McDougal Attorney Asks Judge To Let Her Out Of Prison
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AllPolitics, May 6) -- An attorney for Susan McDougal filed a motion Wednesday asking that she be resentenced and released on her Whitewater fraud conviction.
Attorney Mark Geragos said one principal reason to let McDougal go is that new evidence has been developed about David Hale, the prosecution's key witness in the Whitewater case, indicating he was being paid by "anti-Clinton" forces while cooperating with Independent Counsel Ken Starr.
Geragos said the motion "is basically asking that given the fact that as of right now Susan has done more time than anyone connected with this investigation, and since she was the most peripherally involved it makes sense to resentence her and let her out at his point."
On Aug. 20, 1996, McDougal and her husband, James, were found guilty of misapplying Small Business Administration Funds in April of 1986. She was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. to two years in prison.
She never began serving that sentence, however, because prior to the date she was due to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, she was found in civil contempt by Judge Susan Webber Wright for refusing to testify before the Whitewater grand jury.
McDougal has spent 18 months in jail on the civil contempt charge. As it now stands, said Geragos, McDougal has received only limited credit for the time she has served and her fraud sentence would not end until March 8, 2002.
"I don't know of anybody who thinks that at this point that keeping her in jail will serve any good purpose," said Geragos.
Last week, she was indicted by the Whitewater grand jury on criminal contempt charges. She will be arraigned on Thursday of next week.
On the lastest indictment, the grand jury found McDougal in contempt for refusing to answer questions about a $5,000 check she wrote the with notation "payoff Clinton."
Geragos said the check is "benign" and again accused Starr of dragging McDougal back before the grand jury as part of a "sham" exit strategy for the close-out of the grand jury.
Geragos said at a later date, he will file a motion asking Howard to vacate McDougal's Whitewater fraud sentence entirely.