Lawyer argues to keep Foster photos private

December 04, 2003|By Jan Crawford Greenburg | Jan Crawford Greenburg,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

WASHINGTON - Disclosing photographs of former Clinton administration lawyer Vincent W. Foster Jr.'s body after his suicide in a Virginia park would be an "unconscionable invasion" of his family's privacy and would produce no benefit to society, a lawyer for Foster's sister and widow told the Supreme Court yesterday.

"It has been 10 years, and it's time to give this family some peace," argued attorney James Hamilton, representing Sheila Foster Anthony and Lisa Foster Moody in a case that revisited one of the bitterest episodes of the Clinton presidency.

A lawyer for the Bush administration also urged the justices to reject a request for 10 photographs of Foster's body, arguing that public disclosure would hurt Foster's family and set a precedent that could hinder other criminal investigations.

California attorney Allan Favish is seeking the photographs, saying he doubts the conclusions of five government investigations into Foster's 1993 death, all of which concluded it was a suicide. Favish, who argued on his own behalf yesterday, maintains he is entitled to see them under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Foster, a close friend of the Clintons and a law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton in Arkansas, fatally shot himself, leaving a note blasting what he depicted as Washington's culture of personal destruction. His death became a flash point in the battle between the Clintons and their adversaries.

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