McDougal Attorney Seeks Delay In Trial
By Lynda Nikula/CNN
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Sept. 3) -- The attorney for Whitewater figure Susan McDougal is asking her embezzlement trial be postponed.
Mark Geragos filed a motion Thursday to delay the start of opening
statements in her case from Sept. 8 to Sept. 22.
Geragos requested the delay because thousands of documents, some recently released from the Internal Revenue Service and some found at the home of orchestra conductor Zubin Mehta and his wife, Nancy, have not all been reviewed, the motion says.
Of the 27,466 pages, Geragos says he has only been able to comb through about 10,000 of them.
Jury selection in the case finished Aug. 17 with five men and seven women chosen.
Judge Leslie Light scheduled a break in the trial from the end of jury selection until Sept. 8 so that attorneys for both sides could go through the newly discovered documents.
McDougal, who was a partner with Bill and Hillary Clinton in the
controversial Whitewater land deal, is charged with embezzling about $150,000 from the Mehtas.
She 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. She is also charged with failure to file income tax returns.
If convicted in the embezzlement case, McDougal faces up to seven years in prison.
McDougal was also 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 late husband, James, and former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker.
She also faces trial on Sept. 28 in federal court in Arkansas on
obstruction of justice and criminal contempt counts stemming from her refusal in April to answer questions about Clinton in front of Independent Counsel Ken Starr's Arkansas grand jury.
The judge is expected to rule on the delay request Friday.