Willey rehashes Vince Foster conspiracy theories, draws parallels to her husband's death, Hsu's attempted suicide

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

In her new book, Kathleen Willey rehashes conspiracy theories regarding Vince Foster's 1993 suicide and suggests possible parallels between Foster's death and the suicide of her husband, a Clinton fundraiser, as well as the reported suicide attempt of Norman Hsu. In fact, numerous investigations have determined that Foster's death was a suicide. Also, independent counsel Robert Ray found that Willey had given conflicting and false information related to her allegations against President Bill Clinton.

In her new book Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton (World Ahead Publishing), Kathleen Willey rehashes conspiracy theories regarding former deputy White House counsel Vince Foster's 1993 suicide and suggests possible parallels between Foster's death and the suicide of her husband, Clinton fundraiser Ed Willey Jr., as well as the reported suicide attempt of Norman Hsu, a fundraiser for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) who was charged with fraud and violating campaign finance laws in California. Further, in an interview with WorldNetDaily published in a November 5 article, Willey asserted that she "[m]ost definitely" suspects that her husband was murdered and that she "ha[s] suspicions" the Clintons were involved. In suggesting parallels between the deaths of Foster and her husband, Willey repeats the false claim advanced by then-Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Christopher Ruddy that Foster was left-handed, while the gun was found in his right hand. Notwithstanding Ruddy's later acknowledgment that the claim that Foster was left-handed was a "factual error," Willey refers in the book to "the left-handed Vince Foster." As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented (here, here, and here), numerous investigations have determined that Foster's death was a suicide.

As Media Matters has noted, on the March 15, 1998, edition of CBS' 60 Minutes, Willey alleged that Bill Clinton fondled her against her will in 1993 during a private White House meeting in which she asked for a paid position in the administration. Clinton denied making any sexual advance toward Willey. As the report by independent counsel Robert Ray noted, "Because the alleged incident arose in an employment context, Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled the allegations could be explored during discovery in Jones [v. Clinton]," the lawsuit in which Paula Jones claimed that Clinton sexually harassed her in an employment context. Ray's report, however, found that "Willey's Testimony to the Grand Jury About the Alleged Incident Differed Materially from Her Deposition Testimony Given in Jones v. Clinton," noting that Willey "said at her deposition ... that [Clinton] did not fondle her." Ray also found that Willey contradicted herself on whether she had told others about the alleged incident, and asserted that Willey gave false information to the FBI.

On Page 67 of Target, Willey writes that "it has not escaped my notice that, less than five months after the left-handed Vince Foster drove to a wooded area in Virginia and used both hands to put a .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, so did my husband":

At just about the same time that Clinton assaulted me on Monday afternoon, a gunshot cracked through the forest in King and Queen County [Virginia]. From a distance, someone heard the shot. My husband was dead.

Some time later, when conspiracy theories started to emerge about Vince Foster's death, people accumulated names of former Clinton associates who had died abruptly -- and conveniently for the Clintons. The list includes a plane crash here, a car accident there, a suicide here... My husband, "Clinton fundraiser, Ed Willey Jr." is on that list. And it has not escaped my notice that, less than five months after the left-handed Vince Foster drove to a wooded area in Virginia and used both hands to put a .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, so did my husband.

Willey's statements echo past claims by Ruddy. As Columbia Journalism Review reported in 1996, "In two chapters of 'The Ruddy Investigation,' both copyrighted in 1994, he questions how the fatal gun could have been found in Foster's right hand when Foster was left-handed." In fact, during the October 8, 1995, edition of 60 Minutes, discussing Ruddy's reporting on Foster's death, co-host Mike Wallace noted that "[t]he fact is that Foster was right-handed, not left-handed." Wallace also noted that "Ruddy acknowledged that error." (Ruddy attributed the error to The Boston Globe.)

Willey goes on to assert that after her husband's death, her "friend Carole" told her that "Ed confided to [Carole's husband] Dann that he'd taken briefcases full of cash to Little Rock during the campaign." She also cites "a blog, The Cocaine Candidacy," which asserted that "Ed Willey, the manager of the Clinton 1992 presidential campaign finance committee, and notable for handling large briefcases full of cash, reportedly avoided airplanes. He died of a gunshot wound which was declared to be a suicide (not unlike Vincent Foster)." Willey then speculates: "So why would he be killed? Because he was carrying illegal money? That's probably not enough reason. But what if, in his desperation, Ed had 'illegally borrowed' from the campaign?" (On Pages 54-55, Willey writes that her husband had used the words "illegally borrowed" to describe how he used his clients' money to "pay the IRS and other bills.") From Page 68:

People ask me whether I believe Ed's death was a suicide. It is a wrenching question, and I doubt I will ever completely resolve it in my mind.

