Michael Baden

Michael M. Baden (born July 27, 1934[1]) is an American physician and board-certified forensic pathologist known for his work investigating high-profile deaths and as the host of HBO's Autopsy.[2] Baden was the chief medical examiner of the City of New York from 1978 to 1979. He was also chairman of the House Select Committee on Assassinations' Forensic Pathology Panel that investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Baden's independent autopsy findings are often in conflict with the local authorities' opinions.[3]

Michael Baden
Born (1934-07-27) July 27, 1934 (age 86)
EducationCity College of New York (BS)
New York University (M.D)
Known forTestimony in the O. J. Simpson trial · Investigations of the John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations · Investigations of the death of Jeffrey Epstein, the death of John Belushi and the Killing of George Floyd.
Medical career
ProfessionPathologist
InstitutionsAlbert Einstein College of Medicine
Albany Medical College
New York University
New York Law School
Sub-specialtiesForensic pathology

Early life and educationEdit

Baden was born in the Bronx, New York on July 27, 1934 to a Jewish family.[4][5] He graduated at the top of his class from the City College of New York in 1955.[4] He received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1960.[6] He completed a pathological residency at Bellevue Hospital.[7]

Professional careerEdit

New York CityEdit

Baden was the chief medical examiner of the City of New York from 1978 to 1979, but was removed from his position by New York City Mayor Ed Koch, after Koch had received complaints about his work, including memos from district attorney Robert Morgenthau and city health commissioner Reinaldo Ferrer, documenting their criticism of Baden for “sloppy record keeping, poor judgment, and a lack of cooperation".[8][9][10][11][4][12][13] In 1979, Baden's onetime lawyer Robert Tanenbaum defended his autopsy methods, while also acknowledging his lack of cooperation with the New York establishment.[14] Baden later won $100,000 in a wrongful-termination suit.[7]

HSCAEdit

Baden was chairman of the House Select Committee on Assassinations' Forensic Pathology Panel that investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy.[15]

Later careerEdit

Afterward, Baden was hired as deputy medical examiner for Suffolk County, but was dismissed for allegedly making inappropriate comments about how to commit the perfect murder.[8][16][17][9] An article in Oui Magazine quoted him describing how to get away with "high tech murder," but Baden strongly refuted it.[7] The decision to let him go was rescinded shortly thereafter, as the circumstances of his alleged comments were unclear, but Baden chose to leave the position nonetheless.[17]

Baden maintains a private forensic pathology consulting practice. He has been a consulting or lead pathologist and an expert witness on a number of other high-profile cases and investigations. He testified at the trial of O. J. Simpson on behalf of the defendant,[16] at Sergeant Evan Vela's court martial,[18] and on behalf of Phil Spector at the latter's murder trial, while Baden's wife served as Spector's defense attorney.[17] He has been hired to conduct private autopsies in a number of cases, including the shooting of Michael Brown[19] and the deaths of New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez,[20] civil rights lawyer and politician Chokwe Lumumba,[21] George Floyd[22] and African-American artist Ellis Ruley.[23][24]

Baden was the Forensic Science Contributor for Fox News, and a frequent guest on Fox's late-night satirical program Red Eye where he was known as the "Death Correspondent".[25][26] Baden also has his own television series on HBO: Autopsy.[27]

Some of his opinions have been considered controversial, especially where he has opposed the findings of the county coroner.[28][10][29] New York Magazine journalist Sarah Weinmann labeled Baden as a "celebrity pathologist."[14]

Notable casesEdit

O J SimpsonEdit

Baden testified in the Simpson trial on August 10 and 11, 1995 and made two claims that he later disowned.[30][31] First, he claimed that Nicole Brown was still standing and conscious when her throat was slashed.[32] The purpose of this claim was to dispute the theory that Brown was the intended target. The prosecution argued that Brown was murdered first and the intended target because the soles of her feet didn't have any blood on them despite the large amount of blood at the crime scene and that she was unconscious when her throat was cut because she had very few defensive wounds.[33][34] At the subsequent civil trial the following year he disowned that claim and admitted it was absurd to think that someone would stand still without moving their feet while their throat is being slashed and not fight back.[35][36][37]

Baden then claimed that Ron Goldman remained conscious[38] and fought with his assailant for at least ten minutes[39] with a severed jugular vein.[31][30] The purpose of this testimony was to extend the length of time it took the murders to happen to the point where Simpson had an alibi.[40] At the subsequent civil trial he initially denied making that claim and then after being confronted with a video clip of him saying it at the criminal trial, he disowned it. Baden claimed he misunderstood the question but the Goldman's attorney allege he said it because the defense paid him to do so. He also alleged that Baden knowingly gave false testimony because he knew that Ron Goldman's blood was found inside Simpson's Bronco despite Goldman never having an opportunity within his lifetime to be in Simpson's car.[41][42][36][37]

