New Article on Baxter Death
by DCDave

Here, at last, is the sort of skeptical article about J.Clifford Baxter's death that we should have seen long before now. It's not all that bad an article, either, but, unfortunately it is in the leading supermarket tabloid, The National Enquirer. There is hardly any better way to discredit a story than to have it published in one of the tabloids, and the propagandists who manage public opinion in the United States know that all too well.

Some examples I can think of were the one about the stewardess that Bill Clinton practically sexually assaulted while Hillary dozed off right beside him. That one appeared in The Star, I believe. The girl was named and quoted, but the story had no legs because of where it appeared. More recently, during the presidential campaign, The Star had a very solid article on the torture practices of the social fraternity that George W. Bush was head of at Yale. You can read that one, with commentary, on my web site at dcdave/article4/011228

The Enquirer, for its part, featured Chris Ruddy with his charges of investigative malfeasance in the Vince Foster death after Ruddy appeared on Sixty Minutes, furthering the notion that skepticism in the Foster case was the bailiwick of crackpots. Even when they look like they might be on your side, it's seldom good publicity to be featured in The Enquirer.

That raises some interesting questions about this article. The second skeptic they quote is a man they identify simply as a former Congressman, John LeBoutillier. LeBoutillier makes some interesting points, but why is he telling these things to The Enquirer, of all people? He has his own column, after all, with a much more serious readership at, the online news service edited by none other than Christopher Ruddy. Neither he nor Ruddy has made one peep about the Baxter death at Newsmax. To their credit, they have carried two good Reed Irvine columns on the Baxter case, but they headlined neither of them, and Ruddy and LeBotillier remain silent..

How did The Enquirer know to seek LeBoutillier out for his opinion? That goes for the other skeptical experts they quote, as well.

LeBoutillier also reveals some information that I do not believe is on the public record to this point. He says that Baxter suddenly got up out of bed, dressed, and drove off to his rendezvous with death sometime after midnight.

How does he know that? I don't believe it's been reported anywhere that the last place Baxter was before driving to where he was discovered dead was home in bed. Has anyone that we know of talked to the widow to nail this question down? If this is, in fact, true, it is virtually the only new information to be found in the article. I believe, also, the revelation that the police have still not ruled out murder is a new one, that is, if that is true.

To keep up their reputation as a less than reliable news source, the article also has some errors in it. The impression is left that the first person to declare the death a suicide was Harris County Medical Examiner, Joye Carter. That distinction belongs to Fort Bend County Justice of the Peace, Jim Richard, who wasn't even going to order an autopsy until protests were raised.

Mention is also made of Carter's involvement in the controversial Paul Wilcher death investigation. They are right there, but they say that Wilcher was investigating events leading up to the Branch Davidian fire. That is off the mark. Wilcher probably made the mistake of trusting Janet Reno and the Clinton administration too much by sharing with them his findings related to the October Surprise and to what "suicided" journalist Danny Casalaro had called The Octopus.

Still, The Enquirer keeps the pot boiling, which is necessary if we are ever going to get any serious answers in what remains a very suspicious death. Here, now, is the Enquirer article:


SPECIAL ENQUIRER INVESTIGATION by David Wright, Kevin Lynch, and Courtney Callahan

The National Enquirer, February 19, 2002

It was murder! That's the stunning verdict of top law enforcement experts who have independently examined the shooting death of Enron executive Cliff Baxter, which was hurriedly ruled a suicide by a controversial medical examiner.

And insiders believe the popular boss' tragic death is linked to the giant energy company whose shoddy dealings and bankruptcy have shattered the lives of thousands of employees. "Mr. Baxter's death was NOT a suicide-and nothing points to a natural death, which leads to the unavoidable conclusion that foul play was involved," said Peter Levin, a veteran prosecutor in Philadelphia.

Baxter, a 43-year-old former vice-president of the Houston-based company, was found dead in his Mercedes just half a mile from his $700,000 home.

He had been steeling himself to testify before congressional committees about Enron's questionable accounting practices-and just dayus earlier had talked to a business associate about "perhaps needing a bodyguard."

"He knew where all the Enron bodies were buried and he was apparently ready to talk," former congressman John LeBoutillier, who attended Harvard Business School with former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, told The ENQUIRER.

"The evidence for foul play is pretty strong. Here's a man who had everything to live for-children he loved and a comfortable future. He's lying in bed in the middle of the night when he suddenly gets up, dresses, gets into his car, drives a short distance and blows his brains out. It doesn't make sense.

"There's billions of dollars missing. If the people involved are capable of cheating, lying and stealing money, it's not going much further to hire a hit man and have someone whacked."

Veteran prosecutor Craig Silverman, who nailed dozens of murderers in his 16 years as chief deputy district attorney of Denver, Colo., told The ENQUIRER:

"A trained killer can make a murder look like a suicide. There are hit men who work for large sums of money and do a very efficient job of killing the the way that suits their clients' purposes." Company insiders say Enron was a cesspool of greed, inflated egoes and illicit sex. And Baxter's friends and co-workers have deep doubts about the so-called suicide of a former boss who knew the inner workings of the firm.

"He wasn't the kind of guy who'd kill himself," his friend Lyndon Taylor told The ENQUIRER.

"Cliff had a happy disposition and I never really saw him get rattled. If someone could have walked out of this Enron scandal it would have been Cliff. He was a survivor." Added another close friend: "Here is a guy with everything in the world to live for. He still had his money, he had a huge yacht and a wonderful family. The thought that he would kill himself is absolutely mind-boggling."

Baxter's body was found at 2:23 a.m. on January 25, Harris County medical examiner Joye Carter completed the autopsy and decided it was suicide by that night-unusual speed, according to insiders.

Dr. Carter has a controversial past, an ENQUIRER investigation reveals. In 1993 she was the District of Columbia Chief Medical Examiner when Washington lawyer Paul David Wilcher was mysteriously found dead in his apartment. Wilcher had been investigating the events leading up to the Branch Davidian fire in Waco, Texas. But no cause of death was ever determined and autopsy reports were never made public.

In February 2001 Carter was fined $1,000 and narrowly escaped being fired for allowing an unlicensed pathologist to perform roughly 200 autopsies in the Houston area. And during her time in Houston, the county has paid hefty damages in two lawsuits brought by whistle-blowers on her staff who alleged official mis-conduct.

Nine days after Baxter's death, police still hadn't publicly supported the suicide verdict. "It's highly significant that the police are being so cautious," a former senior detective told The ENQUIRER. "There are so many questions here-most importantly, why did he leave the house so suddenly? Was he lured by a phone call? Had he agreed to meet someone?

"The fact that the police investigation is still going on tells me that despite what the medical examiner says, the detectives on the ground haven't ruled out murder."

David Martin
February 13, 2002

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