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On April 3, 1996;
The final Air Force investigation attributed the crash to pilot error and a poorly designed landing approach.
"Responding to homicide allegations, an official of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology acknowledged that doctors initially were puzzled by a circular wound on the top of Brown's head when his remains were recovered at the crash scene. The forensic pathologist then consulted with others and took extensive X-rays. As a result of these consultations and full-body X-rays, we absolutely ruled out anything beyond a blunt-force injury to the head."
Of specific concern was a trip Brown had made to Vietnam on behalf of the Clinton Administration.
Secretary Brown died on a trade mission to Croatia, when the government plane he was on flew into a mountainside on April 3 in the 1996 Croatia USAF CT-43 crash. This led to conservative accusations that Clinton had Brown murdered; U. S. Attorney General Janet Reno and others scoffed at this conspiracy theory. Soon after, Nolanda Hill declared that she had been engaging in a long-running affair with Brown.
The trade missions controversy became more visible in 1996 as an outgrowth of the 1996 United States campaign finance controversy and investigations of Democratic fundraiser John Huang. It thusly became an issue during the United States presidential election, 1996, in which Clinton was nevertheless re-elected.
In November 1996, independent counsel Daniel Pearson reported: "My office's investigation of Secretary Brown ended unfinished with his death. The unfinished state of the investigation and considerations of fairness preclude our office from drawing conclusions about the allegations regarding possible criminal conduct by the Secretary.