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Stories about mysterious deaths of people associated with the Clintons have been around since the 1990s.
The “Clinton body count” list apparently originated on an Internet site in 1994 run by an Indianapolis lawyer and conspiracy theorist named Linda Thompson, of the American Justice Federation, a pro-militia not-for-profit organization that is perhaps best known for its series of films about black helicopters, secret FEMA camps, and other roundly debunked stories of the mid-1990s:
Thompson operates out of her American Justice Federation office, an ornate suite wedged between a chiropractor’s office and a Domino’s pizza shop in a suburban Indianapolis strip mall. Here she markets her main product, antigovernment videotapes, including two Waco collections. According to Thompson’s videos, the assault on the Waco compound was not a massive federal blunder; it was a murderous conspiratorial undertaking on multiple levels, orchestrated by the forces of the New World Order. In her most recent video, “America Under Siege,” she claims that “black helicopters” follow her and her family virtually everywhere they go, that concentration camps are quietly being built all over the country to round up protesting citizens, that the strips of tape on the backs of road signs are markers for United Nations troops who will be brought in to enforce martial law, and that the Clintons are behind scores of assassinations.
Thompson passed away in 2009 after a prescription drug overdose, but the nonprofit remains. As of 2017, it is still putting out web documentaries:
“Antifa” is the third episode in the “America Under Siege” documentary web-series releasing over the course of 2017. Each episode profiles the influence of radical Marxists on various segments of American society. Dressed in all black from head to toe, wearing masks, wielding bats, and throwing urine bottles while chanting “No Trump, No Wall, No USA at All!,” the radical leftist group called “Antifa”, short for Antifascist Action, has received widespread coverage in the media. Working with Dangerous Documentaries, director Judd Saul and conservative commentator Trevor Loudon unveil the real history, motives, and goals of the Antifascist movement in America and around the world.
The list also remains, and over the years it has metastasized and worked its way into the public discourse in many ways. It even came up in sworn testimony that White House employee Linda Tripp gave to Judicial Watch chairman Larry Klayman (another far-right conspiracy theorist who has made a name for himself with decades of frivolous lawsuits against the Clintons, among others) in December 1998.
Tripp testified that a handwritten list of people who were involved with Clinton and who had suffered mysterious deaths ended up on her office chair in the White House, just before the sex scandal between White House Intern Monica Lewinsky and President Clinton became known publicly. Tripp said that the list was accompanied by a note that said, “Linda, just thought you’d find this of interest.”
There is no credible evidence that any of the deaths are related or can be attributed to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Further, some of the descriptions of the deaths are not accurate.
Although is true that some of the deaths on this list had some connection with Bill Clinton, or with someone who was in Clinton’s sphere, and that many of them died violently or by suicide (raising the question of whether their deaths were related and whether any of the deaths can be linked in any way to Bill Clinton), there are many well-known historical events that are surrounded by unanswered questions.
A lack of answers to the questions doesn’t mean that the questions are meaningless or that new facts couldn’t be found. It is easier to come up with questions, however, than to come up with answers, and if we are to come to any conclusions, it should be based on evidence, not just the fact that questions exist.
eRumor: James McDougal, Clinton’s convicted Whitewater partner, died of an apparent heart attack while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr’s investigation.
The Truth: McDougal died on Sunday, March 8, 1998 in John Petersmith Hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas. He had been serving a federal prison sentence for fraud in connection with the Whitewater land deal. At first, he claimed to be innocent, but after being convicted of 18 felony counts, he cooperated with Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s investigation of the Clintons. He was scheduled to give damaging testimony against the Clintons, although critics of the investigation say his testimony had previously been inconsistent and that nothing new was expected to be revealed. A prison spokesman said McDougal died of a heart attack and had been suffering from heart disease and blocked arteries.
eRumor: Mary Mahoney, a former White House intern was murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown. The murder happened just after she was to go public with her story of sexual harassment in the White House.
