Russian Election-Hack Saga Has Tragic Chicago Connection

(CBS) — There’s a Chicago connection to a newly identified player in the mystery over whether — and how much — Russian hackers played a role in the U.S. presidential election.

But as 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports, a Lake Forest financier may have taken what he knew to his grave.

In his room at a Rochester, Minn. hotel, police authorities found the body of 81-year-old Peter W. Smith on May 14.

The official police report says he had a plastic bag over his head connected to a helium tank and a note saying there was “no foul play ” involved. He reportedly said he was committing suicide because of a “recent bad turn in health,” and his $5 million life insurance was expiring.

This came 10 days after Smith described his search for Russian hackers he believed had presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s missing emails to Wall Street Journal reporters.

He was quoted as saying he was not part of the Trump campaign. But he was a longtime Republican supporter and fundraiser who may have hoped the emails would help the candidate.

But on his blog, Smith posted some advice for Trump the day before Smith died, saying “there needs to be some review” of his tweets “because more of these reflect poorly” on the president.

Smith blogged the “Russian interference story will die of its own weight” and rejected theories that Trump or his team colluded with Russians to defeat Clinton, saying, “The narrative is totally inaccurate.”

The narrative on Smith is yet to be completed. Documents found in his hotel room are likely to be of interest to authorities investigating all of this.

Smith was divorced. CBS 2 was unable to reach his ex-wife or children, who live in Lake Forest.

 

 

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