From: Lynda Nikula/CNN
Subject: ACLU Wants Susan McDougal Moved
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed papers in federal court today seeking to have convicted Whitewater defendant Susan McDougal moved from the county facility where she is being held to a federal facility.
The ACLU joined Mark Geragos, McDougal's attorney, in the demand. The civil liberties group said it feels that federal authorities, influenced by Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, are illegally holding McDougal in the Los Angeles County jail as punishment for refusing to testify in the Whitewater investigation.
The ACLU's filing says there is no lawful basis for federal authorities to hold McDougal in county jail, where they say conditions are less desirable than in federal jail, on federal civil contempt charges.
On Sept. 9, 1996 McDougal was found in civil contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury about the Whitewater affair. She was held in a federal detention facility in Carswell, Texas until November 1996, then transferred to Los Angeles to face charges of embezzling $150,000 from conductor Zubin Mehta and his wife, for whom she worked as an assistant.
The ACLU's filing also claims that McDougal has been held under conditions that even those charged with serious violent crimes may not have to endure. Among those conditions cited are being held in isolation under lockdown for up to 23 hours per day; consistently kept in handcuffs; variously denied visitation, medical visits, worship services, and reading materials, including a Bible; forced to wear a red jail uniform reserved for informants and "baby-killers;" and forced to endure the taunting of male prisoners, exposing themselves and masturbating in front of her without intervention from guards.
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