The Truth: Mary Caitrin Mahoney was murdered over the July 4th weekend in 1997 at the Georgetown Starbucks near Washington D.C. She was the assistant manager and, according to published reports, she and two other employees were working late at night after the coffee bar had closed. All three were found shot to death. No money was taken and there was no sign of forced entry. In 1999, Carl Derick Cooper was charged with the murders, six armed robberies, and other shootings. Mahoney had interned for the White House official responsible for contact with the Asian-American community. TruthOrFiction.com has not found any documentation that she was about to “go public with her story of sexual harassment in the White House” or that her death was anything beyond that of a murder associated with the robbery.
A report in The Washington Weekly explains that journalist Mike Isikoff had written that “a former White House staffer” with the initial “M” in her name was going to go public with a sexual harassment story. Some speculated that he meant Mary Mahoney, and that was why she was killed. Later, it turned out that he was referring to Monica Lewinsky.
eRumor: Vince Foster, former White House councilor, and colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock’s Rose Law firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide.
The Truth: Vince Foster was Deputy White House Counsel and the Clinton’s lawyer. He was found dead in Fort Marcy Park on July 20, 1993. Three investigations into Foster’s death, including one by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, have concluded that the death was a suicide. Critics of the investigations say Foster’s death does not fit the facts of a suicide and that there are a lot of unanswered questions about his death, some of the activities at the White House after his body was found, and the investigations themselves. Although there are numerous theories about what may have happened to Foster and why, none of them has been proven.
eRumor: Ron Brown, Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown’s skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors.
The Truth: Brown and 34 others died on April 3, 1996 when the Air Force jet carrying crashed into a mountainside in Croatia. The Air Force, in a 22-volume report issued in June of 1996, confirmed its initial judgment that the crash resulted from pilot errors and faulty navigation equipment. Subsequent controversy erupted, however, over autopsy photos.
There is a hole in Ron Brown’s skull which investigators say is consistent with a puncture that could have been caused by debris during the crash. Investigative reporter Christopher Ruddy came forward with an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in which he quoted Air Force pathologist, Lt. Col. Steve Cogswell as saying that the hole was perfectly round shape of a 45 caliber bullet. Cogswell had not actually examined the body. Later, another pathologist, Army Lt. Col. David Hause, said he had been working nearby the Ron Brown autopsy, overheard discussion about the round hole, walked over and looked at it and said it seemed like a bullet hole to him. Air Force Col. William Gormley, the pathologist who actually did the Ron Brown autopsy, said, however, that it is more of an indentation than a hole and that if there had been a bullet, there would have been either an exit wound or a bullet found in the body, and there were not. The Justice Department had opened an investigation into Brown’s financial dealings.
eRumor: C. Victor Raiser II and Montgomery Raiser, major players in the Clinton fundraising organization, died in a private plane crash in July 1992.
The Truth: On July 30, 1992, Victor and Montgomery Raiser were killed in a plane crash while on a fishing trip in Alaska. Investigation of the crash by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that it was the result of pilot error. Some “body count” lists have removed the Raisers.
eRumor: Paul Tulley, Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock, September 1992. Described by Clinton as a “dear friend and trusted advisor.”
The Truth: His name was spelled “Tully” and he was a top strategist for the Democrats and working with the Clinton campaign. He died of massive heart failure in a Little Rock motel room. There has been no controversy over his death that we could find.
eRumor: Ed Willey, a Clinton fundraiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day his wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fundraising events.
The Truth: Ed Willey was an attorney who owed the IRS $400,000 and had embezzled nearly $270,000 from one of his clients. Willey’s financial woes were a source of stress between Ed Willey and his wife, Kathleen Willey.
There was a reportedly stormy family meeting about it on the night of November 28, 1993 and Ed Willey moved out of the house. The next day, Kathleen Willey went to the White House to see Bill Clinton about a job; she says the president assaulted her during that same visit.
It was later discovered that Ed Willey had driven into the woods on the same day. His body was found by hunters on November 30, 1993. Authorities ruled his death a suicide by shotgun. There was a suicide note apologizing for the financial problems.
eRumor: Jerry Parks, head of Clinton’s gubernatorial security team in Little Rock. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock. Park’s son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton. He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.
The Truth: Jerry Luther Parks was indeed the head of security for the Clinton-Gore Little Rock headquarters in 1992. On September 26, 1996, he was murdered down while driving through a Little Rock intersection by a lone gunman, who reportedly fired seven shots at him. This took place two months after Vince Foster’s death.
Both Parks’ wife and son have said that they believe Parks was murdered and that he feared for his life. His murder has never been solved. According to Gary Parks, Jerry Parks’ son, the files were on the sexual escapades of Bill Clinton, but they were not removed from Parks’ house after his death. According to investigative reporter Christopher Ruddy, the files that Parks had been keeping on Clinton were taken during a burglary several weeks before Parks’ murder.
Clyde Steelman, the homicide sergeant investigating the murders for the Little Rock Police, told reporters that he did not believe the theories of Parks’ son and wife and that he’d found no evidence of the alleged files.
eRumor: James Bunch reportedly had a “black book” containing names of influential people who visited prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas. He apparently died by suicide.
The Truth: We have yet to find any details on this person.
eRumor: James Wilson was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging. He was reported to have ties to Whitewater.
The Truth: James “John” Wilson, a popular leader and political figure in the Washington D.C. area and Chairman of the District of Columbia Council, was found dead on May 19,1993. Authorities ruled Wilson’s death a suicide by hanging. According to numerous articles in the Washington Post, Wilson had long suffered from depression and had twice before attempted suicide. We have found no evidence that he had any information about the Clintons or any ties to Whitewater.
eRumor: Kathy Ferguson, ex-wife of Arkansas trooper Danny Ferguson, was found dead in May 1994 in her living room with a gunshot to her head. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit. Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.
The Truth: Kathy Ferguson was found dead on May 11, 1994, five days after Paula Jones filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton.She died of a gunshot wound to the head and a suicide note was found. Her ex-husband was Arkansas trooper Danny Ferguson, one of those named in the so-called “Troopergate” cases involving those who had been a part of then Governor Clinton’s security detail. He was named in Paula Jones’ suit.
According to an Associated Press article on May 14, 1993, she was found not in her living room, however, but in the apartment of her boyfriend, Sherwood police officer Bill Shelton. The suicide note said, “I can’t stay here any longer. Things will never be the same for us. I can’t take that.”
eRumor: Bill Shelton, Arkansas State Trooper and fiancee of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancee, he was found dead in June 1994 of a gunshot wound.
The Truth: 31-year old Bill Shelton was a police officer in Sherwood, Arkansas, and was indeed engaged to Kathy Ferguson. It was in his apartment that she was found dead. He was one of many of her friends who felt that Ferguson did not commit suicide, and that the coroner’s report was not accurate about her wound being self-inflicted. He was found a month later sprawled over her grave with a gunshot wound to his head that was similar to what the coroner had described as Ferguson’s wound. That death, like Ferguson’s, was ruled a suicide.
eRumor: Gandy Baugh, attorney for Clinton’s friend Dan Lassater, jumped or fell out of the window of a tall building in January 1994. His client was a convicted drug distributor.
The Truth: Gandy Baugh jumped out of a window of a multi-story building and died on January 8, 1994. Published reports say he was defending a man named Dan Lassater in a financial misconduct case. Lassater was an associate of Bill Clinton’s who was convicted of cocaine distribution.
eRumor: Florence Martin, an accountant and CIA subcontractor for the CIA, was related to an airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot wounds.
The Truth: This is an interesting one. Many of the “Body Count” lists say Florence Martin was killed in Mabelle, Texas in 1994. That Florence Martin, however, was a 69-year-old employee of a nearby convenience store and a spokesperson for the Baylor County, Texas District Attorney’s office says she had nothing to do with Bobby Seal, Mena, Arkansas, or the CIA.
eRumor: Suzanne Coleman reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.
The Truth: Still working on this one.
eRumor: Paula Grober was Clinton’s speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death on December 9, 1992. She died in a single-car crash.
The Truth: There is no evidence that there was anything criminal about her death.
eRumor Danny Casolaro was an ivestigative reporter investigating Mena Airport and the Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists in the middle of his investigation.
