The U.S. District Court for Central California has ordered the Office of Independent Counsel in Washington, D.C., to release five original Polaroid photographs taken of Vincent Foster, former deputy White House counsel in the Clinton administration, who was found dead in Ft. Marcy Park July 20, 1993 — just six months after Bill Clinton was inaugurated into his first term.
According to Allan J. Favish, an attorney who filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to force the Office of Independent Counsel to release the original Foster photographs, U.S. District Court Judge William D. Keller
ordered the release of the photos Thursday in Los Angeles. (Editor’s note: Page two of the order is
The order comes on the heels of a 2-1 ruling from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 12, 2000, that said, “Favish, in fact, tenders evidence and argument which, if believed, would justify his doubts” about the official government conclusion that Foster committed suicide in the park.
“Of course, what evidence is not to be believed?” Favish said to WorldNetDaily Friday. “The only evidence I gave the court were official government documents. My credibility was not the issue.”
“The decision to release” the photos was “determined by balancing the respective interest of the public and survivors,” Keller wrote in his ruling. “In this case, the appellate court appears to have defined the zone of privacy protection as those photographs that are ‘graphic, explicit, and extremely upsetting,'” and, therefore could not be released.
One of the photos ordered released by Keller reportedly depicts Foster’s “right hand showing gun & thumb in guard,” Keller wrote. Others show the right side of Foster’s body, the top of his head through heavy foliage, and one “looking down” on his body “from top of berm.”
However, Keller — citing restrictions on the release of “explicit” photos and snapshots that invade the Foster family’s privacy rights — chose not to order the release of photos “focusing on face;” “VF’s [Vince Foster’s] body taken from below feet;” “focus on head and upper torso;” “looking down into face;” and one “taken from right side focusing on face and blood on shoulder.”
“I’m certainly glad the judge ordered the photos released,” Favish said, “but regardless of what they show, I plan to appeal” the order in an attempt to release all 10 pictures.
At issue, Favish said, is an earlier published report claiming the existence of a neck wound on Foster’s body that contradicts
an FBI memo written two days after the deputy counsel’s death. (Editor’s note: This document is in .pdf format.)
Following an autopsy of Foster’s body by the Fairfax County Medical Examiner’s office, “preliminary results include the finding that a .38 caliber revolver, constructed from two different weapons, was fired [into] the victim’s mouth with no exit wound,” the FBI report said.
“As you know, there is a controversy over whether one of these photos shows that neck wound which, officially, does not exist,” Favish said.
“I don’t know if the photos [Judge Keller] ordered released show this so-called ‘neck wound’ photo” written about in earlier press accounts.
The “gun in hand photo” ordered released by Keller has “already been leaked to the public back in 1994,” Favish said, noting that the Ninth Circuit had already ordered that photo released by the OIC, but the independent counsel’s office still has so far refused to do so.