A key witness in the death of White House deputy counsel Vincent W. Foster Jr. is asking the House Judiciary Committee to review Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s report on the case when it opens impeachment hearings this week.
Patrick Knowlton, a Washington, D.C. resident suing FBI agents, U.S. Park Police officers and medical examiners involved in the Foster investigation, is making the plea to the committee and charges a broad-based conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with federal investigations into the death.
Knowlton was in Fort Marcy Park in Virginia 70 minutes before the discovery of Mr. Foster’s body. He volunteered information about what he saw in the park on July 20, 1993. In April and May 1994, Knowlton was interviewed by the FBI on behalf of the Special Counsel Robert Fiske’s probe.
The plaintiff in the suit insists he repeatedly told special agent Lawrence Monroe of the FBI that he saw a Honda with Arkansas license plates in the Fort Marcy lot, parked in the same space Foster’s was later found. The Honda he described was older than Foster’s 1989 Honda. Nevertheless, Knowlton says Monroe falsified his account and misreported that he had identified the car he saw as a “1988 to 1990” year model, which coincided with Foster’s 1989 Honda. Because Foster was dead by the time Knowlton visited Fort Marcy Park, his sworn testimony refutes the official conclusion that Foster drove his car there.
Knowlton learned of the allegedly falsified report only because of the reporting of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Telegraph, who filed a story on the discrepancy Oct. 22, 1995. On the same day the Telegraph reached American newsstands, Oct. 24, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s office prepared a subpoena for Knowlton to testify before the Whitewater grand jury.
Two days after that subpoena was prepared, FBI agent Russell Bransford, who worked on both Fiske’s investigation and Starr’s, served it. Beginning that day, at least 24 individuals, including Bransford, began harassing and intimidating him, Knowlton charges.
“Most of these incidents happened in a rapid and coordinated fashion, so that before one man departed, another was approaching,” Knowlton’s suit alleges. “The objects of the harassment were twofold. First, to intimidate and warn plaintiff in connection with his grand jury testimony and second, to destabilize plaintiff and discredit his testimony before the grand jury. This technique of subjecting a witness to an overwhelming campaign of non-verbal harassment to intimidate and warn, or alternatively to destabilize and discredit the witness, is known to federal intelligence and investigative agencies.”
Knowlton’s suit points out that no congressional committee has ever investigated Foster’s death and that Starr’s probe employed many of the same FBI agents Fiske used in the initial inquiry.
Knowlton, a registered Democrat who voted for President Clinton, is represented in the case by attorney John Clarke.
“On Monday, Nov. 16, we hand-delivered documentation of obstruction of
justice in the Vince Foster federal death investigations to every member
of the House Judiciary Committee, along with a cover letter asking that Congress investigate, and suggested questions about Mr. Starr’s “Report on
the Death of Vincent Foster,” said Clarke. He is asking concerned citizens to urge the committee to ask Starr key questions about his report.
See Knowlton’s amended complaint