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Late White House deputy counsel Vincent W. Foster Jr. (AP File Photo)


Related Links
_ One Death Altered Path of Presidency (Washington Post, July 20)

_ Full Text: Kenneth Starr's Report on Vincent Foster's Death

_ Supreme Court Report: Background on the Foster Attorney-Client Case

_ Full Coverage: Clinton Accused


The Foster Chronology

Monday, July 20, 1998; Page A09


January: Vincent W. Foster Jr., 48, a friend of President Clinton since childhood, also from Hope, Ark., and once a partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Rose Law Firm, comes to Washington from Little Rock to become deputy White House counsel.

May 19: Seven employees in the White House travel office are fired for "gross mismanagement." But after accusations that it sought to transfer the business to Clinton friends, the White House soon recants most of its criticisms.

July 2: The White House issues a report on the travel office, written by outside auditors. Although the report does not criticize Foster directly, it says his office could have averted the incident but failed to do so.

July 19: Clinton invites Foster and his wife to the White House to watch a movie. Foster declines.

July 20: U.S. Park Police discover Foster's body at Fort Marcy Park in McLean at 6 p.m., dead of a single gunshot wound, and make a first report to the White House at 9:10 p.m., calling the death an apparent suicide. White House staff look for a suicide note in his office.

July 22: Foster's office is searched in the presence of his family and officials from the Park Police, Justice Department, FBI and Secret Service. Initially, the White House claims that no suicide note or other document bearing on his death is found.

July 23: Foster is buried in Hope. The autopsy confirms he died of a gunshot wound to the head and the findings are consistent with a suicide, the Park Police report.

July 28: The White House discloses that in the previous week an unidentified aide discovered undated, torn-up notes inside Foster's briefcase. His notes, found July 26, include a list of psychiatrists and an "argument with himself." They are given to investigators after a 30-hour delay. The time lag later fuels speculation of a con-spiracy and coverup.


Jan. 20: Attorney General Janet Reno appoints Robert B. Fiske to investigate the Clintons' role in the Whitewater real estate venture and their ties to the failed Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan. Fiske announces he will also explore a possible link between Foster's death and his knowledge of the Whitewater scandal.

July 1: Fiske releases his report on Foster's death, reaffirming the Park Police report, ruling it a suicide and finding no evidence of foul play.

July 29: The Senate Banking Committee, led by Alfonse M. D'Amato (R-N.Y.), examines Foster's death, focusing on testimony from Park Police officers.

Aug. 5: Kenneth W. Starr, a Republican and former U.S. solicitor general and federal judge, is appointed independent counsel by a three-judge panel, replacing Fiske. Starr continues the Whitewater and Madison probes, and reopens the Foster investigation.


July 18: The Senate Whitewater commit-tee, also headed by D'Amato, begins holding hearings on Foster's death. Its June 1996 majority report accuses the White House of hindering the Foster investigation but accepts the suicide finding.


Oct. 10: Starr's three-year investigation of Foster's death concludes, reaffirming earlier findings of suicide.


March 30: The Supreme Court delays Starr's efforts to obtain notes taken by Foster's lawyer that may clarify the first lady's role in the travel office affair.

June 25: The Supreme Court rules against Starr on the Foster notes, asserting that attorney-client privilege remains in force even after death.

SOURCE: Staff and wire reports
– Nathan Abse

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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