EXIT 9 Investigations: Series 1 – Michael Cormier – The Breitbart Toe Tag: Connection of Michael Cormier & Andrew Breitbart)
In our original case files, we presented our theory that Michael Cormier was in the room at-the-time of an autopsy performed on Andrew Breitbart. EXIT 9 has since uncovered new evidence and eyewitness accounts in the cases of Michael Cormier and Andrew Breitbart.
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THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2012
March 1, 2012, is a date etched into the political spectrum and the lives of the Cormier family. On this day, Michael Cormier enjoyed the sunny California weather at his brother’s house, Gary, along with their brother, Ed, and a couple other family members who were in town for a few weeks. Gary was battling an aggressive form of cancer but that didn’t tamper the mood. Laughs, memories, and Paul McCartney’s Blackbird filled the atmosphere; lyrics of the song now symbolize a different journey for Michael’s family.
“Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life,
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.“
The moment of freedom arrived too soon and represented a shift in American politics that hadn’t been witnessed in the 21st century. Andrew Breitbart, a media proprietor, and a political icon dead at age 43; sending a firestorm of conspiracy theories across the internet and changing the course of the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. As the story unfolded — Michael, Ed and Gary caught a glimpse of the news report on the television, prompting Ed to say “turn it up.”
WHO WAS MICHAEL CORMIER?
Global uncertainties of the 1940s brought together families in a fashion unseen since the fight for America’s independence. World War II dominated news headlines and affected the social spectrum daily; with the end of the war, the reestablishment of the American dream became the new mission. Returning soldiers created what we know as the baby boom, and a new generation was born.
One of these individuals had a destiny that manifested on June 7th, 1950; born to a Charlene and Arthur Cormier. They named their child Michael — he was the first of eight children, next was Ed, Gary, Tim, Regina, Andy, Mary Ann, and Martha. The Cormier family settled in Maine when Michael started grade school. He demonstrated a shy and fainthearted demeanor as a boy; a pacifist who admired his surroundings with extensive detail. An altercation with a bully from across the street would change his perspective.
Michael encountered the boy while on his way from school one evening; the bully teased and hit Michael in the eye, knocking him to the ground. Once at home, Michael’s father immediately noticed something was wrong and told him: “At times, we all have to defend ourselves, even if we get the worst of it. I want you to go back and face him and do the best you can.” Michael fought the kid, and they eventually became close friends.
Michael attended a Catholic seminary located in Garrison, New York, for high school. He loved all types of music, ranging from The Beatles, Wil Ackerman, Eric Clapton, and Kenny Logins. Michael kept a transistor radio under his pillow and listened to 1640 am on WPTR; known for their Top 40 Playlist of the mid-1960s.
At sixteen Michael joined a band called The Corvells. Michael performed rhythm guitar and keyboard, Jim Murphy rocked the drums, Tony Belskis was lead guitar, and Gerald Arsenault strummed the bass; each member also provided vocals. They won the regional competition in 1967 at VOX Battle of the bands in Michael’s hometown of Rumford, Maine, at the Rumford Armory to a crowd of 1,500. The group scheduled more performances and gained state-wide exposure. In 1968 the Vietnam war had other plans for Michael; he volunteered for the war and became a USMC Field Radio Operator.
(1968 – Promo Picture for the band The Corvells Tony (left), Gerald (middle), Michael (right), and Jim (back)
(1970 – Michael Cormier – USMC)
He married his then-girlfriend Sharon Cormier on August 23, 1970, and started to settle down. After a General discharge from the Marines, Michael attended California College of Mortuary just down the street from the Los Angeles County Coroners Office, graduating in 1975. Michael was hired directly out of college at a mortuary in the Los Angeles area and found himself immersed and emotionally involved with brutal cases, children especially.
Michael gravitated to a different mindset and got a job with Georgia Pacific Lumber Company, where he drove trucks around Los Angeles making deliveries to movie studios and musical events. He later became a certified forklift operator and received second place in a local competition. Often exhibiting the qualities of a philosopher, Michael found himself at odds with his current situation and future ambitions. He once told his brother Ed “I want to be the best at whatever I do. Be it a forklift operator or a coroners tech.”
Ed recalled: “Mike told me even before he got the job that back when he was in mortuary college he’d walk by the Coroner’s office and say to himself that,” “I’d like to have a job here someday.”
