This week, the Chicago Tribune revealed the GOP operative, Peter Smith, who was after Hillary Clinton’s “lost” emails committed suicide. Charles Ortel, a contact of Smith told the Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock that he has doubts about Smith’s death being a suicide.
The Daily Caller reported:
“He may have been a fantastic actor but I certainly didn’t leave that phone call saying, ‘oh shit, the guy’s at the end of his rope,’” Charles Ortel, a Wall Street investment banker and market analyst, told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s (TheDCNF) Investigative Group.
“This does not seem like a settled story. It made perfect sense to me he might have died of natural causes, but little chance he would have killed himself,” Ortel said.
Ortel and Smith shared a common interest in the Clintons. Ortel has dug deeply into the financial operations of the Clinton Foundation. He first came to public attention in 2007 by exposing questionable accounting practices at General Electric. Ortel has similarly expressed doubts about the circumstances of Seth Rich’s murder — which police have concluded was a robbery gone wrong — commending those “who are trying to discover why so many people close to the last election have died along the way.”
The difference here is that Ortel knew Smith personally.
“We had countless discussions,” Ortel recalled of his relationship with Smith. “He was using his unique decades of experience in politics to offer me advice how to expose the Clinton Foundation.”
As per the Chicago Tribune:
A Republican donor and operative from Chicago’s North Shore who said he had tried to obtain Hillary Clinton‘s missing emails from Russian hackers killed himself in a Minnesota hotel room days after talking to The Wall Street Journal about his efforts, public records show.
In mid-May, in a room at a Rochester hotel used almost exclusively by Mayo Clinic patients and relatives, Peter W. Smith, 81, left a carefully prepared file of documents, including a statement police called a suicide note in which he said he was in ill health and a life insurance policy was expiring.
Days earlier, the financier from suburban Lake Forest gave an interview to the Journal about his quest, and it began publishing stories about his efforts in late June. The Journal also reported it had seen emails written by Smith showing his team considered retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then a top adviser to Republican Donald Trump‘s campaign, an ally. Flynn briefly was President Trump’s national security adviser and resigned after it was determined he had failed to disclose contacts with Russia.
At the time, the newspaper reported Smith’s May 14 death came about 10 days after he granted the interview. Mystery shrouded how and where he had died, but the lead reporter on the stories said on a podcast he had no reason to believe the death was the result of foul play and that Smith likely had died of natural causes.