Autopsy: Ex-Putin aide’s death caused by blunt force trauma

Getty Images

A former spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin who co-founded the Kremlin-backed news outlet RT died in a Washington hotel room of blunt force trauma to the head in November, according the office of D.C.’s medical examiner.

The Thursday revelation runs counter to previous reports that Mikhail Lesin's November death was due to a heart attack, reigniting accusations that foul play may have been involved.  

ADVERTISEMENT
A joint statement from the Washington Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Metropolitan Police Department claimed that Lesin, 59, also suffered “blunt force injuries of the neck, torso, upper extremities and lower extremities," which contributed to his death.

The incident “remains an active ... investigation," the police department added.

Lesin’s Nov. 5  death at the Dupont Circle Hotel in November sparked a series of conspiracy theories. The Daily Beast reported in January that he may have been trying to cut a deal with the FBI to avoid money laundering and anti-corruption laws, in exchange for intelligence about the inner workings of Putin’s government.

In the early 2000s, Lesin was known as a particularly aggressive spokesman for Putin and was reportedly nicknamed the “Bulldozer” because of his ability to get Russian media outlets to fall in line. While advising Putin, he also helped to create RT, a pro-Russian English-language news channel.

Two years before his death, Lesin was appointed the head of Russia’s powerful Gazprom Media, a state-run company that controls multiple Russian media outlets.