Hastings' wife believes death was "tragic accident"

While conspiracy theories abounded following the journalist's death, Elise Jordon refuses to fuel them

By Natasha Lennard
Published August 6, 2013 6:15PM (EDT)

Following the tragic death in a fiery Los Angeles car crash of award-winning journalist Michael Hastings, conspiracy theories about a possible government assassination abounded. After all, Hastings was famed for taking on and taking down the upper echelons of U.S. power structures with his fierce, take-no-prisoners reporting.

At the time, I urged against wild conspiracy theorizing, largely on the grounds that ungrounded speculation did little justice to Hastings' legacy of grounding his work in research and hard reporting. I noted:

Applying Occam’s Razor, it is entirely feasible that Hastings feared FBI investigation, given his work, that he was correct in his fear, that he was correct in his speculation, and that early Tuesday morning he went for a fast drive and lost control of his car, which exploded on high impact. A number of the writer’s friends have expressed that Hastings was going through a stressful period. No extra premise of a planted government bomb is necessary to offer a plausible picture at all.

On Monday night, Hastings' widow, Elise Jordan spoke publicly for the first time and also erred away from conspiracy theories. She told CNN's Piers Morgan that the fact of her husband working on a hot story was not evidence enough to suggest that he was therefore part of an assassination plot. Rather, Jordan described her husband's death as a "tragedy" and -- as is the case -- a loss for us all:

"There have been, as there always are in these situations, wild conspiracy theories that he was chasing some hot story, maybe connected to that, his late night car crash in Los Angeles. Other theories, too. Do you subscribe to any of this?" Morgan asked.

"I have no doubt that he was pursuing a hot story. He always had at least five hot stories going — that was Michael," Jordan said. "Right now, the LAPD still has an active investigation. I don't really have anything to add. My gut here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm very unlucky and the world is very unlucky."

Jordan added that Hastings' story on CIA director John Brennan will be published in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone.

Watch Jordan's appearance below:

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Cia Cnn Conspiracy Theories Elise Jordan Gen. Stanley Mcchrystal John Brennan Lapd Michael Hastings Video