Death of White House lawyer still a mystery

FEDERAL investigators turned yesterday to the grieving family of deputy White House legal advisor, Vincent Foster, in search of an explanation for his death by apparent suicide in a suburban Washington park early last week.

Mr Foster was buried on Friday in an emotional ceremony in Hope, Arkansas, attended by his boyhood friend President Bill Clinton and scores of other national and state government dignatories. But it remains a mystery why Mr Foster, who was 48, would have taken his own life.

At a service in the St Andrew's Cathedral in Hope, President Clinton offered a eulogy to his lifelong friend, characterising him as a 'complicated person', whose complexity made him 'more interesting, but no less admirable'.

Concluding his address, the President cited lyrics from the 1960s rock singer, Leon Russell: 'I love you in a place that has no space or time. I love you for my life. You are a friend of mine.' And he added: 'Go well, my friend, and Godspeed.'

While investigators of the Park Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have confirmed that the circumstances of the death appear to be 'consistent with suicide', no motive has been established, nor is there any clear picture of Mr Foster's movements in his final hours. The possibility that he was murdered has not been publicly ruled out.

The investigators said they had deferred to the grief of Mr Foster's family and friends by delaying detailed interviews with them until after the funeral. In particular, they are anxious to establish the ownership of the antique handgun lying close to the body.

Mr Foster was discovered near his car early on Tuesday evening in a park on the outskirts of the capital. He had been killed by a bullet fired into the mouth. He was last seen alive by colleagues in the White House about five hours earlier.

The only explanation that Mr Foster's friends and relatives could come up with was that he had been depressed about the fortunes of the Clinton administration, and in particular about press criticism of his role in the bungled sacking in May of the White House travel staff.

Some newspapers, led by the Wall Street Journal, have also questioned the dominant presence in the administration's legal staff of friends and former colleagues from Hillary Clinton's Rose Law Firm in Little Rock. The so-called 'four-partner' team included Mr Foster, Associate Attorney-General Webster Hubbell, Associate White House Counsel William Kennedy and Mrs Clinton herself. For the first time, the White House press spokeswoman, Dee Dee Myers, has acknowledged that Mr Foster had appeared to be withdrawn before his death. 'People had noticed he was down and were worried about him,' she commented.

The Washington Times yesterday quoted a 'family source' as suggesting that Mr Foster's calm exterior over recent weeks had in fact been a 'porcelain shell', concealing a person torn apart by self-doubt about his new position in Washington. 'Close friends told him to cool things and relax, and not take things so personal,' the source was cited as saying.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Negotiator - OTE £23,000

£13500 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning, Bolton base...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future