Whitewater Judge Recuses Herself From McDougal Case
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AllPolitics, May 8) -- Judge Susan Webber Wright, the federal judge who sentenced Susan McDougal to 18 months in jail for civil contempt, recused herself Thursday from presiding over McDougal's criminal contempt trial.
Wright cited previous rulings against McDougal as reason not to hear the
latest charges. On Monday the now-defunct Whitewater grand jury in Arkansas indicted McDougal on two counts of criminal contempt and one count of obstruction of justice.
Wright's recusal is the second in this case. Judge Stephen Reasoner cited his friendship with Wright and the possibility that she could be made to testify at McDougal's trial as his reason to step aside. The case has been reassigned to U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. who presided over McDougal's 1996 trial in which she was convicted of bank fraud along with her former husband James McDougal and former Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker.
McDougal is scheduled to be arraigned May 14 on the criminal charges.
No hearing has been set on a motion filed Wednesday asking that she be resentenced and released on her previous Whitewater fraud conviction.
Press contributed to this report.