Ohio TV station: Was Connell crash an accident or murder?
The death of Republican "IT guru" Mike Connell last Friday in a fiery plane crash has been the subject of intense speculation online about whether it might have been murder -- but very little of that speculation has made it into the national media. Now one local TV station in Connell's home state of Ohio is acknowledging that there are questions about his death.
"Well, this sounds like a made up story," Scott Taylor of 19 Action News in Cleveland began. "One man rigging state elections to help his boss, President George Bush. After it's done, power players in Washington say 'Get rid of the guy.' Do I believe it? No -- for now."
Taylor noted that "bad weather could have played a part in the crash" but "some in Washington have a different opinion."
"Some say Connell was about to reveal embarrassing details involving senior members of the Bush Administration," Taylor explained, "including their involvement in destroying incriminating emails and rigging elections. Connell died on impact, and was only 3 miles from the Akron-Canton Airport. He was an experienced pilot. Was it an accident, or murder?"
Connell had played a central role in two separate Bush administration scandals. He had created the website for the Ohio secretary of state's office which some have linked to suspected election fraud during the 2004 presidential race. He also set up the domains which White House staff used for their off-the-books emails concerning the firing of US Attorneys, emails which are now said to have been destroyed.
In a press release cited by 19 Action News, the website Velvet Revolution revealed that "a person close to Mr. Connell has recently been discussing with a VR investigator how Mr. Connell can tell all about his work for George Bush. Mr. Connell told a close associate that he was afraid that the George Bush and Dick Cheney would 'throw [[him] under the bus.' A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that Mr. Connellís life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened him and his wife."
19 Action News also reported on Sunday that Connell had previously been warned by a friend that his plane might be sabotaged and had canceled two flights because of suspicious problems.
BradBlog notes that although the Velvet Revolution press release has appeared on the New York Times website, that paper has not offered any comment of its own on Connell's death, nor have US media in general reported on the growing speculation -- although even the British press has mentioned it -- which makes the Action News coverage all the more striking.
"Was it an accident -- or murder?" Taylor wondered, before concluding that the crash "was probably not a conspiracy."
This video is from 19 Action News, broadcast Dec. 22, 2008.
Download video via RawReplay.com
Transcript from 19 Action News:
What prompted conspiracy theorists in Washington, D.C. to say that an Ohio man with White House connections was actually murdered this weekend?
Here's Scott Taylor to tell us if it's true or not.
Taylor: "Well this sounds like a made up story, one man rigging state elections to help his boss, President George Bush. After it's done, power players in Washington say 'Get rid of the guy.' Do I believe it? No. For now.
45 year-old Michael Connell died Friday night after his plane crashed into this vacant house near Union Township in Stark County, Ohio.
Connell was a political power player in Washington, D.C., and in the White House. He was the vision behind President George Bush's, and John McCain's internet sites.
Initial reports say bad weather could have played a part in the crash.
Hartville resident Mary Lou Lankford: " I guess the plane just flew apart."
Taylor: Some in Washington have a different opinion. The website 'Velvet Revolution' believes someone sabotaged Connell's plane.
It appears he was trying to land the plane here, he hit a large flag pole and then, he struck the house.
Velvet Revolution claims to have been tipped off that Connell's life was in danger. Who was threatening Connell? According to the website, a senior advisor of President George Bush, Karl Rove.
Some say Connell was about to reveal embarrassing details involving senior members of the Bush Administration, including their involvement in destroying incriminating emails, and rigging elections.
Connell died on impact, and was only 3 miles from the Akron-Canton Airport. He was an experienced pilot. Was it an accident, or muder?
Harville resident Ron Lankford: "It's really hard to believe. I really don't know the full story, and I've just heard...and what I've seen in the paper, and on the news."
Taylor: I spoke to Michael's family today in person. They are grieving. A visitation is planned for tonight.
Many in his neighborhood say this was a good man who devoted his time to the worldwide community, and loved his family very much.
19 Action News' investigation concludes that the plane crash that killed GOP operative Mike Connell was probably not a conspiracy.