Paragraph nine reads: "Several medications, including the antidepressant Citalopram [Celexa] and sleeping pill Zolpidem, were present in Baxter's system, according to the first toxicology report, released Feb. 1, 2002."
Group Petitions Court For Enron Exec's Suicide Records
Baxter Named In Several Lawsuits
POSTED: 9:48 a.m. CDT April 25, 2003
UPDATED: 9:49 a.m. CDT April 25, 2003
HOUSTON -- A court should order the Harris County medical examiner to release all records relating to a former Enron Corp. executive's fatal shooting, lawyers for a watchdog group say.
Crime scene photos of John Clifford Baxter's death on Jan. 25, 2002, and other information have not been made fully public, Judicial Watch lawyer Todd Hutton said Thursday.
The self-described public interest group wants all records pertaining to the death, including autopsy and toxicology reports. Last summer, a report of the Sugar Land police investigation into the fatal shooting made public a few new details but did not change the conclusion that Baxter killed himself near his home in suburban Houston.
"The collapse of Enron and the death of Baxter raise questions. He was due to testify and we can speculate it would have been information that those involved did not want public," Hutton said. "We question if there was a rush to judgment on his cause of death."
Baxter was named in an explosive warning that another Enron executive sent to former company Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth Lay about questionable financial practices at the failed Houston energy trading company. Its collapse was formerly the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Baxter, 43, resigned from Enron in May 2001. He was found shot in the head in his car near his Sugar Land home, with a .38-caliber pistol in his lap. Sugar Land police and the Medical Examiner's Office, which performed the autopsy, called the death a suicide.
Representatives of the Harris County Attorney's Office and the Medical Examiner's Office said Thursday the county has already provided Baxter's two toxicology reports to Judicial Watch.
"We haven't amended the cause of death," medical examiner spokesman Rudy Flores told the Houston Chronicle in Friday's editions. "It is not unusual procedure to do a supplemental toxicology report."
Several medications, including the antidepressant Citalopram and sleeping pill Zolpidem, were present in Baxter's system, according to the first toxicology report, released Feb. 1, 2002. A supplemental report released in Aug. 13 of that year listed specific measurements: .57 millgrams of Citalopram in Baxter's blood and 10 milligrams of Zolpidem in his stomach contents.
Another former Enron executive, Sherron Watkins, sent a memo about Baxter to Lay regarding questionable accounting and financial partnerships.
"Cliff Baxter complained mightily to (then-Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey) Skilling and all who would listen about the inappropriateness of our transactions with LJM," Watkins wrote. LJM was one of the partnerships apparently used to hide debt and inflate profits.
Baxter also had been named in several lawsuits, including a federal action in Houston accusing him and other Enron executives of reaping huge profits from Enron stock before its collapse. Records show he sold 577,436 shares for $35.2 million.
Judicial Watch describes itself as monitoring and investigating "governmental corruption and abuse."