The Truth: Forty-four year old Danny Casolaro was found dead in the Sheraton hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia on August 10, 1991. His wrists had been slashed. According to an October 14, 1991 People story on his death, he had warned friends and family that his life was in danger, saying it was because of what he called “the story of the century” — but it wasn’t about the Clintons, it was about the Reagan-Bush administration and an alleged effort to delay the freeing of the hostages being held at the time by Iran in order to do damage to President Jimmy Carter’s reelection bid.
Casolaro was told that as a part of that effort, drugs and weapons were being flown into and out of the airport at Mena, Arkansas. Bill Clinton was governor at the time and there have been numerous questions about whether Clinton was in any way involved in any of the activities connected with Mena or protected those who were involved.
eRumor: Paul Wilcher, an attorney investigating corruption at Mena Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 “October Surprise,” was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993 in his Washington, D.C. apartment. He had delivered a report to Attorney General Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.
The Truth: In his report to the AG, Wilcher said that he was in grave danger and that if the information he had for Reno fell into the wrong hands, there could be people “silenced in the very near future.”
eRumor: Jon Parnell Walker, Whitewater investigator for Resolution TrustCorp., jumped to his death from his Arlington, Virginia apartment balcony August15, 1993. He was investigating the Morgan Guarantee scandal.
The Truth: Undetermined.
eRumor: Barbara Wise, a Commerce Department staffer, worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised, nude body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.
The Truth: According to a report on WRC-TV in the Washington area, Wise’s body was found in a locked office and was partly nude and bruised. The crime has never been solved. There has not been any evidence that her death was related to any of the events involving Ron Brown or John Huang.
eRumor: Charles Meissner was assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang a special security clearance; he died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.
The Truth: Charles Meissner was not killed in a small plane crash, but was among those killed along with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown in the crash of an Air Force plane in Croatia in 1996.
eRumor: Dr. Stanley Heard, chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee, died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton’s advisory council personally treated Clinton’s mother, stepfather and brother.
The Truth: According to the National Transportation and Safety Board, the crash was due to “inadequate annual inspection of the airplane and non-compliance with airworthiness directives by company maintenance personnel.”
The NTSB says the airplane caught fire in the air and crashed while the pilot attempted to make an emergency landing. There is no evidence that we can find that links the crash or Dr. Heard to any criminal investigation.
eRumor Barry Seal, a drugrunning pilot out of Mena, Arkansas, was found dead after his car had hit a utility pole.
The Truth: Several books could be written about Barry Seal. He was a danger-loving pilot who was regarded as the best known cocaine smuggler of the 1980’s. He did not die in a car accident, but was murdered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1986 by three men with machine guns who were later arrested and convicted. Authorities say they were connected with the Medellin drug cartel. Louisiana’s attorney general told U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese in 1986 that Seal smuggled $3 to $5 billion in drugs into the United States.
In 1981, Seal began running his smuggling operation out of a highly guarded and, for a while, secret airport in Mena, Arkansas. That airport and Seal’s activities were to become a part of the investigation into the Iran-Contra controversy from the Reagan administration. There have been questions of whether Bill Clinton, who was governor of Arkansas at the time, may have looked the other way if he knew about the drug smuggling operation, but there has not been proof of that.
eRumor: Hershell Friday, attorney and Clinton fundraiser, died March 1, 1994 when his plane exploded.
The Truth: Saying that his plane “exploded” is misleading. According to the NTSB, it crashed, but without any explosion prior to the crash or causing the crash.
eRumor: Kevin Ives and Don Henry were known as the “boys on the track” case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. A controversial case, the initial report of death said, due to falling asleep on railroad tracks. Later reports claim the two boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a grand jury.
The Truth: This is one of the stories out of Arkansas that has a lot of people asking very tough questions. It is a story that is often told, however, as though it has something to do with Bill Clinton, but no Clinton connection has been established whatsoever, especially with the boy’s deaths. The most notable aspect of the event was that the authorities originally treated the boy’s death as an accident, but it was later clear that they had been killed and their bodies placed on the tracks. Some have said the boys innocently found the secret Mena drug trafficking activities and were killed to keep them silenced. Others have said that the boys discovered a local cocaine dealing operation and were killed by drug dealers.
eRumor: THE FOLLOWING PERSONS HAD INFORMATION ON THE IVES/HENRY CASE:
Keith Coney – Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck, 7/88.
