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Sep-22-2011 22:50printcomments

Author of Deceitful Deals? Joe McGinniss, Sarah Palin and Jeffrey MacDonald

McGinniss deceived and burned a Green Beret doctor in a previous book, even The BBC has refuted his allegations, Sarah Palin is in Trouble.

McGinniss, Palin and MacDonald
McGinniss, Palin and MacDonald

(SALEM, Ore.) - Every time I think about the author Joe McGinniss writing a book about Sarah Palin, I have to chuckle, what a guy that Joe. He's published by Random House and that is very fitting, because random

I think of this author and I am immediately called back to my days of correspondence with former Army Green Beret Captain Jeffrey MacDonald, a Vietnam War-era military doctor who was convicted of murdering his wife and small children in their Fort Bragg home.

The terrible crime that would lead to Dr. MacDonald's conviction in 1979, happened 17 February 1970. Colette MacDonald, who was 26-years old, was pregnant at the time. Along with the couple's two children, five-year old Kimberly and Kristen who was two, she was stabbed and bludgeoned to death.

Jeff MacDonald received head injuries and multiple stab wounds, one of which collapsed a lung; an injury that kept him hospitalized for a week after the incident. In spite of these wounds, he was arrested for the crimes by the U.S. government shortly after it happened. But the Army allowed numerous military police soldiers to contaminate the evidence scene, and they even allowed reporters to tour the murder scene before a serious investigation was underway.

Dr. Jeff MacDonald, from a 2007 CBS
News report about his shoddy conviction:
Jeffrey MacDonald: A Time For Truth

Many probably recall the book and subsequent film, based on the book McGinniss wrote, about this former officer, called Fatal Vision. The Murder of the MacDonald family was horrendous, but there was never a motive tying it to Jeff MacDonald, and those who wanted MacDonald convicted hid evidence from the defense, and that is a fact. McGinniss spent years in the company of Dr. MacDonald to gain the facts to tell the story.

McGinniss falsely caused MacDonald to believe that the conclusion of the book was in his favor, instead it painted him as a murderer of his own wife and little girls. Sarah Palin is dealing with a trickster, an illusionist.

Dr. Jeff MacDonald and I became acquainted when he was serving time at the federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon. A number of years have passed since we have written, but I can tell you that we are talking about a gracious man who worked hard to become a physician and attended Princeton on a scholarship, prior to joining the U.S. Army. He was shocked that McGinniss used him the way he did.

Colette & Jeffrey MacDonald

Though he never made it to Vietnam where he could become an equal to his War Veteran peers, Jeff MacDonald was a man of his day, and in all likelihood he was promiscuous. But nothing in the world suggested that this man could hurt, let alone murder, his two beautiful young daughters and his pregnant wife Colette. Divorce would have been an easy option, but there were no signs that there was any need to dissolve this family or relationship.

That is, unless you talked to Helena Stoekley, who is dead now, or another man named Greg " " who admitted their role in the MacDonald family Murders.

In the article, DNA testing may cast reasonable doubt in fatal vision triple murder, from Kathleen Lisson's site on Criminal Justice, the problems with the convictions reached by the courts and McGinnis, overlooks the fact that the crime scene was treated so poorly, along with the related evidence, that no conviction could have been based in a fair and unbiased investigation.

Botched Crime Scene

The Locard Exchange Principle states that when a criminal (or anyone else for that matter) comes into contact with an object or person, a cross transfer of evidence occurs. It is this principle that guides evidence examiners to search crime scenes for hair, fiber, and blood evidence, clues that the person who committed the crime has left at the crime scene. In order to accurately gather evidence, the crime scene must not be disturbed, and evidence must be carefully removed and classified before being transported to the lab for examination.

Fatal Justice extensively chronicled the actions taken by the Army's Criminal Investigative Division (CID) investigators. Statements from several people involved with the case proved that the MacDonald crime scene was poorly secured. Ordinarily, the number of personnel admitted into the crime scene is severely limited, to preserve the integrity of the evidence. Fatal Justice reported that CID agent Robert Shaw said in a 1970 official statement that "Prior to the arrival of Mister Ivory, who was the first investigator on the scene, there were approximately eighteen military policemen who went through the quarters." (51) In addition, the backyard, where the murder weapons were found, was not roped off. Fatal Justice stated that several people were allowed to walk through the unprocessed backyard, including newspaper reporters, and neighbors. Even more incredibly, garbage collectors were allowed to empty the MacDonald trash cans before they were inspected for evidence. (49)

In addition, the house itself was apparently not off limits to outsiders either. Fatal Justice reports that military personnel reported seeing up to four strangers in the quarters that morning. Military Policeman (MP) Kenneth Mica said that he saw a long-haired man wearing an army field jacket and jeans move a flowerpot and then sit on the couch, the same couch where MacDonald said he was attacked, effectively ruining the integrity of that part of the crime scene.(52) Master Sergeant Medlin, chief technician in charge of laboratory analysts sent from Fort Gordon to help investigate the murders, stated that "local CID investigators conducted at least one VIP tour through the crime scene for some of the ranking officers on post" (51) Perhaps the most obvious example of how poorly the crime scene was managed was the situation with MacDonald's wallet. Fatal Justice reported that MP Mica first saw MacDonald's wallet on the living room floor, then later on the top of a desk. At 5:30 a.m. an MP noticed that the wallet was gone. In an Army reinvestigation ten months later, ambulance attendant Paulsen admitted to taking the wallet. (50) The poorly managed crime scene severely undermined the MacDonald murders investigation.

That is the legacy of Joe McGinniss.

Witness Helena Stoekley

Based on existing evidence, I will never believe that Dr. MacDonald is guilty of killing his family, no way. Evidence was suppressed by the prosecutors at the time and attorneys unearthed that information with the Freedom of Information Act. However this is the country that just executed Troy Davis, proving once and for all that evidence and fact sometimes has little to do with 'justice' in America, and the same holds true for McGinniss and journalism.

As a doctor, Jeff had no sympathy for the large number of soldiers returning from Vietnam addicted to heroin. There was a name for doctors who turned these men into their commands for being drug addicts, they were called 'dinks'.

A particular group of soldiers and Army veterans in the Fort Bragg area, went so far as to threaten Colette at her place of work for her husband's anti-drug addict position.

MacDonald said that on the night of the murders, he was asleep on his living room couch, when he was attacked by men who had entered his home. He described a woman with long blond hair and a floppy hat, and a number of men in the home. This woman, Helena Stoekley, admitted on videotape that she had been present at the scene of the murders, but only agreed to testify if offered immunity.

Kathleen Lisson's article, DNA testing may cast reasonable doubt in fatal vision triple murder also states:

MP Kenneth Mica, the officer responding to the scene that night, stated that he saw a woman matching MacDonald's description of the female in his house standing on the street while on his way to the scene, but was ordered not to talk about his sighting. (15) Fatal Justice alleges that the woman in the floppy hat was Helena Stoekley, a Colonel's daughter who was also a drug informant for local and Army police. Stoekley admitted to wearing a blonde wig and a floppy hat the night of the murders, and told several people, including law enforcement officers, that she was present at the murders.

The Palin Workover

I am not a Sarah Palin fan, and I admit I found it comical that McGinnis managed to buy the house adjacent to hers, but I will say this; McGinnis writes to serve his own needs, and he is the author equivalent of a radio shock jock.

To this day, Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald remains incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit, and this is indescribably wrong and unfair. Whatever Sarah Palin's problems may be, nobody is likely to glean anything from McGinniss that they should take to the bank. I personally do not believe McGinniss adheres to the truth, but that he lives to bring people down, and that Ms. Palin should be concerned, very concerned.

According to the article Explosive Email Shows Anti-Pain Author McGinniss, Random House Likely Published LIterary Hoax, by columnist Andrew Breitbart, Random House lawyers wrote an email dated 27 January 2011 to Joe McGinniss, author of The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, stating that he has provided nothing more than "tawdry gossip" to substantiate "any of the salacious stories about the Palin family."

Breitbart continued:

He adds that “No one has ever provided factual evidence” (original emphasis) of the following accusations:

      a) Todd had sex with a hooker, or with anyone else outside his marriage.

      b) Sarah had an affair with Brad Hanson, or anyone else.

      c) Track was a druggie who enlisted in the army to avoid a jail term. Or that he vandalized Wasilla school buses.

      d) Willow was involved in the vandalism of the empty house in Meadow Lakes. Or that Sarah rushed back from Hawaii to put the lid on that.

      e) Trig is not Sarah’s natural born child.

      f) Bristol was promiscuous as a high schooler and drank and used drugs, or became pregnant again after Tripp’s birth.

Yet almost all of these accusations appear in McGinniss’s book, without any substantial proof beyond gossip, and without any apparent new information to address the lack of “factual evidence” in January 2011.

Breitbart bemoans the way McGinniss uses unsourced allegations about Palin's life, and relies on groups like the National Enquirer to back his claims, when they attributed claims to an "unnamed source" for their own allegations. In another event, McGinniss is said to have relied on statements from a man who, "may be mentally unstable".

McGinniss is out to make a ton of money from the sensational and sexy side of the Palin family, and I can't see how it connects. When one sets out with a vindictive approach to absolutely bring someone down, and they are backed by a major publisher, a great deal of damage can be done.

We are at a national crossroads, this is not a time for galloping gossipmongers like Joe McGinnis, it is a time for truth, whatever that may be.

__________________________________
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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