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Maine's AG finds nothing that undermines confidence in medical examiner

Maine's Attorney General Aaron Frey released a letter he wrote to Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos concerning complaints against Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Mark Flomenbaum

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine's attorney general released findings after a state rep filed complaints against the state's chief medical examiner. 

Attorney General Aaron Frey released a letter he wrote to state Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, saying that nothing in a review of three complaints against Maine's Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Mark Flomenbaum undermines his confidence in the quality of the examiner's work. 

A spokesman said on Friday that the office has completed its review and released the letter that detailed the findings. You can read the full findings and Dr. Flomenbaum's response later in the story.

"Nothing in this review undermines the confidence of the Attorney General's Office in the Chief Medical Examiner or in the quality of his work and that of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner," Frey wrote in the letter.

Frey's letter states that Flomenbaum "has been found to be exemplary by the National Association of Medical Examiners." The letter details Frey's confidence in Flomenbaum and his office at large. 

"Dr. Flomenbaum's credibility as an expert witness in State homicide cases is regularly tested by defense counsel, and has been integral to many murder convictions, including most recently in State v. Gaston," said Frey in the letter.  "It should be noted that in the recent State v. Gaston case, press reports suggested that Dr. Flomenbaum 'changed' his opinion regarding the direction of the gunshot wound. This is a misunderstanding of Dr. Flomenbaum's opinion and subsequent testimony. After the matter was heard at trial, the defense forensic expert agreed with Dr. Flomenbaum's report and Dr. Flomenbaum's trial testimony."

Dr. Flomenbaum has been the subject of intense scrutiny this year after his opinion in a high-profile Noah Gaston murder case seemed to have changed. The judge declared a mistrial in the Noah Gaston murder case.

Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, an Independent from Friendship, has filed three complaints questioning the conduct and credibility of Flomenbaum.

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Evangelos has issues with Flomenbaum's consulting on cases in different states. Evangelos said Flomenbaum has "demolished" his credibility, with repercussions for cases in Maine.

Evangelos, in his response to the attorney general, told the Portland Press Herald that he is "deeply disappointed." He told the paper that Flomenbaum has damaged his reputation, and he accused Frey of ignoring a Connecticut case in which Flomenbaum acted as an expert witness in 2016.

According to the Press Herald, a Connecticut judge said she did not find Flomenbaum's testimony credible in a child-death case. The paper said the Connecticut prosecutor send then Governor-elect Janet Mills a letter pointing out the judge's critical comments about Flomenbaum. 

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey says he has completed an internal review of the chief medical examiner's credibility and remains confident in his work despite complaints. State Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, an independent from Friendship, filed three complaints this year about Dr. Mark Flomenbaum.

"If this is the person you have confidence in, then I will be asking the Judiciary Committee to compel your appearance before it to answer to the issues discussed here," Evangelos wrote, according to the Press Herald. "In short, your review lacks scope and substance."

Dr. Flomenbaum also released a statement. 

"I appreciate that the process is an unbiased attempt to shed light on the highly complex and often misunderstood workings of civil and governmental agencies," said Flomenbaum in the release. "I acknowledge the need for this process and support it wholeheartedly.

"I take very seriously my responsibilities to conduct thorough and accurate death investigations, and have always done so with utmost respect, dignity, and compassion. The results of this review inspire me to continue to lead the Office of Chief Medical Examiner on the same course that culminated in national recognition; Maine now has one of the best Medical Examiner Offices in the country. I will also continue to ensure that the people of Maine can trust our office and that we will continue to support them with accurate and timely answers during their most difficult times."

Rep. Evangelos was far from satisfied. 

"Unfortunately, in not considering the devastating findings from Connecticut, I can't put much stock in your findings," Evangelos wrote, according to the Press Herald. "In fact, I reject them, and will ask the Judiciary Committee to ask you to appear and explain them."

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey Findings

Dr. Flomenbaum's response