Art and Entertainment

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Mary-Kate Olsen

Actress Puts Hold on Heath Ledger Investigation

August 04, 2008 05:17 PM
by Cara McDonough
Actress Mary-Kate Olsen says she won’t be interviewed by federal investigators about Ledger’s death until she receives immunity from the prosecution.

30-Second Summary

The New York Post reports that investigators have interviewed nearly everyone connected to Ledger and his death, including his doctors, a masseuse, bodyguards, the housekeeper and actress Michelle Williams, who is the mother of Leger’s three-year-old daughter, Matilda. Only Olsen has refused to speak.

On January 22, the Australian actor was found dead in his New York City apartment by his housekeeper and a masseuse, who had arrived for an appointment with Ledger.

Before calling emergency responders, the masseuse called Olsen, a friend of Ledger’s. Olsen did not call the police either, but instead sent her bodyguards to the apartment. Initial reports also stated incorrectly that Ledger had died in Olsen’s apartment.

The New York City Medical Examiner’s officer later ruled that his death, from a mix of prescription drugs, was accidental.

If Olsen’s silence continues in the Drug Enforcement Agency probe, federal officials could obtain a grand-jury subpoena to compel the actress to tell them whatever she knows about Ledger’s “behavior, his possible drug use and the events of that fateful morning, according to sources.”

Although neither Olsen nor investigators have yet discussed the type of immunity likely to be involved, there are two types of immunity—transactional and use immunity—that protect witnesses from self-incrimination, that differ slightly. According to the Department of Justice, “transactional immunity protects the witness from prosecution for the offense or offenses involved, whereas use immunity only protects the witness against the government’s use of his or her immunized testimony in a prosecution of the witness.”

Olsen Wants a Deal

The New York Post reports that a source said that Mary-Kate Olsen is the last witness investigators need to question to conclude their inquiry into where Ledger got his drugs. Allegedly all of the drugs discovered in Ledger’s body were acquired legally from two physicians with the exception of painkiller OxyContin.

Background: Ledger’s death, early reports and the ensuing investigation

The New York City Medical Examiner’s office announced the coroner’s verdict in early February, following Ledger’s January 22 death. According to a written statement, Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine. His death was ruled accidental.
Early reports of Leger’s death were characterized by inaccurate statements. The mistaken initial report from a New York Police Department spokesperson that Ledger had died in Mary-Kate Olsen’s apartment was rapidly circulated from site to site around the world.

Opinions & Analysis: Is she hiding something?

Some blogs, such as celebrity gossip blog I’m Not Obsessed have suggested that Olsen would ask for immunity only if she were hiding something about Ledger’s death: “What does that mean? Why would someone do that unless they have something serious to say? This just got terribly interesting. I thought this story was over and Heath could rest in peace, but it seems that Mary Kate knows something that has brought it all back to life.”
Blog Hollywood Grind asks “What is Mary-Kate hiding that would make her fear prosecution? Did Mary-Kate do something illegal that resulted in Heath’s death, or did she not call for help that could have prevented Heath’s death?”

Related Topics: Immunity


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