After years in the lumber business, Michael was informed by a friend that there was an opening at the LA Coroner’s Office in 2003. He applied, and his dream finally flourished into the perfect job. Michael Cormier assisted on the autopsies of Hollywood elites and provided insight into investigations regularly while rising to the rank of Coroner Technician II; performing the duties of corpse transportation, photographic evidence for autopsies, and much more.
WHO WAS ANDREW BREITBART?
Andrew Breitbart was an activist with a resume that spans the political landscape from news outlets to blogospheres. His spitfire agenda sparked the Tea Party movement to national fame, and his University lectures influenced many journalists across the United States. Andrew Breitbart co-created two diverse and political websites; the liberal-minded Huffington Post with Arianna Huffington and the conservative-based Breitbart News Network with friend Larry Solov.
Breitbart entered the political wave of controversies in 2009 when undercover videos of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) were published to his BigGovernmentNow website, the 2010 firing of Public Official Shirley Sherrod and in 2011 for exposing then-married New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and his correspondence of nude photos to several women. Andrew Breitbart (wedding crashers style) interrupted Rep. Weiner’s press conference and instantly became a household name. The left has far less to say about the man. Breitbart was simply Breitbart.
In 2011, when Donald Trump was contemplating running for President as a Republican, stating “He will be the White House’s worst nightmare, and that Obama does not want to run against him,” Andrew Breitbart eerily called Trump “Not a conservative” and predicted a celebrity such as Trump would eventually win the Presidency, suggesting that it may be the only way to beat the Obama Administration/Democrats.
During a February 10, 2012, CPAC speech, Breitbart made a remark about President Obama that sent his right-wing fan base into a frenzy:
“I’ve got video from his college days that show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change were sold in 2008… the videos are going to come out.”
The footage eventually became available after Breitbart’s death. The video showed Obama embracing Harvard Professor Derrick Bell at a speech; Professor Bell was best known for his lectures on Critical Race Theory and founder of the theory itself. Conspiracy Theorists and his loyal followers believe Breitbart possessed more material on Obama that would’ve swayed the 2012 election.
(1990 – Obama and Professor Derrick Bell)
Before his death, Andrew Breitbart conversed via telephone with Sheriff Arpaio regarding Obama’s birth certificate and had been working on the concept/new format for his BigGovernment/Breitbart platform – including the strategic release of the Obama video(s).
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2012
On the night of February 29th, 2012, Breitbart arrived at a Los Angeles hotspot called the Brentwood. He mostly kept to himself, tweeting back at other Twitter users and sipping on red wine. A random conversation sparked with marketing executive Arthur Sando about the current state of politics; Andrew left soon after. He suffered an apparent heart attack and dropped dead in the same neighborhood the bar is located within around 11:30 p.m. He was pronounced dead on March 1 at age 43.
“There was a thick white band around his forehead all the way around his hairline, bright red face, thick, thick white band – made me make a double-take.”
THE TOE TAG CONNECTION
FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 2012
Deputy Medical Examiner Juan M Carrillo of The LA Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy on Andrew Breitbart.
SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2012
March 4, 2012, Michael received a phone call to assist on a private autopsy for a celebrity case. MAC Autopsy Services was a small business LLC Michael organized for work outside of the Coroner’s office; this enabled him to take side jobs for extra cash. The private autopsy was conducted by a Dr. David Posey of Glen Oaks Pathology Group. On his website, Dr. Posey is described as “having personally conducted greater than 3,000 autopsies. He has been sought out for expert forensic consultation for Discovery Channel documentaries and Unsolved Mysteries.” Michael had worked with for Glen Oaks Pathology Group many times before, often performing the entire autopsy while Dr. Posey observed, and this case was to be no different.
Michael arrived back and gave a souvenir of sorts to Ed before his flight back with the family to New Hampshire.
“Look who I worked on” Michael said, pulling out a security crypt toe tag with BREITBART, ANDREW written on it — along with a case number.
Michael made an off-hand comment that Breitbart’s heart was enlarged and that was the end of the discussion with Ed. Michael made another statement to a family member who wishes to remain anonymous. They recalled Michael saying, “Breitbart’s family was suspicious of the death and wanted a second opinion.”
(Ed and Michael Cormier)
THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2012
Michael’s brother Gary passed away on March 29, 2012. Gary’s Funeral arraignments were made to have his ashes transported near his hometown in Maine. The funeral was to take place in June. Michael had already bought his plane ticket, he had talked to his sister Gina on the telephone and sounded in good spirits despite the situation. Michael really wanted to take a trip down memory lane while walking the streets he frequented growing up.
MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2012
The official Breitbart toxicology report performed by Supervising Criminalist II Dan Anderson (pictured below) is finished but not released.
FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2012
April 13, Michael started to feel sick. He experienced severe diarrhea and vomiting.
SUNDAY, APRIL 15, 2012
Michael attended the Palmdale Cancer Walk event on April 15. He became sick; a friend suggested that he eat a small snack, and Michael started to feel better for a while.
(Michael @ Palmdale Cancer Walk)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2012
Michael tried to enjoy a night out to dinner with friends and couldn’t finish his meal. Michael went to Kaiser hospital and was admitted for observation due to complaints of chest pains but was released the next day with medication.
FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2012
In the early morning hours of April 20, paramedics were called to his home, and he was transported to St. Joseph’s Medical Center. Ed found out Michael was in the hospital and called to check on his status; he suggested they test for poison due to Michael’s profession. The doctors found heavy metals in Michael’s blood, later confirmed to be arsenic.
Arsenic has often been a choice of spiteful housewives and murderers who want to leave no trace. In the 1800’s it became readily available as an effective pesticide against rodents. A doctor usually can’t determine if arsenic poisoning is involved without tests – this is because the symptoms resemble those of diarrhea & vomiting, which can be mistaken for a virus. In a methodical approach, arsenic can be used in small batches to prolong death and mimic a genetic illness.
Assistant LA Coroner Chief Ed Winter arrived first on scene at the hospital along with two unidentified LA Coroner employees. Two police officers Anatole (Badge #36969) and Ruiv (Badge #36956) were called by Ed Winter to file an injury report in regards to the poisoning.
Michael Cormier died in the hospital (aged 61).
KTLA TV reporter Elizabeth Espinosa first reported the Michael Cormier death.
Andrew Breitbart’s preliminary autopsy results were published by LA Coroner’s Office Chief of Operations Craig Harvey.
Andrew Breitbart’s death was officially contributed to natural causes due to the onset of heart failure.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 2012
Detective Steve Castro of North Hollywood Homicide is the lead investigator on the case. He didn’t receive word from Burbank Police Department about Michael’s death until April 24. The lapse of communication between the departments is a major flaw in the case. Detective Steve Castro told Ed Cormier that if he had not called the hospital about the possibility of poisoning, then the arsenic wouldn’t have been found.
Conspiracy theories led by blogs, papers like National Examiner, and Infowars’ Alex Jones claimed that Michael Cormier conducted the Andrew Breitbart autopsy and was murdered for it. This led to two different officials, LAPD Homicide Supervisor Det. Rich Wheeler and LA Coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter to release statements shortly after Michael’s death to debunk his connection to the Breitbart case.
MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2012
Ed Winter stated to news agencies that Michael Cormier never assisted on the Andrew Breitbart autopsy because “Only doctors had ever worked on the case because foul play was never suspected.” and that “Mr. Cormier was not the attendant on Mr. Breitbart’s case, nor did he do any of the handling nor any of the investigation.”
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2012
LAPD Detective Rich Wheeler relayed a similar statement to the TheDailyBeast.com — “He (Cormier) had nothing to do with the autopsy or anything to do with the case … That story is based on rumor and innuendo.”
WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012
The LA Coroner’s Office released the official Andrew Breitbart autopsy report. The full report also confirms that Andrew Breitbart’s death was officially contributed to natural causes due to the onset of heart failure.
The number located on the Breitbart autopsy report matches the security crypt toe tag given to Ed Cormier.
DISCREPANCIES, AUTOPSIES, AND THE DESTRUCTION OF EVIDENCE
Not only have we established Andrew Breitbart’s family were “suspicious of his death” enough that they paid for a private autopsy; they also requested a comprehensive toxicology test from the LA Coroner’s Office to check for cyanide (proving suspicion of foul play), and Michael Cormier did indeed work on a Breitbart autopsy (confirming Ed Winter’s statement to be false).
Cyanide was not found in the tests administrated by Dan Anderson (Supervising Criminalist II).
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2012
Two different doctors from the LA Coroners Office – Dr. Ortiz (Coroner who performed Michael’s autopsy) and Dr. Rangan (Toxicologist) were informed that advanced testing couldn’t be performed on Michael Cormier’s stomach contents.
