Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Vincent Foster

Foster's Last Day

Vincent Foster
Vincent Foster

The last day of Foster's life began with nothing out of the ordinary, at least not that his family could discern. He decided not to take a morning jog, and his wife described his demeanor that day as better than it had been "in a while." She kissed him goodbye in their kitchen as he left their Georgetown home to drop his daughter off at work and his son at the metro station.

He arrived a bit later than usual to his office, at 8:50 a.m. rather than his customarily punctual 8:00 a.m., according to his executive assistant Deborah Gorham. He had time for a cup of coffee and a muffin before attending the 9:00 a.m. morning meeting of the White House Counsel office staff. After that he attended a White House ceremony announcing the appointment of Louis Freeh as Director of the FBI, to replace William Gates, who had been fired amidst allegations of ethical improprieties the day before. Before Gorham left for lunch she asked if there was anything she could do for her boss. "No," Foster said. "I believe I have everything."

Wife, Lisa Foster
Wife, Lisa Foster

He asked Betsy Pond, executive assistant to White Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, to get him a lunch of a cheeseburger, fries and Coke from the White House cafeteria. Pond complied, going to the mess hall with Nussbaum's other assistant Linda Tripp, who would later play a central role in the Monica Lewinski scandal leading to the impeachment of President Clinton.

After reading the newspaper over lunch with his office door closed, Foster left at a few minutes after 1:00 p.m. He told Pond that there were M&M candies on his lunch tray, which Tripp had bought for herself in the cafeteria. "I'll be back," he said, walking out without a briefcase or anything else in his hands.

Linda Tripp (left) and Monica Lewinsky (right)
Linda Tripp (left) and Monica Lewinsky (right)

As Foster left the White House he passed Secret Service agent John Skyles, the last person known to have seen the deputy counsel alive.

"How are you doing, sir?" Skyles asked.

"Fine," Foster replied, giving the agent a half smile as he walked off.

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