Medical examiners in Los Angeles are investigating the possible poisoning death of one of their own officials who may have worked on the case of Andrew Breitbart, the conservative firebrand who died March 1, the same day Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced probable cause for forgery in President Obama's birth certificate.
Michael Cormier, a respected forensic technician for the Los Angeles County Coroner died under suspicious circumstances at his North Hollywood home April 20, the same day Breitbart's cause of death was finally made public.
"There are mysterious circumstances surrounding his death," said Elizabeth Espinosa, a news reporter for KTLA-TV. "We're told detectives are looking into the possibility that he was poisoned by arsenic."
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Cormier, 61, had been rushed to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank after complaining of pain and vomiting.
"He was transported there early in the morning, and passed away late at night," Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations and Cormier's colleague at the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, told KTLA. "It affects everybody when you lose a co-worker, but we'll proceed and do our job and try to figure out why Michael died."
The hospital then notified Los Angeles Police about Cormier's death.
"At this point we haven't ruled out foul play," police Lt. Alan Hamilton told the Los Angeles Times. "It is one of the things being considered. We are waiting for the coroner's results."
Toxicology results are not expected for five to six weeks.
Sources told the Times several hazardous materials experts and officers searched Cormier's home in search of what may have caused his sudden demise.
"The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that finding the presence of poison does not necessarily mean the death was a homicide, because the substance could have accidentally entered his system," the Times reported.
Hamilton also noted investigations are standard procedure when there's a suggestion of anything other than natural causes in someone's death.
It's still unclear if Cormier personally worked on the probe into Breitbart's death, and WND has left messages with the coroner's office seeking comment.
On April 20, the same day Cormier died, the coroner's office released its findings into the death of Breitbart, stating the 43-year-old conservative media powerhouse died of natural causes, listing cause of death as heart failure.
"No prescription or illicit drugs were detected. The blood alcohol was .04%," the official report said. "No significant trauma was present and foul play is not suspected."
Breitbart was founder of BigGovernment.com among other websites.
The night before Breitbart died, WND senior staff reporter Jerome Corsi arranged for Breitbart to interview Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who the very next day held a news conference to announce there was probable cause to believe President Obama's birth certificate released on April 27, 2011, was a forgery, as well as Obama's Selective Service Card.
"I have known Andrew for nearly 15 years and considered him a friend. His passion and energy for seeking the truth will be greatly missed by the nation. It's almost incomprehensible that he left us so soon," said Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WND.
Matt Drudge paid tribute to his colleague and friend with a posting on the Drudge Report: "In the first decade of the DRUDGEREPORT Andrew Breitbart was a constant source of energy, passion and commitment. We shared a love of headlines, a love of the news, an excitement about what's happening. I don't think there was a single day during that time when we did not flash each other or laugh with each other, or challenge each other. I still see him in my mind's eye in Venice Beach, the sunny day I met him. He was in his mid 20's. It was all there. He had a wonderful, loving family and we all feel great sadness for them today."
Rush Limbaugh called Breitbart an "indefatigable bulldog for the conservative cause."
Sean Hannity told WND: "Andrew was a warrior, though a happy warrior, who relished political combat. He cared deeply for his friends, his family and his country. The movement has lost a passionate advocate. And I have lost a good friend. Andrew and his family are in our prayers."
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