: Yes, but I mean come on. You know, you're Vince Foster's family. If they accept that he committed suicide, this is a very painful thing for them. Just because you're curious, to have these pictures dragged before the public, what right do you have to trump the wishes of the family?

FAVISH: The law doesn't give the family any right to trump the wishes of any FOIA requester. If they don't want death photos to be released, they should lobby Congress...

That's what Teresa Earnhardt did in Florida when the Florida FOIA law was going to allow autopsy photos of her late husband Dale Earnhardt to be released. She got the state legislature in Florida to amend that law. That's what should be done here. The courts cannot rewrite the FOIA law.

GIBSON: All right. But Okay, so what happens here? Let's say you get these pictures released and you can examine them. I take it that the public would be able to examine them, as well.

FAVISH: Exactly.

GIBSON: They wouldn't be released to you alone.

FAVISH: Correct.

GIBSON: What do you expect to see?

FAVISH: Well, there is evidence in the record, primarily from one of the paramedics on the scene, who saw what he described as a neck wound on Mr. Foster.

One of these photos may show that neck wound, according to two books published in 1997...

They tell a story of Miguel Rodriguez, who worked for Kenneth Starr in '94 and '95, and he quit after six months. Publicly, we don't know why he quit. Part of the reason why he quit, according to these two books, which I don't know if it's true or not, is because he was denied access to a neck wound photo that he finally got a hold of and had trouble getting the FBI to enlarge it for him, and he had to do it himself. I don't know if that's true or not.

But we want the public to see the photos, or I want the public to see these photos for themselves.

GIBSON: Mr. Favish, appreciate it. We'll see how this works out and maybe talk to you again.

FAVISH: Thank you. Thank you, sir.

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