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Clinton's Whitewater Testimony Can Be On Videotape


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 20) -- President Bill Clinton can give his testimony in the trial of Jim and Susan McDougal, the president's former Whitewater partners, by videotape, a federal judge ruled today. It's a major victory for the president, who sought to avoid appearing in person.

Requiring Clinton to travel to Arkansas, as lawyers for the McDougals and Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who's also on trial, sought to do, would be "unduly burdensome to the president in the performance of his official duties," U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. ruled.

But the judge denied Clinton's request that questions be provided in advance. Howard said only national security concerns would warrant that kind of special treatment. Howard, who will preside over the deposition, will allow lawyers to probe the president on any allegations raised during the trial. The tape may be edited before being played for jurors.


The McDougals and Tucker are being prosecuted by Whitewater independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr for defrauding the government of some $3 million in loans from Madison Guaranty Savings and David Hale's Capital Management Services Inc. Hale says Clinton pressured him to loan Susan McDougal $300,000, an accusation the president has called "a bunch of bull."

In other Whitewater-related developments, the U.S. Senate may wrap up its investigation earlier than some Republicans want. Though the inquiry was originally scheduled to end February 29, Whitewater chairman Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y) wanted another $600,000 for an open-ended investigation. But faced with mounting pressure from Democrats, Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-Kan.) announced Tuesday, "I think we can...get an agreement to end it by June 15."

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