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McDougal's Lawyer Claims Starr Knew About Secret Payments

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 9) -- An attorney for Whitewater figure Susan McDougal said Thursday FBI documents he is seeking will show Independent Counsel Ken Starr knew his key Whitewater witness had received secret funds from political enemies of President Bill Clinton.

hale

Attorney Mark Geragos said he has information that David Hale received more than $100,000 during the time he was a cooperating witness for Starr's prosecutors in the 1996 Whitewater trial in which McDougal was convicted.

"David Hale was bought and paid for. And Ken Starr knew he was bought and paid for," Geragos said.

Geragos said he would file a writ of habeus corpus to overturn McDougal's conviction, and a motion to alter McDougal's sentence sometime within the next two months. Geragos said he first expects to gather information from two unnamed individuals associated with The American Spectator magazine. Geragos said he has learned other individuals will come forward with information about the funneling of cash to Hale.

Geragos leveled the charges against Starr's office in an impromptu news conference on the steps of the federal courthouse where a federal jury convicted McDougal of conspiracy and fraud charges in 1996.

Geragos said he has learned FBI documents within the independent counsel's office show that Starr's staff knew that "meetings were being held and money was changing hands." He flatly accused Starr of "obstruction of justice."

Geragos' charges appear to support claims by Caryn Mann of Bentonville, Ark., that her former live-in boyfriend Parker Dozhier of Hot Springs, Ark., was part of a plot to funnel money to Hale.

mann

In a Tuesday interview with CNN, Mann described in detail what she believed to be a plan involving at least five people to provide Hale with funds in exchange for information about Starr's Whitewater investigation.

Mann said FBI agents accompanying Hale to Dozhier's lakeside bait shop and trailer knew of Hale's meetings there.

Mann said Dozhier told her of the transfer of money, and Mann's son Josh Rand told CNN he personally witnessed Dozhier handing money to Hale on three occasions. Mann has been interviewed twice by FBI agents working with the U.S. attorney, P.K. Holmes, in Fort Smith, Ark. Holmes reports to Attorney General Janet Reno.

Reno said last week Mann's allegations "must be pursued" and has recommended that Starr investigate the allegations, CNN has learned.

Geragos and other Starr critics had urged Reno not to appoint Starr to pursue the claims. Other options weighed by Justice Department officials included Whitewater trial Judge George Howard, the Justice Department's own Office of Professional Responsibility, or even a new independent counsel.

Dozhier emphatically denied he gave any money to Hale, his friend of 30 years. Dozhier admits receiving funds from a conservative foundation but only for services as a "stringer."

Dozhier refused to be interviewed, but in a conversation in his bait shop on Lake Catherine, he blasted his former housemate and her son. He described both as "troubled" and challenged their credibility.

Hale's Little Rock lawyer David Bowden wrote to Reno accusing Mann of "a convenient or malevolent hoax by those with an agenda on behalf of and with the assistance of the White House."

Mann denies being a "tool of the White House" in coming forward. However, her attorney David Matthews readily admits he is long-time friend and supporter of Clinton.

CNN's Terry Frieden and Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.
In Other News

Thursday April 9, 1998

Clinton Visits The Heart Of Tobacco Country
McDougal's Lawyer Claims Starr Knew About Secret Payments
Another White House Steward Goes Before Grand Jury
Ex-Sen. Packwood Mulls A Comeback

The "Inside Politics" Interview:
Sen. Ron Wyden


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