Keith McMaskle – Died stabbed 113 times, Nov, 1988 Gregory Collins – Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.
Jeff Rhodes – He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989.
James Milan – Found decapitated. However, the Coroner ruled his death was due to “natural causes.”
Jordan Kettleson – Was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.
Richard Winters – A suspect in the Ives / Henry deaths. He was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989.
THE FOLLOWING CLINTON BODYGUARDS ARE DEAD:
Major William S. Barkley Jr.
Captain Scott J. Reynolds
Sgt. Brian Hanley
Sgt. Tim Sabel Major
General William Robertson
Col. William Densberger
Col. Robert Kelly Spec.
The Truth: We haven’t confirmed all of these, but as stated above, there isn’t any evidence the Henry and Ives case is connected to Bill Clinton.
Update: A rumor that John Ashe died days before he was scheduled to testify against a Clinton Foundation donor went viral in June 2016. Click here for our investigation into that rumor.
eRumor: A top Democratic Party staffer named Seth Conrad Rich was assassinated in Washington, D.C., in July 2016 while on his way to testify about Hillary Clinton.
The Truth: Democratic staffer Seth Conrad Rich was shot and killed in Northwest D.C. in an apparent robbery, WUSA 9 in Washington reported. Rumors that Rich was assassinated, or that he was on his way to testify about Hillary Clinton at the time of his death, are false and started as Russian propaganda. The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, issued a propaganda piece that reported a Clinton hit team had been connected to Conrad’s death, and that the FBI had “captured” them. The story was picked up by right-wing websites in America, and (false) rumors that a Clinton hit team had assassinated Rich quickly spread. Click here to read our full investigation into Seth Conrad Rich’s death.
eRumor: Former United Nations General Assembly President John Ashe died suddenly and unexpectedly in June 2016 days before he was set to testify about a corruption case involving a Clinton donor.
The Truth: It’s true that John Ashe died suddenly in the middle of a corruption case that involved a former Clinton donor. But prosecutors in the case said that Ashe was not scheduled to testify against Hillary Clinton or the Clinton Foundation in the case. Rather, he was scheduled for regular pre-trial activities. Besides that, the Clintons weren’t involved int he corruption case — even though a controversial Chinese real estate developer who made contributions to the Clintons and the Democratic Party back in the 90s was. Also, Ashe’s family released a statement saying that the 61-year-old had been under the care of a neurologist for two brain “episodes” that were similar to the one that led to his death on June 22, 22016. Ashe’s death doesn’t appear to be suspicious.
Click here to read our full investigation into John Ashe’s death.
eRumor: Scott Robert Makufa, a researcher and author who wrote books that were critical of the Clintons under the pen name Victor Thorn, was mysteriously shot and killed on the morning of his 54th birthday on a mountaintop in Pennsylvania.
The Truth: Victor Thorn’s family has said that he committed suicide on the morning of his 54th birthday. Thorn’s brother, William J. Makufa, said in an interview with his brother’s former employer, American Free Press, that Thorn “absolutely did not like dealing with death and sickness”:
Scott did not want to get old. He was, and we still are and right now, watching my parents who are in their early 80s go through a lot of health issues. I’m sure that played a part. It is also my true belief that Scott very much believed that death isn’t the end and we continue on…
He truly believed his journey was done and he wanted to see what came next.
Click here to read our full investigation into Victor Thorn’s death.
eRumor: Shawn Lucas, a 38-year-old man who released a viral video of himself serving the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz with a class action lawsuit alleging fraud for favoring Hillary Clinton in the presidential primaries, died suddenly a month later.
The Truth: Shawn Lucas served the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Shultz with a lawsuit alleging “fraud and other claims” on July 3, 2016. You can watch a video of him serving the DNC here. About a month later, Lucas died suddenly and unexpectedly in Washington, D.C., police and his family have confirmed. The cause and manner of his death have not yet been released to the public, so check back for updates. Claims about Lucas’s death remain unproven.
Click here to read our full investigation into Shawn Lucas’s death.
We will update this page as circumstances warrant.