Conservative pundit Ann Coulter has been cleared of allegations that she falsified her Palm Beach County voter's registration and voted illegally — this, after a high-level FBI agent made unsolicited phone calls to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to vouch for Coulter.
The caller wasn't just any G-man. According to PBSO documents, he was Supervisory Special Agent Jim Fitzgerald, of the FBI Academy's Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Va. — the closest reality gets to the serial-killer catchers on CBS' Criminal Minds.
So why would an FBI profiler who went after the Unabomber take time from his busy day to even think about a municipal election snafu?
Fitzgerald is mum. But when the bureau heard about this from Page Two, it immediately launched an internal review of the agent's involvement.
"We're looking into it," bureau spokeswoman Ann Todd said.
She declined to say whether Fitzgerald acted on his personal behalf or as an FBI agent or on someone else's orders.
County Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson, meanwhile, decried what he called "FBI intrusion." He referred the Coulter case to PBSO after poll worker Jim Whited originally reported the incident.
"This doesn't bode well in terms of the public's impression that celebrities receive preferential treatment," Anderson said. "I'm curious about how anyone can justify the FBI's intrusion."
First-year Detective Kristine Villa in December was assigned the job of investigating whether Coulter committed a felony in February 2006, when she cast her ballot in the wrong precinct in a Palm Beach election after registering to an address that wasn't hers.
Villa's report leaves the clear impression that Coulter's attorney, Miami's Marcos Jimenez, stonewalled Villa for five months — at times agreeing to make Coulter available, at others reneging, often not returning calls promptly or claiming not to be able to reach his client.
But in one conversation with Villa, the White House-connected Jimenez said Coulter simply received bad advice from a previous lawyer when, in March 2005, she first moved into her $1.8 million home on Seabreeze Avenue. He said Coulter may have put the wrong address on record to protect herself from a stalker.
Enter Fitzgerald, who spoke with Villa by phone Jan. 18. He confirmed "he has been working a stalking incident" involving the best-selling author. He added that "he did not have information relating to the allegations of voting improprieties nor did he have any intention to sway the outcome" of Villa's investigation.
Still, Villa closed the probe April 12 without interviewing Coulter; a Realtor, whose Indian Road address Coulter used; or neighbors of Coulter's Seabreeze homestead.
"We stand by our detective's work," PBSO spokesman Paul Miller said. "Based on the nature of the allegations, she did as much as she could."
Miller said Villa, who last month returned to uniformed detail at Palm Beach International Airport, based her decision to clear Coulter on poll worker Whited's testimony.
Whited, a staunch Republican who once ran for West Palm Beach mayor, told Page Two last year that Coulter dashed out of his polling place when he asked her to write a change of address. He later bragged on a radio show that he witnessed her committing a felony.
To Villa three months ago, however, Whited said Coulter may have misunderstood him and that he may have had a hand in her voting in the wrong precinct.
Anderson, whose office has been under fire for voting glitches, said he'll mull Villa's report before deciding whether he'll ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to step in.
As for Coulter's alleged stalker, check this out: Fitzgerald identified him as conservative Christian, rabid anti-Coulter blogger Dan Borchers of coulterwatch.com. Borchers said he remembers talking to two FBI agents about stalking accusations — in 1998.
"They stayed for five minutes," he said, "told me to be careful not to scare Ann Coulter. She hollers stalker at anybody who opposes her."
Fitzgerald told Villa that the supposed Borchers probe led to no arrest and he saw no reason why Coulter's address should remain secret.
LINK: FBI agent steps into Coulter voting case Strange...