Earlier today, President Trump called for an investigation into the death of Lori Klausutis, a 28-year-old staffer for then-Congressman Joe Scarborough. Many Morning Joe viewers probably have forgotten, or never knew, that the body of a female aide once was found in Scarborough’s Congressional office. Investigators quickly saw that a blow to the head, delivered accidentally or intentionally, was involved in Lori Klausutis’ death. There are also some serious questions as to the mental competency of the doctor who performed the autopsy, as well as an important question about why there was no time of death recorded on his autopsy.
According to the Daily Kos: Joe Scarborough, a U.S. Congressman from Florida’s 1st District from 1995 suddenly resigned only 5 months into his 4th term in September 2001. His reason? The classic “In order to spend more time with his children”
Curiously, just 2 months before he resigned, his 28-year-old staffer was found dead in his office.
While Mainstream Media was hounding Democrat U.S. Congressman Gary Condit about his missing ex-intern, Chandra Levy, viewers heard next to nothing about Joe’s intern, a healthy 28-year-old woman was found dead in his Congressional District Office in Fort Walton Beach, FL.
Only two days after Scarborough’s staffer was found dead in his office, the 9-11 terror attack happened, and this huge story was mostly ignored by media outlets.
President Trump on Wednesday appeared to call for an investigation into the 2001 death of an intern to GOP congressman-turned-MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.
In a tweet calling for Scarborough and MSNBC president Phil Griffin to be terminated in the wake of Matt Lauer’s firing, the president mentioned an “‘unsolved mystery’ that took place in Florida years ago.”
“So now that Matt Lauer is gone when will the Fake News practitioners at NBC be terminating the contract of Phil Griffin? And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the ‘unsolved mystery’ that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!” the president wrote to his 43.6 million followers.
So now that Matt Lauer is gone when will the Fake News practitioners at NBC be terminating the contract of Phil Griffin? And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the “unsolved mystery” that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2017
Trump was referencing Lori Klausutis, 28-year-old office staffer who worked for Scarborough when he was a representative from Florida. Klausutis was found dead in the congressman’s district office in July 2001. –The Hill
The autopsy of Lori Klausutis makes no reference to a time of death. That raises new questions about an investigation that started when the 28-year-old woman’s body was found in the office of then U.S. Representative Joe Scarborough in summer 2001.
Accidental death was the official finding in the Klausutis case, with a cardiac arrhythmia causing her to fall and hit her head on a desk. But the recent discovery of human remains at a storage unit in Pensacola, Florida, casts doubt on that ruling. That’s because the storage unit was rented by Dr. Michael Berkland, the man who conducted the Klausutis autopsy 11 years earlier.
Berkland now faces a felony charge of improper storage of hazardous waste, and the grisly nature of the discovery calls his competence–and perhaps his sanity–into question.
Daily Mail – Florida was not the only place Berkland ran into trouble over his work. In 1996, he was fired as a contract medical examiner in Jackson County, Missouri, in a dispute over his autopsy reports.
Berkland had incorrectly stated on the reports that he had taken sections of several brains to be preserved as specimens for medical conferences and teaching purposes, AP reported.
He claimed they were ‘proofreading errors’ and the Missouri attorney general’s office found they did not jeopardize any criminal cases.
Berkland complained the actions against him were unfair because he was unable to present evidence in his defense. His doctor’s license was ultimately revoked there.
Independent blogger, Legal Schnauzer suggested in 2012 that Berkland’s findings be dismissed and that his autopsy of the deceased staffer should not be trusted: Was the Lori Klausutis autopsy conducted in a professional manner? Was foul play prematurely ruled out? Should the investigation be reopened, perhaps with renewed scrutiny for Scarborough and others who might have had access to his office at the time?
So it’s hard to figure why the autopsy makes no reference to the time of death. (See full autopsy report here.)
Why is that a key omission? Consider this from an online document titled “Determining Time of Death (TOD)”:
Why is it important to know the time of death?
•TOD can set the time of murder
•Eliminate or suggest suspects
•Confirm or disprove alibis
Why did Berkland not include this critical detail? It’s not as if his report does not provide plenty of other details. He tells us that Klausutis was wearing a white thong on the day of her death. (Page 7.) He tells us that she had a “shaved genital region.” (Page 8.) But no time of death?
The core of the autopsy report can be found in the comment section, pages 3-7. This probably is the central finding:
There is no doubt that the head injury is as a result of a fall, rather than a blow being delivered to the heading by a moving object. Lori has a classic “contrecoup” injury, or bruise to the brain, meaning that her brain was bruised on the opposite side from where the external force was applied. The left side of Lori’s brain was bruised while the external abraded contusion (scratch and bruise) was in the right temple region. The contrecoup contusion results when a freely moving, mobile head strikes an unyielding, firm, fixed object in a fall, as in the floor, or in this case, the desk. This finding is in marked distinction from the “coup” contusion, or that injury which results from a moving object (example–a ball bat) that strikes a stationary head. In the coup injury, there is bruising of the brain on the same side as the external injury. There was no coup contusion in Lori Klausutis.
What would cause a seemingly healthy young woman, an avid runner, to collapse and lose consciousness, unable to break her fall? Berkland rules out some of the common causes of such an event–a pulmonary embolus, a brain hemorrhage, a ruptured aneurysm, drug issues. He concludes:
These facts leave only a cardiac arrhythmia as the reason to go unconscious and subsequently fall and strike the desk in an unprotected fashion. If Lori’s heart was normal, it would be problematic to postulate a plausible reason for a cardiac arrhythmia in such a young person. However, her heart was not normal. The heart contained an abnormality (floppy mitral valve) that is known to result in cardiac ectopy and dangerous cardiac arrhythmias.
All of this sounds reasonable. But given recent events, can Michael Berkland’s work be trusted? Why on earth was he keeping body parts in a storage unit? And did any of those parts once belong to Lori Klausutis?
According to the Daily Kos, Dr. Berkland and his supervisor at the time, Dr. Gary Cumberland were known to be high-giving donors to Scarborough’s Congressional campaigns. Did their relationship with Scarborough influence any and all the results issued by the M.E.’s Office?