Description of video is in [brackets]
Fox-13 News, 3/06/2000
[screen in background says "Scientology" in white script on blue background with light blue logo-pattern that looks like a sailboat sailing on the ocean with moon in the background]
NEWSCASTER: World-famous forensic pathologists were so upset by a local newspaper editorial, they came here to set the record straight, as they say. The editorial called for continued prosecution of the Church of Scientology for the death of Lisa McPherson. Fox-13's Steve Nichols tells us why these men don't feel that's warranted.
[footage at press conference; chart with drawing of human veins on stand by table where the people speaking are]
DR. MICHAEL BADEN: We just let it go on--
STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: The Church of Scientology said it would hire pre-eminent experts in its defense, and these are two of the best. Dr. Michael Baden was chief medical examiner in New York City and was hired by the House of Representatives to review the Kennedy and King assassinations.
[Dr. Cyril Wecht at press conference; picture of Lisa McPherson; Fort Harrison]
STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: And it would take several pages just to list all the writings of Dr. Cyril Wecht. They are two of eight experts ready to dispute the autopsy findings after the death of 36-year-old Lisa McPherson. Fellow Scientologists were nursing McPherson through a mental breakdown at the time.
DR. CYRIL WECHT [caption--"Dr. Cyril Wecht, Forensic Pathologist]: Unexpected, absolutely unpredictable and hence unavoidable deaths--
[footage of press conference]
STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: Most of today's briefing focused on what is not in dispute.
[picture of Lisa; chart with drawings of blood veins showing emboli]
STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: McPherson got a bruise in a car accident; 17 days later, a blood clot from that bruise broke loose and lodged in her lung. And these scientists bristle at the suggestion that a medical finding like that can be bought.
DR. CYRIL WECHT: I made a living before the Scientology Church case. I'll make a living when the Scientology Church case is over.
[outside Pinellas County Medical Examiner building; picture of Lisa]
STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: The local medical examiner also thinks McPherson was malnourished and dehydrated when she died.
DR. MICHAEL BADEN: Looking at the photographs and talking to Dr. Davis and looking at the microscopic slides, there is no evidence of malnutrition or dehydration.
[Dr. Joan Wood; autopsy photos of Lisa]
STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: And at one point Dr. Joan Wood referred to numerous abrasions on McPherson as cockroach bites.
DR. MICHAEL BADEN: Clearly they're not cockroach bites. I've seen a lot of them in New York City, in the Bronx, in my 40 years of doing this work. Um, they're scrape marks.
STEVE NICHOLS--ON CAMERA: Of course, the church is not charged with homicide; it's charged with practicing medicine without a license and abuse and/or neglect of an incapacitated person. The consultants say they see no evidence of anybody practicing medicine without a license, but they both admit Lisa McPherson was probably incapacitated.
[picture of Lisa; outside court building]
STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: But was she abused and/or neglected. That's one of the questions prosecutors must consider when deciding whether to pursue this case. In Clearwater, Steve Nichols, Fox-13 News.
NEWSCASTER: The local medical examiner caused quite a stir a couple of weeks ago when she changed the manner of McPherson's death from "undetermined" to "accidental". However, her autopsy report still notes "severe dehydration".
Tampa Bay Channel 8, 3/06/2000:
[background screen has Scientology logo with crossed-out cross]
NEWSCASTER--ON CAMERA: Today two of the nation's top forensic doctors say the Church of Scientology didn't kill Lisa McPherson; a bruise did.
[pictures of Lisa; footage at press conference]
NEWSCASTER--VOICE OF: McPherson died in 1995 after 17 days in care at the care of the church headquarters in Clearwater. Prosecutors had charged the church with abuse and practicing medicine without a license. Today a county coroner from Pittsburgh and a doctor who reviewed the JFK assassination for Congress held a press conference in Clearwater. They both say McPherson's death was sudden and unforeseeable, and they blame her death on a bruise from a minor car wreck which triggered a fatal blood clot.
