- Politics and Social Issues
Clinton Deleted-Emails Researcher Allegedly Kills Self with Belabored Note: "NO FOUL PLAY"
After initially being reported in the press as having "passed away" of natural causes, a Republican researcher who attempted to recover 33,000 emails deleted by Hillary Clinton was in fact ruled as a suicide last May. The ruling came to light only after The Chicago Tribune sought out coroner reports which were not made public. Clinton deleted the emails from the private server she used while she was US secretary of state.
Peter W. Smith, of the exclusive Chicago suburb Lake Forest, was found dead on May 14, 2017 with a helium bag placed over his head in a Minnesota hotel, and a note written all in capital letters saying "NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER."
Smith played an instrumental role in bringing another Clinton family scandal to light, known as "Troopergate," which allegedly took place when Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas.
The Chicago Tribune reported today:
"A Republican donor and operative from Chicago's North Shore who said he had tried to obtain Hillary Clinton's missing emails from Russian hackers killed himself in a Minnesota hotel room days after talking to The Wall Street Journal about his efforts, public records show."
The Tribune reported that, days earlier, Smith gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal which described his efforts to recover the deleted Clinton emails, and that the Journal "had seen emails written by Smith" showing his team of researchers considered retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then an adviser to the Donald Trump presidential campaign, as an ally.
Soon after the Journal interview, Legacy.com's obituary said of Smith:
"Peter W. Smith, 81, of Lake Forest, Ill,, passed away on May 14, 2017. He is survived by his wife Janet, three children, Linda (Ransom), William and David Smith, and three grandchildren Tommy, Sara, and Ryan Ransom."
However, the Tribune said today:
"the Chicago Tribune obtained a Minnesota state death record filed in Olmsted County saying Smith committed suicide in a hotel near the Mayo Clinic at 1:17 p.m. on Sunday, May 14. He was found with a bag over his head with a source of helium attached."
A note found by police, according to police records, read:
"NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER...BAD TURN IN HEALTH SINCE JANUARY, 2017...TO LIFE INSURANCE OF $5 MILLION EXPIRING."
A friend of Smith's, Wall Street investment banker Charles Ortel, who spoke to Smith on the day before he died and rejects the suicide ruling, said it was uncharacteristic for the literate and punctilious Smith to use all capital letters. Ortel told The Daily Caller yesterday in a exclusive:
“I don’t remember a single [email] in all cap letters...To put that in a suicide note as many times as he did and in language that’s not really professional doesn’t sound like him.”
Ortel said that when he spoke to Smith he did not sound like a man who was about to take his own life. Ortel said Smith "was excited to learn the particulars of a project we had been discussing.”
Smith first thrust himself into the public eye when he involved himself in "Troopergate," a controversy which took place during Bill Clinton's first term of office, in which a number of Arkansas state troopers stepped forward to assert that they had been misused to arrange and guard Clinton's trysts with women at hotels while he was governor of Arkansas. Smith once donated $25,000 to a fund benefiting Arkansas state troopers who lost jobs and income as a result of stepping forward and speaking out against the Clintons.
Troopergate had its own share of mysterious deaths associated, including those of Kathy Ferguson, the ex-wife of Arkansas state trooper Danny Ferguson, who was a co-defendant with Bill Clinton in a civil lawsuit brought by Paula Jones, and Kathy Ferguson's fiance, Arkansas police officer Bill Shelton. Shelton had been vocally proclaiming that Kathy Ferguson did not commit suicide. Before her death, Ferguson was to become a corroborating witness for Paula Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton. Both Ferguson and her fiance Shelton were ruled suicides by self-inflicted gunshots to the head.
The journalist who broke open Troopergate in a 1994 article for the American Spectator, "His Cheatin' Heart," is David Brock, who began his career as a right-wing reporter before switching sides and aligning himself with the Clintons and the Democratic Party, is the founder of Media Matters, a Democratic Party communications arm.
Brock is the former long-time partner of another Democratic Party player who has found himself in the spotlight recently, Washington DC pizza shop owner James Alefantis, whom GQ once named one of the "50 most Powerful People in DC." Alefantis is an associate of John Podesta, a former chief of staff for Bill Clinton when he was president and Hillary Clinton's campaign manager in her 2016 run for president. Alefantis is one of the addressees in the emails belonging to Podesta which were published by Wikileaks last year, whose public social media accounts were then examined by Internet researchers. The researchers found, among Podesta's circle of friends, rampant imagery of children in a sexualized context, which has come to be known as "Pizzagate."
Before his death, Peter W. Smith wrote a blog, PeterWSmith.com. Smith believed that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is in possession of copies of the 32,000 emails deleted by Hillary Clinton which came to light in the Clinton email server scandal, in which Clinton was investigated by the FBI for using an unsecure private server for US State Department business.
Smith becomes the latest in a number of other deaths in the political sphere in which critics have challenged law enforcement rulings as inadequate to the circumstances. Last summer, in an unprecedented move, Wikileaks posted a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the killer or killers of DNC database guru Seth Rich, after Rich was murdered in what was described by DC police as a botched robbery. The Wikileaks reward was a certain indication from Julian Assange that Rich was a source, perhaps for the DNC email leak. Wikileaks is constrained by a policy of never revealing a source by name.
Month's later, a Bernie Sanders supporter who had gone viral on Youtube after serving a lawsuit on the DNC, 38 year-old Shawn Lucas, was found dead of a powerful opiate overdose, even though he was never known by his friends to use such drugs. The lawsuit centered on the DNC's violation of its mandate to be impartial in the Democratic presidential primary.
And on August 1, 2017, famed Clinton researcher and author of three books critical of the Clintons, Victor Thorn, was found dead on a mountaintop, also of a gunshot wound which was ruled as self-inflicted.