For one thing, I could never answer one question: Why would someone kill Ed?

After his death, my friend Carole told me something I hadn't known. Ed and I spent Christmas 1992 in Colorado with Carole and her husband. One evening during that trip, Ed confided to Dann that he'd taken briefcases full of cash to Little Rock during the campaign. When Carole told me this, I was shocked.

"Well, think about it," she said. "Is there any way he could have done that without your knowing?"

"Well, yeah, sure," I said. I was home all day and I assumed Ed was either at his office or out looking at property. "He had land-use and zoning meetings out in neighborhoods all the time," I said. "I guess he could have flown to Little Rock in the morning and come home the same day, especially if private planes were involved." But if he had done that, I was oblivious. I never saw any hint of it. Still, it makes me wonder. Ed may have been more involved in the Clinton campaign than I was.

I recently saw something on a blog, The Cocaine Candidacy, that explored early, illegal fund-raising activities by the Clintons. In its list of campaign "officials" who died, the site includes this curious notation: "Ed Willey, the manager of the Clinton 1992 presidential campaign finance committee, and notable for handling large briefcases full of cash, reportedly avoided airplanes. He died of a gunshot wound which was declared to be a suicide (not unlike Vincent Foster)." Unless the writer of this blog talked to my friend Carole and her husband, I have no idea how anyone other than the Clintons would know that Ed might have carried cash in briefcases. So why would he be killed? Because he was carrying illegal money? That's probably not enough reason. But what if, in his desperation, Ed had "illegally borrowed" from the campaign?

Willey writes that in the course of working on her book, she asked a "medical examiner" if powder burns on her husband's hand "were indicative of a left-handed person committing suicide" and that the medical examiner gave contradictory answers. According to Willey, the medical examiner provided a "full report" in which the medical examiner "suggested that he [Ed Willey] held the gun with both hands but pulled the trigger with his right." Willey adds: "That's exactly how Vince Foster is said to have killed himself." Willey also writes: "Despite the unanswered questions, I reconciled in my mind, long ago, that Ed killed himself. In my heart, I don't want to think so and I still wonder, How could he possibly do that? I go back and forth. And, as I do, the possibility lingers, logical or not, that Ed was murdered."

Discussing the suicide notes that Ed Willey left, Willey asserts that "How anyone could sit and write such letters is beyond me," adding, "And while the letters are in his writing, I also know that anyone would write anything at gunpoint." In the book's index, this incident is listed as "suspicious suicide notes" under the heading "Willey, Ed, Jr." From Pages 68-70:

After Ed died, I asked the police where he'd gotten the gun, a Smith and Wesson .38 Special. They told me it was unregistered, though they later tracked it to a woman in North Carolina. I still don't know who she was. To this day, I think there's a lot the state police didn't tell me, to protect me.

I watch criminal dramas on television, so I asked Dan, my lawyer, if there were powder burns on Ed's hand. Yes, he assured me, the evidence is solid. Ed had powder burns on his right hand. I shivered. Ed was left-handed.

Writing this book opened old wounds as I began to question Ed's death again. I requested a copy of his autopsy report and spoke to a medical examiner, who told me the powder burns were consistent with suicide. When I asked if the burns were indicative of a left-handed person committing suicide, she said no. The room started to spin, and I went into the bathroom and threw up. By the time she sent me the full report, though, she'd reconsidered, saying it could be consistent with a left-handed person. She suggested that he held the gun with both hands but pulled the trigger with his right. That's exactly how Vince Foster is said to have killed himself.

The report raised other questions, too. For one, it said that there was blood spatter, not on his palm, but on the back of Ed's left hand. If he pulled the trigger with his right hand, why would his left hand have been facing away from his face?

I noticed something else.

After death, the blood in the body pools to the lowest parts of the body due to gravity. In several hours, the blood "fixes" in this position, no longer shifting when the body is moved, so medical examiners look for "livor" or "livor mortis" to indicate the position of the body in the hours after death. When the sheriff found Ed, he was lying face down with the gun underneath him. He had been in that position overnight, so livor should have been fixed on the front of his body. But, according to the autopsy report, livor was complete, it's distribution posterior, on the back of his body. His body might have been moved.

Also, according to the autopsy, the bullet was not recovered.

