Cops Debunk Whistleblower Beating

This image made available by The British Library in London on Thursday, Oct 28, 2010, shows a Punch cartoon dating from Oct. 1855. Punch was the leading British satirical periodical in the 19th century, and this cartoon looks at the British pre-occupation with H-dropping as a marker of social class. AP/The British Library

An attack on a Los Alamos nuclear lab auditor outside a bar was unrelated to his status as a whistleblower, authorities said Thursday, calling into question the man's allegation that he was beaten to ensure his silence.

Tommy Hook, 52, suffered a broken jaw, a herniated disc and missing teeth in the attack outside the Cheeks nightclub in Santa Fe early Sunday. He has said the beating was carried out by thugs intent on keeping him from talking about alleged financial irregularities at the nuclear lab.

But investigators disputed that account Thursday, saying the attack occurred after Hook's car struck a pedestrian while leaving the club.

"Facts, evidence and information obtained during the course of this investigation has led investigators to believe that the altercation involving Mr. Hook is an isolated incident and is in no way related to Mr. Hook's whistleblower status at the Los Alamos National Laboratories," Santa Fe Deputy Police Chief Eric Johnson said in a statement.

The investigation is "leaning toward a fight in the parking lot as a result of Mr. Hook backing into a pedestrian," Johnson said. He said after Hook hit the pedestrian, he exited his vehicle, "at which time the confrontation escalated into a physical attack."

Police said they have identified people involved in the attack and were sending the case to prosecutors. They did not release the identities of anyone involved.

"It's going to go to the D.A. and they're going to have to decipher who should be charged with a crime," Johnson said.

Hook did not return calls Thursday. A colleague and fellow whistleblower, Chuck Montano, said Hook had secluded himself to recover from his injuries.

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