Monday, March 20, 2006


The Strange Case of the Dead Girl in Joe Scarborough’s Office.

Posted: 2003-08-21 10:56

I started this thread because there appears to be a general lack of information about the death of Lori Kaye Klausutis, an aide to then-GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough, who now makes his living on MSNBC accusing Democrats of doing bad things.

On the morning of July 20, 2001, Lori Klausutis was found dead in Congressman Scarborough's Fort Walton Beach office. Scarborough, who had announced a month before her death that he was leaving Congress "to spend more time with his family," was "unavailable for comment" following her death. Female employee found dead in Scarborough's district office

His reticence was not shared by the medical examiner, Michael Berkland, who announced to reporters within a day after the body was discovered it was his "understanding" that Klausutis "had prior health problems." These prior problems likely did not include a skull fracture, however -- which was the immediate cause of her death. Autopsy shows aide died of fatal head injury (Note: Berkland's curious professional history is described in more detail below)

The local police chief, Steve Hogue, initially denied that there were any signs of trauma to Klausutis' body, a claim that medical examiner Berkland later said was a well-intentioned lie meant to prevent people from questioning how she died: "The last thing we wanted to do was answer 40 questions about a head injury." Those questions might have included queries about who had been the last person to see Lori Klausutis alive. According to the police report, lights were seen on in the office where Klausutis was found about three hours before her body was discovered. The security guard who patrolled the office complex, however, said the doors were locked and the lights out.

Although acknowledging that Klausutis was killed by a blow to the head, Berkland claimed that she suffered from a previously-undiagnosed heart condition that he "thought" caused an arrhythmia that cut off the flow of blood to her brain. Diagnosing this condition required a microscopic examination of her heart and brain tissue, according to Berkland. When this arrhythmia occurred, she passed out and suffered the fatal blow as she fell to the floor. Heart condition led to aide's death

Contrary to Berkland's initial claim that Klausutis was in poor health, she was in fact "a healthy, vivacious young woman" who ran in marathons and was an active member of her community -- according to members of her family, as later acknowledged by her boss, Congressman Scarborough. Lori Klausutis, July 27, 2001 column by Joe Scarborough (Note: Scarborough apparently participated in spreading initial reports that Klausutis was in poor health. For this and a few words about Congressman Scarborough's ... interesting ... worldview see the paragraphs that follow)

Klausutis was consistently described as vivacious and outgoing, and earned the nickname "Little Mary Sunshine." But the day of her death, she appeared nervous, according to a mail carrier who saw her, and said she was not feeling well but did not elaborate. Aide found dead had said she felt ill

Scarborough's resignation, announced just months after he was sworn in for his fourth term in Congress, was something of a surprise. Report: Florida congressman to resign Scarborough was recently divorced, and there were rumors that he was involved with a staffer in one of his offices. Klausutis was married and her husband was assigned to the nearby Air Force base.

Remarkably, coming at about the same time as the media furor over Democratic Congressman Gary Condit's relationship with intern Chandra Levy (who was missing, but not then known to be dead), there was little published speculation about Klausutis' death. This despite the fact that Scarborough's aides, and apparently Scarborough himself, were the ones who authored the initial claims that she was in ill health: he was cited as telling reporter Anna Dobbin of ABC affiliate WEAR that Klausutis had a history of strokes and epilepsy. His office later denied that he made such a claim. Special Report: "Never Bound by the Truth"

This lack of curiousity was made all the more remarkable by the circumstances surrounding Klausutis' autopsy. The coroner, Michael Berkland, began his career in Missouri, where he was fired as a medical examiner in 1996. His medical license was revoked in 1999 by Missouri for "unethical conduct and knowingly making a false statement" in several autopsy reports written for the Show-Me State ... including false claims regarding handling of brain tissue from several decedents. Associate medical examiner suspended in licensing flap

Berkland contended that the revocation was "politically motivated," and indeed, politics may have played a part in this story ... though not the way Berkland meant. After Missouri took his license, he was suspended in his new job in Florida. His future employment was, apparently, not entirely secure; but his boss, Dr. Gary Cumberland, was a frequent contributor to Scarborough's political campaigns and was so enthusiastic about the Congressman that he may have violated federal election law. Did Dr. Gary Cumberland break campaign donation laws?

Protecting the boss' favorite politician may have been a good call back when the memory of the revocation and suspension were still fresh; but ultimately, Berkland's incompetence was still his undoing. He was fired last month for violating Florida law by failing to complete "dozens of autopsy reports in 2001 and 2002." MEDICAL EXAMINER DISMISSED

There was, of course, no media circus as there would have been were Scarborough a Democrat, and he remains the darling of the American right, no doubt because of his remarkable message of brotherhood and cameraderie for his fellow Americans -- except for those he dubbed "evil" in the wake of 9/11:

Quote:Over the past decade, American leaders have wasted precious resources fighting civil wars in Kosovo and Bosnia.

America’s policy was, in effect, to keep killing Christians until such time they turned over their homes, businesses and government buildings to Muslims. And after the United States had killed enough Christians in Yugoslavia, Muslims were allowed to take control of Bosnia and Kosovo. Now, because of past U.S. support of Muslim factions, groups like the KLA have been empowered to spread their religious revolution to neighboring Montenegro. Some war against Islam, huh?

Don’t bog down pacifists with such details. Just give them a sign and a catchy anti-American phrase. They’ll do the rest.

But make no mistake of it. What they are doing is providing comfort to an evil conspiracy.

That in itself makes them evil.

Comforting the enemy, Oct 5, 2001 column by Joe Scarborough Or perhaps it's his fabulous sense of humor, noted by radio host Don Imus:

Quote:"Don't be afraid to be funny, because you are funny. I asked you why you aren't in Congress. You said that you had sex with the intern and then you had to kill her." To which Scarborough laughed, "Yeah, ha, ha ha, well, what are you gonna do?"

Scarborough Laughs About Dead Staffer

Helluva guy, that Joe Scarborough.
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