Printer Friendly

JUDGE ORDERS CLINTON SUBPOENA.

Byline: Angie Cannon and Aaron Epstein Knight-Ridder Tribune News Wire

A federal judge ordered a subpoena Monday for President Clinton to testify next month - possibly on videotape - in the Whitewater trial of Susan and James McDougal, his partners in the failed Arkansas real estate venture.

U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. ordered court officials to prepare a subpoena for the president in the McDougals' fraud and conspiracy jury trial, which will begin March 4 in Little Rock.

Susan McDougal's attorney, Bobby McDaniel, has said Clinton could impeach the credibility of the government's star witness, former Municipal Judge David L. Hale, who also owned a government-backed finance company.

Hale has accused Clinton and James McDougal of pressuring him into making a fraudulent $300,000 Small Business Administration-backed loan to an advertising company owned by Susan McDougal in 1986. Hale has said that Clinton was trying to help McDougal bail out his failing thrift, Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan. Clinton has denied pressuring Hale into making the loan.

Last August, the McDougals and Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker were indicted on fraud and conspiracy charges, accused of defrauding the government with bogus loans through Madison Guaranty and Capital Management Services Inc., Hale's company. Hale has pleaded guilty to using his company to defraud the SBA.

The subpoena is bad political news for the president as Whitewater continues to haunt him as the 1996 presidential campaign begins.

Last month, Hillary Rodham Clinton gave four hours of subpoenaed testimony before the Whitewater grand jury about her legal billing records. They suddenly showed up in the White House about two years after they had been subpoenaed. Those Rose Law Firm records showed how frequently she worked on land deals for Madison Guaranty, which cost taxpayers $65 million when it collapsed in 1989.

White House officials were quick to say Monday that the president is being subpoenaed as a "friendly witness" and that his testimony likely will be videotaped.

The order of Howard, a Jimmy Carter appointee, allows that option, by saying: "If, however, it is concluded that the president's personal appearance is not tenable, counsel are directed to consider other options for presenting the president's testimony, for example, via videotape or satellite."

A White House source said: "People shouldn't be confused about what is going on. The McDougals think he can provide credible information that will undermine their accusers."

Clifford E. Fishman, a law professor at Catholic University of America in Washington, suggested that Clinton's testimony could help the defense even if, as expected, he denies exerting pressure to advance a loan.

"Simply by bringing a president into the trial, the defense could create the impression that the defendant is a very small flea on a much larger dog, that the prosecutor ought to be ashamed of himself for bothering with such a small target and ought to go after the big shots," Fishman said.

"It's not uncommon for people accused of corruption to invoke the names of the mayor, the police chief, the president, the secretary of state or whatever."

"We are aware of reports that Judge Howard has approved the request of the McDougals that the president provide testimony in their upcoming trial," the president's personal attorney, David E. Kendall, said in a statement. "We have received Judge Howard's order and we will review it carefully. The president's intention is to cooperate in an appropriate fashion."
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 6, 1996
Words:564
Previous Article:One year ago, Ed O'Bannon was midway through his dream season.\Today, the former Bruins' go-to guy is...\NOTHING BUT A NET.
Next Article:BRUINS HAVE IMPROVED SINCE HAWAII DUNKING\Early losses might have helped.


Related Articles
SECRETARY TALKS TO GRAND JURY.
CLINTON GETS SUBPOENA FROM STARR.
CLINTON OKS QUESTIONING BY STARR.
JUDGE RULES STARR CAN SKIP WHITEWATER WITNESS HEARING.
DEPOSITIONS TO BEGIN IN JONES LAWSUIT.
GRAND JURY SUMMONS FIRST LADY.
FIRST LADY TO MAKE HISTORY WITH GRAND JURY APPEARANCE.
EDITORIAL : THE FOREIGN-MONEY TRAIL A NO-NONSENSE JUDGE GETS TOUGH WITH A FUND-RAISER.
CLINTON LEGAL DEFENSE FUND SUBPOENAED.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters