Law-enforcement officials in California are now speaking out on the mysterious death of one of their own forensic technicians who died the day autopsy results were released for conservative powerhouse Andrew Breitbart.
Michael Cormier, a respected forensic attendant 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.
It’s been reported arsenic poisoning is being investigated as a possibility, but toxicology results are still three to four weeks away.
Today, Det. Rich Wheeler, a homicide supervisor with the Los Angeles Police Department, told WND that Cormier had no connection whatsoever to the investigation into Breitbart’s death.
“No. As far as I know, none,” Wheeler said.
His comment is confirmed by Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations and Cormier’s colleague at the coroner’s office.
“Mr. Cormier was not the attendant on Mr. Breitbart’s case, nor did he do any of the handling nor any of the investigation,” Winter told WND.
Winter says the chief medical examiner at the coroner’s office has put a security hold on the Cormier case, so he’s not at liberty to discuss specifics.
“It allows for law enforcement to complete our investigation, and so that nothing gets out until we make our determination,” he explained, noting holds are often used in officer-involved shootings, an in-custody death and high-profile cases.
“There’s been a lot of speculation in connection with the Breitbart case,” he admitted.
Winter says after he directly told one news agency – which he refused to name – that Cormier was “absolutely” not connected to the Breitbart case, that news agency actually reported the opposite, that he was involved.
“As soon as they did that, I had like 20 different agencies call up [to confirm that],” Winter said. “I spent half the day doing disclaimers [to stress], ‘No, I didn’t say that!’ Sometimes [the media] need to make a big sensational issue.”
Winter described Cormier, 61, as “a good guy,” who was one of 17 forensic techs employed by the office.
“He was a forensic attendant, he would assist the doctors in autopsies,” he explained.
Winter says the coroner’s office has 25 full-time pathologists and 37 consultant doctors.
“If we have to bring in a specialist, such as an anesthesiologist or cardiologist, we’d maybe bring in a consultant to validate what our findings are,” he said.
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 giant 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 suddenly died March 1, 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.
Meanwhile today, an eyewitness who saw Breitbart drop dead outside the Brentwood Restaurant and whose whereabouts were unaccounted for this week has now been found.
Los Angeles private investigator Paul Huebl has located Christopher Lasseter.
In a video provided to WND, Huebl filmed the inside of the Brentwood Restaurant, showing the bar where Breitbart was in conversation and drinking a glass of wine before leaving the restaurant to cross the street.
As Lasseter described the sequence of events, Breitbart jaywalked across the street at an angle.
Lasseter said he did not initially notice anything unusual about how Breitbart looked.
When Breitbart reached the curb across the street, Lasseter said he dropped “like a sack of bricks.”
Lasseter further said he noticed a band of blanched white skin around the top of Breitbart’s forehead, extending around the hairline to the back of Breitbart’s head.
He described Breitbart’s face and skin as “bright red,” in a manner consistent with Huebl’s first interview with him, as Huebl initially reported on his blog, CrimeFileNews.com.
Huebl sold his initial videotape of his first interview with Lasseter to TMZ.com.
Today, WND asked Casey Carver, spokeswoman for TMZ, how much it paid for the video interview and why TMZ had decided not to air the interview.
Carver did not respond to WND’s inquiries.
Additional reporting by Jerome Corsi.