Ken Starr Questions Hillary Clinton Under Oath
Videotaped testimony taken Saturday at White House
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 25) -- First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was put under oath and questioned for five hours on videotape Saturday by independent counsel Ken Starr.
White House counsel Charles Ruff later released a statement saying that the questioning surrounded work done by the first lady's former law firm in Arkansas during the mid-1980s for Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, and her "relationship with related individuals."
Madison was owned by James McDougal, who was involved with President Bill Clinton and his wife in Whitewater, a failed land deal in Arkansas that Starr has been investigating for four years. The savings and loan later failed, costing taxpayers an estimated $65 million.
The videotape of Saturday's testimony will be played for a grand jury in Little Rock, Arkansas, that is investigating events surrounding the Whitewater deal.
Starr's prosecutors had questioned the first lady on five previous occasions, including a January 1996 appearance before a grand jury in Washington.
Questions center on alleged discrepancies
Sources familiar with Saturday's questioning tell CNN that Starr raised several examples in which Mrs. Clinton's recollections of her work at the Rose Law Firm were at odds with documents and accounts of other witnesses.
The White House refused to say if Mrs. Clinton refused to answer any questions. She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing but has been named in court papers as a potential target for indictment.
The latest testimony by Mrs. Clinton comes at a critical juncture for Starr's investigation. The Whitewater grand jury in Little Rock will expire in two weeks, and the independent counsel must decide whether to close down his investigation, seek indictments or ask a judge to name a new grand jury.
Prosecutors want to know whether Mrs. Clinton drafted legal papers that McDougal used to deceive regulators about the financial condition of Madison.
McDougal, who had been cooperating with prosecutors, died last month in a federal prison in Texas where he had been serving a sentence for Whitewater-related crimes.
President out golfing during wife's testimony
Recent witnesses before the grand jury in Little Rock say prosecutors have asked whether Clinton supporters tried to shape the testimony of key witnesses or conceal documents after the Whitewater investigation began.
Sources tell CNN that Starr informed the Clintons' attorney, David Kendall, about a week ago that he wanted to question the first lady again. The videotaped testimony Saturday afternoon was arranged after negotiations between the two sides.
President Clinton was out playing golf and was not in the White House when his wife was being questioned.
CNN White House Correspondent John King and Reuters contributed to this report.