Husband of Deceased Congressional Staffer Asks Twitter to Delete Trump Posts

May 26, 2020 Updated: May 26, 2020

The husband of a woman who was working for then-Rep. Joe Scarborough when she died asked Twitter to remove posts from President Donald Trump alleging possible foul play in the case.

Lori Klausutis, 28, died in 2001 in Scarborough’s congressional office in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. According to an autopsy, Klausutis, who had an undiagnosed heart condition called floppy mitral valce disease, passed out. As she fell down, she hit her head, which caused the death. Michael Berkland, the medical examiner, said the death was an accident.

Scarborough was in Washington when Klausutis died.

Timothy Klausutis, Lori’s husband, said in a recent letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that “a constant barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo, and conspiracy theories” since his wife died have made it difficult for him to move forward with his life.

Describing people questioning the circumstances of the death as conspiracy theorists, Klausutis attached three missives Trump posted on Twitter about the matter, including one in which Trump wonders when they’ll “open a Cold Case” and asked whether Scarborough got away “with murder.”

“My request is simple: Please delete these tweets,” Klausutis wrote. “The President’s tweet that suggests Lori was murdered—without any evidence (and contrary to the official autopsy—is a violation of Twitter’s community rules and terms of service,” he added later, asserting “an ordinary user” would be banned from Twitter if they created a similar post.

trump to reporters
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after arriving from Camp David to the White House in Washington on May 17, 2020. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

A Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to news outlets that workers “are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family.”

“We’ve been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly,” the spokesperson said.

A former neighbor and a former colleague told the Daily News (pdf) after the death that Klausutis was in good health and said they weren’t aware of underlying health issues.

“If she wasn’t working or in school, she always seemed to be out running,” Paul Lux, director of public relations for Emerald Coast Young Republicans, told the paper.

Trump frequently called into Scarborough’s “Morning Joe” show on MSNBC during the 2016 presidential campaign but the pair later had a falling out. Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski regularly disparage the president and Trump sometimes responds. Scarborough has denied wrongdoing in Klausutis’s death.

The president on Tuesday again posted about the case, claiming that probing the matter “was not a Donald Trump original thought, this has been going on for years, long before I joined the chorus.”

“So many unanswered & obvious questions, but I won’t bring them up now! Law enforcement eventually will?” he added.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber