Foster suicide note was a forgery, say experts

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Washington (Reuter) - Someone forged the torn-up suicide note that was discovered after White House lawyer Vincent Foster was found with a fatal gunshot wound, a group of handwriting experts said yesterday.

Three handwriting specialists presented analysis at a news conference of the note found in Foster's briefcase after the deputy White House counsel was found dead on 20 July 1993 in a park near Washington. They said it appeared the note was not written by Foster but was a forgery.

US Park Police and former independent counsel Robert Fiske concluded that Foster had committed suicide and that he had written the note, but his death has given rise to some conspiracy theories that Foster was murdered.

The note, said to have been written days or weeks before Foster died, complained of life in Washington and concluded: "I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here ruining people is considered sport."

The handwriting specialists, former New York police department homicide expert Vincent Scalice, Oxford University manuscript expert Reginald Alton, and Boston private investigator Ronald Rice, said comparisons with a letter Foster had written had enough differences in style and letters to conclude the suicide note was not written by Foster.

John Bates, an associate counsel with Kenneth Starr, Mr Fiske's successor as the independent counsel investigating the Whitewater land deal of President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, said the investigation of the Foster episode "is open and ongoing."

Dr Alton described the "forgery" as done by a "moderate forger, not necessarily a pro, somebody who could forge a check."