Dr. Ortiz – Michael Cormier Autopsy Report Form 12, page 8:
Opinion: “The demise of this 61-year-old is the result of acute intoxication by arsenic. Arsenic is a metalloid element, whose effects are produced by blockage of the intracellular metabolic pathways with resultant cessation of cellular activity and death. The symptoms of acute arsenic intoxication are nonspecific and mainly are gastrointestinal (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) such as manifested in this case, which slowly progressed to multiorgan failure and death. Arsenic can present as the salt of the element (inorganic) or compounded with organic molecules (so-called organic). The most toxic is the inorganic variety. In this case, the source of the arsenic remains unknown in spite of multiple attempts to characterize it.”
Cyrus Rangan M.D./Medical Toxicologist states to Chief Medical Examiner Lakshmanan in the Forensic Consultant’s Report Form 13:
“Upon initial review of this case, I had inquired as to whether the arsenic levels could be speciated, to determine the relative contributions of trivalent and pentavalent arsenic to his total arsenic level. In addition, I had acquired as to whether the stomach contents could be further tested to determine the form of arsenic salt that was detected. These inquiries were an effort to characterize the decedent’s exposure specifically, with the prospect that a potential source of arsenic might be determinable. I was informed that these advanced tests would not be possible. Therefore, my conclusion based on available data is that the decedent died from severe acute arsenic poisoning of unknown origin. The clinical presentation and the level of arsenic detected in the blood and stomach are consistent with a large, recent intentional exposure.”
THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2013
Ed Cormier and Dr. Ortiz conducted a conversation about the case. We have provided two minutes of an audio recording and a transcript. This snippet contains Ed inquiring about why Michael’s blood and stomach contents had not been tested.
Ed Cormier: “I’m just wondering Dr. Ortiz, you mention the word the lab was inefficient…. (stutters) I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying here.”
Dr. Ortiz: “Well, I’m saying the lab, they either didn’t have the resources, or they didn’t want to do it. Uhh, so in that sense — the lab was not efficient, they were not able to answer our question. It was all, it answered the questions that already the laboratory from the hospital had asked.”
Ed Cormier: “We’re puzzled by the fact. That, umm, there was enough arsenic in Mike’s stomach still, that, uh, we felt that there should’ve been some test that could be performed to determine if this is a inorganic arsenic or an organic arsenic. That would narrow down the search immensely. Are there still samples available from Michael that can be tested or retested?”
Dr. Ortiz: “I have to check, Mr. Cormier. I can give you a call back on Monday. I have to check if we have something. Uhh.”
Ed Cormier: “I only have a couple more questions. One is, and it actually has to do with Dr. Rangan, so this might not be a fair question to you, and you could tell me if I need to speak with Dr. Rangan or if I could about it. But Dr. Rangan said that he inquired if whether the arsenic levels could be speciated in order to determine the relevant contributions of trivalent and pentavalent arsenic to his total arsenic level. Now he said he inquired, but then after he gives this statement, he never gives an answer as to…”
Dr. Ortiz: “He inquired. He got the same answer I got, we can’t do it. We cannot do it. There’s no way we can do it”.
Ed Cormier: “Yes. Yeah, because in the last sentence of this paragraph he says “I was informed that these advanced tests would not be possible” And my question is, who told him these advanced tests would not be possible, and why? Why were these advanced tests not possible?”
Dr. Ortiz: “Well, Mr. Cormier; I don’t know exactly which person from the lab told Dr. Rangan that statement, but that’s… uhh that’s what we were told. Him and myself… by the laboratory supervisor… Mr. Dan Anderson… Anderson was the one who told him he could not find anyone who could do that, and sorry we can’t do that.“
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2014
Ed Cormier never received the phone call from Dr. Ortiz or anyone associated with the LA Coroner’s Office. After a year of waiting – Ed Cormier is told by Interim Chief Dan Anderson via email that there was no stomach contents to be tested “since his stomach was pumped at the hospital.”
Ed emailed back and corrected him, indicating that in Anderson’s lab report, the stomach contained 2300ppm of arsenic. Dan Anderson replied that the stomach contents were discarded “per retention policy,” on March 25th, 2013, however, other samples were not disposed of.
Dan Anderson: “As of today, Labs is in possession of HB, Fbx3, Vit, EDTA, Hosp bldx1, Hosp serumx2. The ST, Liv, Bile, Urine Skeletal muscle, Fat, and Msentin fat were discarded on 3-25-13 per retention policy. If I recall correctly, he spent several days in the hospital—therefore, testing of the stomach would not be so relevant as they may have already pumped his stomach.”
Ed Cormier: “Thanks, Dan, However, your recollection is not correct. Mike did not spend several days in the hospital, only several hours. His stomach was not pumped. Submitted stomach contents contained 2300ppm of arsenic according to a lap report emailed to you 5/9/2012. We need the stomach contents. Do you have it, Dan?”
Dan Anderson: “Stomach contents? My apologies about my recollection. As stated, the specimens (as stated) were discarded.”
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014
Lab tests were finally conducted on Michael Cormier’s blood by recommendation of Ed Cormier who did a simple Google search to find “Laboratory of the Applied and Special Consulting.” Michael’s blood samples showed the arsenic to be of inorganic origin — which means it was more than likely created in a private lab or corporation.
Michael died from arsenic poisoning, and LA Coroner’s Office published the PRELIMINARY AUTOPSY REPORT on Andrew Breitbart – not a mere coincidence any more when you add the evidence of the toe tag. Did Michael find something during the private autopsy of Breitbart that contradicted the LA Coroner’s results? Family and friends stated to EXIT 9I that Michael always carried a small blue journal that included poetry, and notes from cases. The notebook has not been recovered and was not included in the personal belongings given to Michael’s wife.
The LA Coroner’s Office answers to the Mayor of Los Angeles. At the time of Andrew Breitbart’s and Michael Cormier’s death, Antonio Villaraigosa served as the Mayor for Los Angeles (2005-2013) and was a member of President Obama’s 2008 Economic Advisory Board and the Chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Antonio Villaraigosa has beaten or paid fines related to ethics violations — he is currently a Democratic candidate for the Governor of California.
Detective Castro interviewed Michael’s wife, and she was cleared of any connection to the investigation; in a statement to TheDailyBeast.com, he said:
“She was cooperative. She didn’t admit to doing anything. She was stunned to find out he had arsenic poisoning in his system.”
No arsenic was found at Michael’s residence, nor at the LA Coroner’s Office. All attempts to locate a manufacturer that had sold arsenic to Michael were dead ends.
Ed Winter quoted to the DailyBeast.com regarding the arsenic:
“He had a history of heart problems, but it was the arsenic that killed him.”
“We don’t know if it was given to him or self-ingested,”
“We can’t prove he took it himself, or we can’t prove someone gave it to him.”
Detective Castro’s quote to the DailyBeast.com:
“Back in the day, they sold straight arsenic to kill insects. Now it is monitored so closely you can’t basically get it. … The puzzling thing is where the arsenic came from.”
If Michael’s stomach contents were preserved, the exact origin of the arsenic could’ve been traced. Dan Anderson emailed Ed that he couldn’t find a lab to perform the tests needed on the blood. Michael ingested enough arsenic in the last 24/48 hours of his life that it crystallized in his stomach. The stomach contents were never sent to a private lab nor tested within the LA Coroner’s Office. Why? And why did the blood tests take over two years to perform? EXIT 9I found a company that could’ve completed the tests; the Google search took ten seconds to find a suitable lab.
Stomach contents, especially in arsenic cases, are essential to the investigation in more than one-way. In the 1800s stomach contents were thrown into a fire, if they emitted a sense of garlic, the corpse was suspected of dying from arsenic. We now possess technological advances in the testing of stomach contents, which is a crucial piece of evidence in almost every homicide case.
As stated by Exploreforsenics.co.uk – “In most autopsies, the contents of the stomach are an important piece of evidence, which can sometimes prove to be the difference between accidental death and foul play.”
The LA Coroner’s Office performs over 10,000 autopsies a-year, with a volume that high, no one expects them to keep stomach contents from every case… but this was “one of their own,” and they went out-of-there-way to not test critical evidence in an unsolved case. Backlogs and financial restraints have plagued the LA Coroner’s office, leaving many employees no choice but to leave for better jobs. Michael Cormier didn’t go on his own terms.
*We have LOADS of more evidence; we couldn’t include it all in one article–
What’s the connection of cyanide to Andrew Breitbart’s death? What are the effects of cyanide? These questions are answered in Part II.
This is an official EXIT 9 investigation.
– Press Graye