McDougal's Embezzlement Trial Set For Aug. 3
By Lynda Nikula/CNN
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (July 23) -- Whitewater figure Susan McDougal's trial on embezzlement charges has been postponed until Aug. 3.
McDougal, who was a partner with Bill and Hillary Clinton in the controversial Whitewater land deal, is charged with embezzling about $150,000 from conductor Zubin Mehta and his wife Nancy.
Superior Court Judge Leslie Light officially agreed Thursday to delay the start of the trial until Aug. 3. The trial was originally set to begin Friday.
In a motion filed Wednesday, McDougal's attorney Mark Geragos asked for the delay, saying his client suffers from a disc herniation which is pressing on her spinal cord. A brace which has been ordered for her is not expected to
arrive until July 30, he said.
Geragos also said McDougal's doctors say she is not physically able to "undergo the rigors of a six-week jury trial without appropriate treatment and medical intervention."
Physicians' notes included with the motion say McDougal complains of chronic neck and upper back pain "that she says was aggravated by her recent
McDougal also told physicians she has a history of scoliosis.
McDougal is accused of forging checks and charging hotel rooms, restaurant tabs, plane tickets and shopping sprees between 1989 and 1992 while working as a personal assistant and bookkeeper for the Mehtas.
McDougal was cited for contempt in September 1996 and served 18 months in
jail for refusing to answer questions before a Whitewater grand jury.
She recently was released from prison after serving 3 1/2 months of a
two-year term for a 1996 bank fraud conviction in the Whitewater case. McDougal
was convicted along with her husband James and former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker.
McDougal also faces trial Sept. 28 in federal court in Arkansas on
obstruction of justice and contempt counts stemming from her refusal in April
to answer questions in front of the grand jury about President Clinton.
If convicted in the embezzlement case, McDougal faces up to seven years in prison.