After the trial, Baden said that testifying for Simpson was a mistake as his reputation and credibility never recovered and his clientele for his consulting practice all but vanished.[43] Because of the negative reaction to the acquittal by the public,[44] the jurors stating they believed his two aforementioned claims that he later disowned,[45] and the trial being televised making his testimony widely known,[4] he was constantly being made to rehash his testimony from the Simpson case during cross-examination in other cases and constantly being discredited for allegedly being a "rented expert" who sold himself to Simpson and deliberately gave misleading testimony in order to collect a $165,000 retainer.[46][17]

Phil SpectorEdit

In 2007, Baden testified on his new theory on the death of music producer Phil Spector's victim. He sought to provide an alternate explanation for blood on the victim's jacket. When asked by a prosecutor if he had any conflicts of interest, Baden replied "None that I can think of." It was later revealed that his wife was one of Spector's main attorneys.[7]

Michael BrownEdit

At the request of the family of Michael Brown, Baden conducted a four-hour independent autopsy.[7]

Jeffrey EpsteinEdit

In October 2019, Baden was hired by Jeffrey Epstein's brother, and observed the autopsy done by city officials following Epstein's death in custody at a Federal facility in New York City on sex trafficking charges. Baden disputed New York City chief medical examiner Barbara Sampson's conclusion that Epstein's death was a suicide, asserting that three fractures in Epstein's neck were more consistent with homicide by strangulation and rarely seen in suicide by hanging.[47][9][48] Baden has stated that the autopsy "points to homicide".[48]

George FloydEdit

In late May 2020, Baden, along with other physicians including Dr. Allecia M. Wilson of the University of Michigan, was hired by the family of George Floyd, following his death after an encounter with Minneapolis Police, to perform an autopsy. The autopsy concluded that the manner of death was homicide due to mechanical asphyxia, which conflicts with the Hennepin County medical examiner's autopsy which found that the cause of death was due to “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”[49]

