NYC Medical Examiner Dismisses Epstein ‘Homicide’ Claim by Dr. Michael Baden

Robyn Beck/ReutersNew York City’s chief medical examiner pushed back hard Wednesday against a celebrity pathologist-for-hire’s conspiracy-stirring claim that Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy was more consistent with homicide than suicide.“The original medical investigation was thorough and complete. There is no reason for a second medical investigation by our office,” said Dr. Barbara Sampson.Sampson determined Epstein died by suicide from hanging in his jail cell in August, while he was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.Epstein’s lawyers and family have refused to accept her finding, and the disgraced financier’s brother hired Dr. Michael Baden—erstwhile host of HBO’s Autopsy—to do his own investigation.Jeffrey Epstein’s Death Ruled Suicide by Hanging: New York City Medical ExaminerDuring an appearance Wednesday morning on Fox News, where he is a contributor, Baden said his own review isn’t complete but nonetheless suggested that suicide isn’t the cause of death.He claimed a collection of neck fractures in Epstein’s hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage “are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation.”“I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case,” Baden said.Although more common in homicidal strangulation cases, some studies have found that hyoid and thyroid fractures are not rare in suicidal hangings.A 2000 study in Australia found fractures in nearly half the 40 suicide cases it examined and said they were even more common in older victims and men; in fact, 15 percent had fractures of both the hyoid and the thyroid. And a 2010 study out of Thailand found such fractures in 25 percent of the confirmed suicides it reviewed.After His Suicide Watch Ended, Jeffrey Epstein Was Left to Look After HimselfBaden, who observed the autopsy performed by Sampson, served briefly as the city’s chief medical examiner before being fired in 1979 by then-Mayor Ed Koch in response to a complaint that he told doctors during a guest-speaking event that Gov. Nelson Rockefeller had died during sexual intercourse.Three years later, he was dismissed as chief deputy medical examiner by Suffolk County, New York, over a magazine article about ways to kill that wouldn’t show up in an autopsy; he protested that he was misquoted.In the ’70s, Baden helped Congress investigate the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.—he concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray, respectively, were the killers—but became famous for serving as a private pathologist in high-profile cases like the Aaron Hernandez suicide, the O.J. Simpson murder trial, and the Jayson Williams shooting. He also served as a defense witness in the Phil Spector murder trial, where he reportedly testified that he had no conflict of interest in the case even though his wife was heading Spector’s legal team.Baden isn’t the only one skeptical about the official account of Epstein’s death at the high-security federal lockup in Manhattan, which is currently the subject of a Justice Department probe.Spencer Kuvin, a lawyer representing victims of Epstein, said serious questions remain, including the whereabouts of the guards assigned to monitor him, why the cameras outside his cell apparently didn’t work, and why he was taken off suicide watch.“It all makes no sense. Until they come out with the evidence, I don’t believe anything they’re telling us,” Kuvin said. “Exactly what happened I can’t tell you, but I certainly don’t believe the story they’re trying to feed everyone.”Sigrid McCawley, an attorney at Boies Schiller Flexner, the law firm representing some of Epstein’s victims, said the ongoing Justice Department probe “limits what can and should be said at this time.”“But as the public has come to to understand the horrifying scope and scale of the international sex trafficking system he operated for decades with impunity, what really matters for the brave survivors who are seeking justice is how he lived, not how he died,” she said. “That is how the man should be judged.”Kuvin said his clients are “more interested in seeing co-conspirators prosecuted” than in delving into Epstein autopsy theories.“The justice system failed. They either allowed him to take his own life or someone got in there and killed him,” Kuvin told The Daily Beast. “Either way, it’s a failure of the Justice Department… [which] has failed them repeatedly over the last 13 years. This was just one more time.”If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

PHOTOS: Yugoslavia’s brutalist relics fascinate the Instagram generation

Genex Tower is unmissable on the highway from the Belgrade airport to the center of the city. Its two soaring blocks, connected by an aerial bridge and topped with a long-closed rotating restaurant resembling a space capsule, are such an unusual sight, the tower, built in 1977, has become a magnet for tourists despite years of neglect. The tower is one of the most significant examples of brutalism — an architectural style popular in the 1950s and 1960s, based on crude, block-like forms cast from concrete.

China pushes higher ‘moral quality’ for its citizens

From budgeting for rural weddings to dressing appropriately and avoiding online porn, China’s Communist Party has issued new guidelines to improve the “moral quality” of its citizens. Officials have released several sets of guidelines this week alongside a secretive conclave of high-ranking officials in Beijing which discusses the country’s future direction. Public institutions like libraries and youth centres must carry out “targeted moral education” to improve people’s ideological awareness and moral standards, according to the rules.

Tucker Carlson and Guest Blame Diversity and ‘Woke’ Culture for California Fires

Fox NewsFox News host Tucker Carlson and his guest, conservative YouTube personality Dave Rubin, both insisted Tuesday night that the wildfires burning across California are due largely to progressive ideology, “woke” culture, and diversity in hiring.During Tuesday’s broadcast of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Carlson welcomed on Rubin, a political commentator and podcaster, to discuss the issues surrounding the large fires engulfing the state, including those related to the electrical grid and firefighting methods.“PG&E; strikes me as almost a metaphor for the destruction of the state,” Carlson said about the state’s power company. “Here’s the utility which doesn’t really know anything about its own infrastructure but knows everything about the race of its employees. How did we get there?”After noting that he lives near one of the fires in the Los Angeles area, Rubin immediately took aim at liberal politics as the main reason the wildfires have grown so large and dangerous.“The problem right now is that everything, EVERYTHING, from academia to public utilities to politics, everything that goes woke, that buys into this ridiculous progressive ideology that cares about what contractors are LGBT or how many black firemen we have or white this or Asian that, everything that goes that road eventually breaks down,” he declared.As Carlson nodded and said “that’s true,” Rubin continued, complaining that this isn’t how “freedom is supposed to operate.”“What is supposed to happen—imagine if your house was on fire,” he added. “Would you care what the public utility or what the fire company, what contractor they brought in, what gender or sexuality or any of those things he or she was? It’s just absolutely ridiculous.”The Fox News host continued to agree with Rubin, who went on to tie PG&E;’s preemptive blackouts to a lack of “libertarian or conservative-minded people in California to fight what the progressives are doing to the state.”“If you can’t keep the lights on and you can’t keep the place from burning down, you’ve reached the point where there is no kind of lying about it anymore,” Carlson concluded. “It’s falling apart. It’s a disaster. It’s not civilized anymore.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Judge Allows Covington Student’s $250 Million Suit against WaPo to Move Forward

A Covington Catholic High School student can move forward with his defamation suit against the Washington Post, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled on Monday.U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman of Kentucky had ruled in July that the student, Nicholas Sandmann, could not sue the Post for defamation. Bertelsman partially reversed that decision on Monday, ruling that of 33 allegedly defamatory statements in the Post’s coverage of Sandmann, three of those statements could be challenged in court.”The Sandmann family and our legal team are grateful that Judge Bertelsman has allowed the case to proceed,” said Sandmann family attorney Todd McMurtry in an email to the Washington Times. “The Court’s ruling preserves the heart of the Nicholas Sandmann’s claims. We can consider this a huge victory and look forward to initiating discovery against the Washington Post.”On January 18 of this year, Sandmann and classmates were in Washington, D.C. to participate in the March for Life, an annual pro-life demonstration. A viral video of Sandmann and his classmates appeared to show a confrontation between the students and a Native American man, Nathan Phillips.Sandmann and several other students were wearing MAGA hats, and the Post asserted in its coverage of the incident that the students had blocked Phillips on his way to the Lincoln Memorial. Phillips told the Post that the students had surrounded him.The three defamatory statements approved by Bertelsman for further investigation assert that Sandmann blocked Phillips’s path.The students were pilloried as racist on social media when the video went viral. However, longer videos of the incident showed that Phillips had in fact approached the students and started to drum loudly when he came close to Sandmann. The students were also chanting during the incident with permission of their instructor, to drown out the shouts of a group of black nationalists nearby who were yelling insults such as “fa**ot” and “cracker” at the group.Covington Catholic High School cancelled classes for several days after the incident due to online harassment of its students.

Exclusive: How Lebanon’s Hariri defied Hezbollah

After hitting a dead end in efforts to defuse the crisis sweeping Lebanon, Saad al-Hariri informed a top Hezbollah official on Monday he had no choice but to quit as prime minister in defiance of the powerful Shi’ite group. The decision by the Sunni leader shocked Hussein al-Khalil, political advisor to Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who advised him against giving in to protesters who wanted to see his coalition government toppled. The meeting described to Reuters by four senior sources from outside Hariri’s Future Party captures a critical moment in the crisis that has swept Lebanon for the last two weeks as Hariri yielded to the massive street protests against the ruling elite.