McDougal Attends Pre-Trial Hearing
McDougal returns to jail after medical furlough
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AllPolitics, March 6) -- Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, freed Tuesday on a three-day medical furlough, returned herself to custody Friday afternoon to resume a contempt sentence.
In September 1996, McDougal was sentenced to jail for contempt over her refusal to testify before the Whitewater grand jury. The sentence was orginally set to expire this weekend but it could be extended just as the grand jury has been.
McDougal was given a three-day medical furlough this week to undergo tests for breast cancer, according to her brother, Bill Henley. Those tests indicated she did not have cancer, Handley said.
Her brief freedom was kept a closely guarded secret under orders from the judge. Her lawyer confirmed the furlough as they arrived at the courthouse Friday morning for a pre-trial hearing in another case.
It's unclear when McDougal will begin serving a two-year sentence imposed for her conviction on Whitewater-related charges. In May 1996, McDougal and her ex-husband, James McDougal, were found guilty of misusing a $300,000 loan, $25,000 of which prosecutors said went to fund the Whitewater land venture.
Friday morning, McDougal was at the Santa Monica Superior Court for a pretrial hearing on charges she embezzled $150,000 from conductor Zubin Mehta and his wife in Santa Monica.
McDougal arrived at the courthouse with her fiance Pat Harris, and her attorney. Following judges orders, she did not say anything to newspeople outside.
Henley said his sister got her hair done and nails manicured, and has been taking long hot baths since she was released on the furlough.
"She had anything she wanted to eat, and as much as she wanted to eat," Henley said. "We pampered her as much as we could."
When asked how his sister feels about Monica Lewinsky's treatment by Independent Council Ken Starr, he said, "It's just like deja vu. She understands it very well ... There's no limit what this man will do to get the president."
Henley said his sister has no regrets over how she and handled the grand jury ordeal.
"She's saved her self-esteem," he said. "She knows what she's done wrong, but she's not trying to save herself with a lie."
McDougal returned to the Metropolitan Detention Center Friday afternoon.
At the pre-trial hearing, the judge ordered a trial date in the embezzlement case set for within 30 days of April 10.