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Clinton Aide Said to Have Left Note Before Death : White House: Writing points to a troubled mind, reinforcing view Vincent Foster committed suicide. Reports suggest a work-related depression.

July 29, 1993| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — White House lawyer Vincent Foster, who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, left behind a note pointing "to a troubled state of mind," a presidential aide said Wednesday night.

White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers declined to characterize the handwritten letter as a suicide note but did say it reinforces the view that his death July 20 was a suicide.

She said the note--torn into small pieces and left in a briefcase in Foster's White House office--"shed some light on his state of mind."

Foster was found dead of a gunshot wound in a park in suburban Virginia across the Potomac River from the nation's capital.

The New York Times in today's editions quoted sources close to Foster and his wife as saying he appeared severely dispirited in the weeks before his death and spent some weekends working at home in bed with the shades drawn. It said a physician in Little Rock, Ark., sent anti-depression medicine to Foster but that he had only begun to take it.

The paper quoted a source close to the Fosters as saying Foster had been worn down by criticism of the White House counsel's office and concern that he would be reprimanded for his role in calling for an investigation of the White House travel office. Seven travel office employees were fired as a result of the investigation and a distant cousin of Clinton's put in charge.

Even after Foster was not criticized, he took it hard because an internal White House report found associate White House counsel William Kennedy among those at fault in the travel office dismissals, the newspaper reported.

Myers said the note was found on Monday by a member of the White House counsel's office who was going through Foster's belongings and has been turned over to the Park Police and the Justice Department.

She said she did not know which agency had the original and which had a copy of the note written by the deputy White House counsel.

The note, first reported by CBS radio, contained "a series of notes, apparently to himself" and was not addressed to any individual, Myers said.

The musings "point to a troubled state of mind" regarding his work, she said. She said the note does not suggest problems that are unrelated to Foster's work.

She said she thought the note was written on a yellow legal pad. It was one page, and had to be pieced together from the torn pieces, she said.

Foster's family is "aware of the contents," she said. She refused to further characterize the contents of the note.

The note was described as an entirely different document from a list of psychiatrists found in Foster's office and reported earlier.

Earlier Wednesday, Clinton said he did not know that Foster was "quite distressed" when he talked to the White House lawyer the day before his death.

Foster was one of Clinton's oldest friends.

Clinton said he had not seen Foster for some time when he called and invited him to a movie at the White House. The conversation lasted about 20 minutes, Clinton said.

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