I have not seen the police report, so I do not know if they searched the woods for the bullet. I do not know if they examined the area for blood spatter or other evidence that Ed did, indeed, die beside that swamp. I do not know why Ed would have gone to King and Queen County, to that particularly ugly place. I do not know where in the world Ed would have obtained a .38 Special, or whether he had personally purchased the box of bullets that the police recovered in his car. There's a lot I don't know.

I had been told that Jane-Lee found Ed's suicide notes were in his office, but the medical examiner's report noted, "Exam at site revealed five notes." There was one for each of us -- me, Shannon, Patrick, and a couple of others. Ed wrote his good-byes, said he'd done a bad thing, and wished us well. He told me he was a fool and out of control. He told Shannon that she was going to be a great doctor. He told my son to look after Shannon and me. And he asked us to forgive him. How anyone could sit and write such letters is beyond me. But then, I could never understand how he could leave us, either. And while the letters are in his writing, I also know that anyone would write anything at gunpoint.

I know, this is the point where people say, "Ah, she's nuts."

Despite the unanswered questions, I reconciled in my mind, long ago, that Ed killed himself. In my heart, I don't want to think so and I still wonder, How could he possibly do that? I go back and forth. And, as I do, the possibility lingers, logical or not, that Ed was murdered.

In the November 5 article, WorldNetDaily reported that Willey "points a finger of suspicion at the former first couple for the death of her husband, who was believed to have killed himself." From the article:

In a new book alleging a campaign of slander and intimidation orchestrated chiefly by Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Willey points a finger of suspicion at the former first couple for the death of her husband, who was believed to have killed himself.

Willey, who claims she was groped by President Clinton in the White House, acknowledged in an interview with WND today that she stands by the speculation she poses about her husband's demise in "Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton," set for release this week by World Ahead Publishing, WND Books' partner.

Asked if she suspects her husband Ed, a lawyer and son of a prominent Virginia lawmaker, was murdered, Willey replied, "Most definitely."

"I'm having someone with a forensics background look at this, and I intend to pursue this further, now that these questions have been raised," she told WND, pointing to alleged discrepancies in the autopsy report.

Does she believe the Clintons were involved?

"I do have suspicions," Willey said, "yes."

Willey also asserts that after failing to appear at a September 5 court date, Hsu "boarded the California Zephyr, a passenger train that stops in Denver en route to Chicago. As his train rolled through Colorado, Hsu fell ill and Amtrak personnel called paramedics. Hospitalized for a few days, Hsu was taken into custody and finally, to jail. Meanwhile, a few Hsu acquaintances received explicit suicide notes, allegedly signed by Norman Hsu and mailed about the time he got sick." In fact, The New York Times reported September 22 that according to Hsu's lawyer, James J. Brosnahan, Hsu "had taken an overdose of sleeping pills, which led to his hospitalization." Further, according to an October 18 New York Daily News article, "Hsu's effort to kill himself is detailed in court papers obtained Wednesday by The News. The 'excessive number of over-the-counter pills' eventually led Hsu's kidneys to fail and induced severe delirium." Willey goes on to claim that the "questions" surrounding Hsu's suicide attempt "echo -- precisely -- the many lingering concerns about the Clinton's fundraising irregularities, 'irregularities' that may well have involved my husband and even his death." From Page 240:

Hsu boarded the California Zephyr, a passenger train that stops in Denver en route to Chicago. As his train rolled through Colorado, Hsu fell ill and Amtrak personnel called paramedics. Hospitalized for a few days, Hsu was taken into custody and finally, to jail. Meanwhile, a few Hsu acquaintances received explicit suicide notes, allegedly signed by Norman Hsu and mailed about the time he got sick. A few days later, since Hsu had forfeited a measly $2 million bail just a week earlier, the Colorado prosecutor asked for $50 million bail saying, "It seems like Monopoly money at this point." The judge set bail at $5 million.

In an effort to distance herself from Hsu's tangled web, Hillary pledged to return $850,000 of Hsu's donations. However, a campaign spokesman said the individual contributors could make new donations. "We will accept their contributions and ask them to confirm for our records that they are from their own personal fund," Howard Wolfson wrote in an e-mail.

But the Clintons' possible involvement doesn't end there. Many questions remain regarding Hillary's fundraising efforts. Did Hsu break laws to raise more than a million dollars for Hillary and other Democrats? What did Hillary or her staff know about his activities and when did they know it? How did Hsu finance the $2 million bail that he forfeited? And did he really intend to commit suicide?

The questions don't surprise me. They echo -- precisely -- the many lingering concerns about the Clinton's fundraising irregularities, "irregularities" that may well have involved my husband and even his death.

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