Personal lifeEdit

Baden's first marriage, which ended in 1997, was to Judianne Densen-Gerber, a physician and founder of the drug treatment program Odyssey House; together they had four children, Trissa, Judson, Lindsey, and Sarah.[50] Baden later married Linda Kenney Baden, who served as one of Phil Spector's main attorneys during his capital murder trial and replaced Bruce Cutler after his withdrawal from the proceedings.[51]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Bio - Baden, Michael M. - 1934". Archived from the original on March 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "HBO: Autopsy: Ask Dr. Baden: Bio". April 4, 2008. Archived from the original on April 4, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  3. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/08/13/michael-baden-jeffrey-epstein-autopsy/
  4. ^ a b c d Farzan, Antonia Noori (August 13, 2019). "JFK, O.J. and now Epstein: 'Celebrity pathologist' Michael Baden has seen his share of controversial cases". Washington Post.
  5. ^ Peltz, Jennifer; Mustian, Jim. "Epstein lawyers bring in celebrity pathologist for autopsy". www.timesofisrael.com.
  6. ^ "NYS Professions - Online Verifications". www.nysed.gov.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Who Is Dr. Michael Baden, the Coroner That Examined Michael Brown?". NBC. August 18, 2014. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Who Is Dr. Michael Baden, the Coroner That Examined Michael Brown?". NBC News.
  9. ^ a b c Briquelet, Tracy Connor|Kate (October 30, 2019). "NYC Medical Examiner Dismisses Epstein 'Homicide' Claim by Dr. Michael Baden" – via www.thedailybeast.com.
  10. ^ a b Weinman, Sarah (October 31, 2019). "Why You Might Not Want to Believe Michael Baden on Jeffrey Epstein's Death". Intelligencer.
  11. ^ Severo, Richard (August 1, 1979). "Koch Removes Baden as the City's Medical Examiner". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  12. ^ Chambers, Marcia (June 8, 1982). "Koch Is Assailed as Baden Case Opens". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  13. ^ Appeals, United States Court of; Circuit, Second (October 15, 1980). "638 F2d 486 Baden v. I Koch". F2d (638): 486. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ a b Weinman, Sarah (October 31, 2019). "Why You Might Not Want to Believe Michael Baden, Celebrity Pathologist, on Epstein's Death". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  15. ^ "Evaluation of the medical, pathological and related evidence pertaining to the death of President John F. Kennedy". Appendix to Hearings before the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives. VII. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. March 1979. p. 73.
  16. ^ a b Brown, Lee (October 30, 2019). "Epstein 'homicide' claim latest headline for famed pathologist".
  17. ^ a b c d Weinman, Sarah (October 31, 2019). "Why You Might Not Want to Believe Michael Baden on Jeffrey Epstein's Death". Intelligencer.
  18. ^ Moore, Solomon (February 9, 2008). "G.I. Tells of Ordering Unarmed Iraqi's Death" – via NYTimes.com.
  19. ^ Robles, Frances; Bosman, Julie (August 17, 2014). "Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck at Least 6 Times". Retrieved February 23, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ "Saying goodbye and thank you to the 'judicial genius' Chokwe Lumumba". AmsterdamNews.com. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  22. ^ "Independent autopsy finds George Floyd died of asphyxia". ABC News. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  23. ^ Benson, Adam (July 27, 2015). "Expert: Ruley froze to death, son-in-law likely strangled before drowning". The Norwich Bulletin. ISSN 2377-5874.
  24. ^ Bessette, Claire (July 28, 2015). "Ruley's death 'undetermined,' son-in-law's death called homicide". The Day. ISSN 0744-0499.
  25. ^ "Who Is Dr. Michael Baden, the Coroner That Examined Michael Brown?". NBC News. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  26. ^ Williams, Randy (2017). Sherlock Holmes And The Autumn Of Terror. p. 556. ISBN 1326907077.
  27. ^ "'Autopsy' On HBO Profiles Dr. Michael Baden, The Forensic Pathologist Investigating Jeffrey Epstein's Suicide". January 20, 2020.
  28. ^ Brown, Lee (October 30, 2019). "Epstein 'homicide' claim latest headline for famed pathologist".
  29. ^ Farzan, Antonia (August 13, 2019). "JFK, O.J. and now Epstein: 'Celebrity pathologist' Michael Baden has seen his share of controversial cases".
  30. ^ a b "Jack Walraven's Simpson Trial Transcripts - AUGUST 11, 1995". simpson.walraven.org.
  31. ^ a b "Jack Walraven's Simpson Trial Transcripts - AUGUST 10, 1995". simpson.walraven.org.
  32. ^ Claiborne, William (August 11, 1995). "PATHOLOGIST CRITICIZES L.A. CORONER" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  33. ^ "THE SIMPSON MURDER CASE : Defense Pathologist a Familiar Face : Forensics: New Yorker Michael Baden has worked on several important cases, including the slayings of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr". Los Angeles Times. June 28, 1994.
  34. ^ "Pathologist for Defense Rebuts Work by Coroner : Simpson trial: Baden questions procedures and findings about timing and method of murders". Los Angeles Times. August 11, 1995.
  35. ^ "Expert for Simpson Disputes Testimony on Cuts". The Associated Press. December 17, 1996 – via NYTimes.com.
  36. ^ a b "Jack Walraven's Simpson Trial Transcriptss - DECEMBER 16, 1996". simpson.walraven.org.
  37. ^ a b "Jack Walraven's Simpson Trial Transcriptss - DECEMBER 17, 1996". simpson.walraven.org.
  38. ^ "THE O.J. SIMPSON MURDER TRIAL". Los Angeles Times. August 12, 1995.
  39. ^ Margolick, David (August 11, 1995). "Victims Put Up Long Fight, A Witness for Simpson Says" – via NYTimes.com.
  40. ^ Writer, Jessica Seigel, Tribune Staff. "PATHOLOGIST IN SIMPSON TRIAL SAYS VICTIMS STRUGGLED LONG AND HARD". chicagotribune.com.
  41. ^ "Witness Backs Off Theories Helpful to Simpson Defense". Los Angeles Times. December 18, 1996.
  42. ^ "Defense Expert Offers 2-Killer Scenario". Los Angeles Times. December 17, 1996.
  43. ^ "Forensic Pathologist Dr. Michael Baden: I Was Shunned For Being A Defense Witness In O.J. Simpson Trial". April 5, 2016.
  44. ^ "Forensic pathologist discusses his role in the OJ Simpson case 25 years later". Fox News.
  45. ^ "Mixcloud". Mixcloud.
  46. ^ "COURTTV.COM - TRIALS - O.J. Simpson: Week-by-week". December 11, 2007. Archived from the original on December 11, 2007.
  47. ^ Paybarah, Azi (October 30, 2019). "Epstein's Autopsy 'Points to Homicide,' Pathologist Hired by Brother Claims". The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  48. ^ a b Paybarah, Azi (October 30, 2019). "Epstein's Autopsy 'Points to Homicide,' Pathologist Hired by Brother Claims" – via NYTimes.com.
  49. ^ Robles, Frances; Burch, Audra D. S. (June 1, 2020). "How Did George Floyd Die? Here's What We Know". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  50. ^ Martin, Douglas (May 14, 2003). "Dr. Judianne Densen-Gerber Is Dead at 68; Founded Odyssey House Group Drug Program". The New York Times.
  51. ^ "The Phil Spector Trial: We Watch Court TV So You Don't Have To: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily". May 25, 2009. Archived from the original on May 25, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
Preceded by
Dominick DiMaio
New York City Chief Medical Examiner
1978-1979
Succeeded by
Elliot M. Gross