Channel 10, 3/06/2000
[screen in background has Scientology crossed-out cross and title "McPherson Case"]
NEWSCASTER--ON CAMERA: There are some new developments tonight in the death of Bay Area Scientologist Lisa McPherson.
[footage from press conference--caption, "Clearwater, Pinellas County, Lisa McPherson case"; picture of Lisa]
NEWSCASTER--VOICE OF: Two forensic pathologists consulting for the Church of Scientology say that McPherson was a healthy woman who died from an aneurysm that traveled to her heart. Last month the medical examiner in the case changed the cause of death from "undetermined" to "accidental".
NEWSCASTER--ON CAMERA: Prosecutors claim the church was practicing medicine without a license. McPherson died while under the church's care.
Channel 28, Tampa Bay, 3/06/2000
[screen in background has Scientology crossed-out cross and title "Scientologists Speak Out"]
NEWSCASTER: Well, the controversy surrounding the Church of Scientology and the death of one of its members continued today. Two medical experts spoke out in support of the church, claiming Lisa McPherson could not have been saved by anyone.
[screen in background shows Barron Johnson]
NEWSCASTER: 28-Tampa Bay's Barron Johnson joins us live tonight from Clearwater with the latest. Good evening, Barron.
BARRON JOHNSON (caption--"Barron Johnson, 28 Tampa Bay News")(standing outside the Fort Harrison): Good evening, Bob. You know, for the past four years the Church of Scientology has been trying to clear itself of any wrongdoing in the death of Lisa McPherson. Today, a pair of forensic pathologists came and argued in favor of the church and saying that instead of going by public opinion, medical science should be used in exactly explaining what happened to Lisa McPherson.
[footage from press conference--Dr. Michael Baden, charts of drawings of anatomy; picture of Lisa; Fort Harrison Hotel; pictures of Lisa; Fort Harrison]
BARRON JOHNSON--VOICE OF: Now the Dr. Baden of New York, shown here with his chart, explained how a blood clot in the leg can travel throughout the body and lodge in the pulmonary artery in the lung, causing instant death. That's why both Baden and fellow pathologist Cyril Wecht of Pittsburgh say no one could have saved 36-year-old church member Lisa McPherson. McPherson was kept under close watch by Scientology church members at the Fort Harrison Hotel for 17 days back in late 1995. When they took McPherson to the hospital she was pronounced dead. At the time, the medical examiner, Dr. Joan Wood, said McPherson's death was the cause of--actually, the cause was undetermined.
DR. CYRIL WECHT (caption, "Dr. Cyril Wecht, forensic pathologist"): The fact of the matter is, with all due respect to Dr. Wood, she was wrong in her diagnoses.
DR. MICHAEL BADEN (caption, "Dr. Michael Baden, forensic pathologist"): Malnutrition and dehydration are not present in Ms. McPherson. Looking at the photographs and talking to Dr. Davis and looking at the microscopic slides, there is no evidence of malnutrition or dehydration.
[shot of Fort Harrison, camera pans over to also show Barron Johnson]
BARRON JOHNSON--ON CAMERA: Last month the Clearwater medical examiner charged McPherson's--changed it, rather--to "an accidental death". Even still, McPherson's family maintained that the Church of Scientology is to blame for their daughter's death. However, this all said, currently the Church of Scientology is still facing two charges, one being abuse and neglect of an incapacitated person and the other practicing medicine without a license. Both those charges stem from the way the prosecutors say McPherson was treated in the last days of her life while she was here in the hotel. But with the cause of death having now been changed to "accidental", that could force prosecutors to re-think their strategy if they plan to pursue this case against the church. Bob.
[screen shows Barron Johnson, then shows the Scientology crossed-out cross and title "Scientologists Speak Out"]
NEWSCASTER: All right, Barron Johnson tonight in Clearwater. Thank you for that, Barron. And so far, prosecutors have report that they're--that report that they're putting together is up to 10,000 pages in length. The judge has closed the file to the public.