Starr Gets Extension For Whitewater Jury
Six more months needed to digest McDougal's testimony, says counsel; meanwhile, McDougal says he had lied under oath to protect Clintons
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AllPolitics, April 22) -- A federal judge has agreed to Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr's request to extend by six months the term of the Little Rock grand jury looking into the Whitewater affair.
"The matters being investigated by this grand jury are matters of great public interest and its work has not been completed," said U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright.
Two reasons Starr cited for his request were the newly provided evidence from James McDougal, the Clintons' former Whitewater business partner, and "extensive evidence" of obstruction of justice. (160K wav sound)
Meanwhile, McDougal told CNN's Larry King on Monday night that he had lied under oath to protect the first family, but was no longer doing so. But he noted, "Anyone in my position who cooperates with the prosecution should say up front, 'I'm trying to save my own skin.'" (transcript)
Nine months of help from McDougal have provided many avenues to investigate, but, as Starr wrote to Wright, "This grand jury has also heard extensive evidence of possible obstruction of the administration of justice."
Deputy prosecutor W. Hickman Ewing told reporters that the grand jury still has plenty to plow through.
"They're not through with their business. There's still other witnesses to be called, other records to be subpoenaed," Ewing said.
The jury was seated May 7, 1996, for a one-year term. Starr has asked for an extension through Nov. 7. Federal court rules prohibit a jury for sitting for more than two years.
On CNN's "Larry King Live," McDougal said Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, did discuss a fraudulent $300,000 loan for McDougal's wife Susan with banker David Hale.
McDougal said Clinton came in on the tail end of a meeting McDougal was holding with Hale. "He says, 'Did you discuss Susan's loan?'" McDougal said. "I was -- you know -- oh, I was flabbergasted. I still am. I don't know how he got there, why he was there, who asked him to come there." (128K wav sound)
Clinton testified under oath last year that he did not participate in such a discussion and knew nothing about the loan, which was part of a futile attempt to prop up the Whitewater land development operation.
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