Friday, March 2, 2012

The ME Clams Up and Romney Takes Five

Then the Medical Examiner said, nope.

In a story appearing in the March 2nd edition of "The Oklahoman" written by Bryan Dean,  a spokeswoman for the state ME's office has backed off a statement issued on February 28th about the release of Carina Saunders' autopsy. On Tuesday the office said a full autopsy report of Saunders' death would be released within two weeks. Now the ME is insisting that the report will remain sealed.

The Oklahoman quoted the spokeswoman as saying, the state attorney general has advised the medical examiner that release of the autopsy "has a substantial likelihood of doing irreparable harm to the criminal investigation."

Why the state's attorney general's office is now involved in what would appear, on the surface anyway, to be strictly a county matter was left unexplained. According to The Oklahoman, the ME's office cited an exemption from the Oklahoma Open Records Act for information in the files of the Board of Medicolegal Investigators "that may be hearsay, preliminary unsubstantiated investigation related findings, or confidential medical information." That is a mouthful  of legalese and it covers a lot of ground. The whole autopsy is hearsay argument appears especially bogus. It sounds suspiciously like there is either more to this entire gruesome affair than the public or media knows, or the investigation is so hopelessly bogged down that any sort of charges, even those not using the word murder, cannot stand up to the burden of truth at this time.

Speculation can and will run completely amok at this point. It could be Oklahoma County prosecutors and Bethany police are simply in over their heads and need more eyes, ears, and brains on the case. Or it might be Saunders' murder ripped the lid off of some wide ranging undercover operation. It wouldn't be the first time local cops stumbled smack into some larger agency who has been working on the sly to fry very large fish. It may even be that the Bethany police didn't have the clout to tell the ME's office to hold the report. That they had to request the AG's office to step in to stop it from becoming public. Whatever the reason it is obvious somebody is thinking that any sort of information released beyond the barest minimum is a threat to what the authorities are doing and where they are going. Where they are going, or trying to go, at this time, is any one's guess.

In the mean time up in Michigan the numbers shifted in that primary for reasons not entirely clear to anyone other than the grand and exalted poo bahs who run the republican party. The count went from an 11 to 11 tie to 16 delegates for Romney and 14 for Santorum. The Santorum people are threatening to appeal. It won't do him any good. The Ron Paul conspiracy theorists might be right this time. The fix could be in. Any time it has been very close outside the borders of Iowa things have fallen Mitt's way. It is painfully transparent that the republican establishment is determined that Romney has to be their guy. In today's "Oklahoman" columnist Charlie Krauthammer was alternately giddy over the Michigan results and scathingly critical of all things Santorum. The city daily endorsed Romney weeks ago. The plan is utterly simple. Don't let someone from the lunatic fringe be the standard bearer. That will secure the independents and middle ground increasing the nominee's chances in the swing states. Trust that the right, when faced with the prospect of four more years of Obama, will bitch, moan and grumble, but ultimately support Mitt.

The crunch is coming for all involved. The next two weeks should tell the tale of the tape. If it doesn't, crack open the champagne. Barak Obama is buying.


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