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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

McDougal says she would talk if Starr apologizes

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, December 15) -- Susan McDougal wants Independent Counsel Ken Starr to "apologize to the nation for his investigation, for the tactics that he's used."

If he does, "I'll tell him anything he wants to know," McDougal said Monday on CNN's "Larry King Live."

McDougal was acquitted in November of allegedly embezzling money from conductor Zubin Mehta and his wife. Despite Starr's denials, McDougal is convinced the special prosecutor's office encouraged Mrs. Mehta to press the embezzlement case.

McDougal still faces criminal charges of obstruction of justice for refusing to testify to the grand jury investigating the Whitewater loan fraud case, which has already brought her 18 months in jail for contempt of court. McDougal has previously accused Starr of pressuring her to lie about the actions of the Clintons, her Whitewater business partners.

The obstruction trial is scheduled to begin February 16 in Arkansas.

Read the "Larry King Live" transcript below:


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight -- she's just been cleared in a fraud case, is still being pursued by Ken Starr. Susan McDougal, for the full hour, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

She seems to have been a part of us throughout all of this decade. She is Susan McDougal and she is free -- she's sitting here free, no shackles, no chains; not going to jail, but out of jail. And her attorney, Mark Geragos, who -- you've been with her from the start, right?

MARK GERAGOS, SUSAN MCDOUGAL'S ATTORNEY: Well, I have been here -- I was just telling her, about 45 days short of our second anniversary.

KING: You're out and then you go on trial, what was that like?

SUSAN MCDOUGAL: I got here, I think, two days before jury selection, and I was still -- I was -- I was still, just very -- kind of feeling funny about being out, you know? It still felt really funny just to walk free on the sidewalk.

KING: Freedom is funny, right?

MCDOUGAL: It felt really strange, you know, just to be out. But then I was confined in the court, you know, from 9:00 to 5:00 every day, and it started.

KING: Would you briefly explain -- there's a "Vanity Fair" piece on you, by the way, out now. Did you read it?

MCDOUGAL: I haven't read it, but I have heard. Mark gave me some highlights.

KING: Do you think it was fair?

GERAGOS: They didn't spend very much time with us, because we were in the middle of a trial, while they were writing it. I mean, there are some accurate factual things in there, but all and all no, I don't think it was completely fair. It doesn't really give her side of things.

KING: What were you -- why were you even involved with Zubin Mehta and his wife Nancy? It seems so removed from Little Rock? . MCDOUGAL: Well, actually it was my fiance's fault. He had the job first.

KING: Pat had -- interviewed with her and had worked for her first, then he decided to leave and I went to work for her.


KING: As an administrative assistant, and eventually helping her do the family finances.

MCDOUGAL: And she accused you of using her credit cards and stuff, using her money for personal gain. Is that, in essence, what she said?

MCDOUGAL: Well, actually, the story changed a lot of times. In the beginning, it was a loan that she didn't remember. And Mark, help me think. What were the first charges?

GERAGOS: The first things she accused her of was that she had a Bank of America credit card that she said had Susan's name on it, that she didn't know anything about this card, didn't know it existed, that there was a $6,000 loan, that Susan had characterized as a loan, that she had claimed was a theft. Well, as it turned out, as time went by and we investigated, not only did she know about the credit card with Susan's name on it, she had actually signed Susan's name to the credit card, she'd paid the bills all the way along, and she had squirreled away about six receipts in her house.

KING: Now, the foreman said the case made no sense. And one of the jurors was surprised they even brought the case. Were you surprised they brought the case?

MCDOUGAL: I never thought it would go to trial, because I thought what Nancy would do is make these accusations out of spite -- out of resentment or her illness.

KING: What was she mad at?

MCDOUGAL: I think that I had left.

KING: You quit?

MCDOUGAL: Severely lonely woman. Yes. Well, I had been trying to leave for a long time and trying -- it's like a marriage, where you keep trying to leave, and you keep staying, trying to make it all right.

KING: Did she ever confront you, and say you took this, please give it back to me, or I am going to the authorities?

MCDOUGAL: Oh, no, no. We had a meeting where she denied knowing anything about the card. And I told her, I said, well, it's been in the records -- in the bookkeeping records for two years. Right, Mark?

KING: And this was a card you used to buy what? MCDOUGAL: A lot of things for her, some things for me. We had an agreement, where the card would be used to pay me for the bookkeeping work that I'd done.

GERAGOS: I mean, the absurdity of this thing is that the credit card she says that she knew nothing about, that Susan is supposedly embezzling with, Nancy concedes that 30 to $60,000 worth of the charges on the card were for her benefit. And she's signing on the card she says she knows nothing about.

KING: Many of Nancy's friends, she has a lot of friends here in Hollywood -- first of all, she said you were buying things for her when you were two different sizes, tremendous difference. Was there a charge, where you said you were buying a dress for her but you couldn't have because her dress wouldn't fit you?

MCDOUGAL: Well, I lived with her for a lot of the time, a lot of the almost three years that I worked with her, I never saw a friend come to the house. I don't know that she has a lot of friends. That was the loneliest person I'd ever seen in my life.

KING: She's married to a very...

MCDOUGAL: Now, Zubin has a lot of friends, and he travels. But the testimony in the trial was that 11 out of 12 months they were not together. Nancy was with me 11 out of 12 months not Zubin.

KING: Two questions: what did she have against you?

MCDOUGAL: Again...

KING: Just because you quit, everybody -- a lot of people quit jobs.

MCDOUGAL: She has no family, and she is a very -- she is the most lonely person I have ever known in my life.

KING: So she felt betrayed?

MCDOUGAL: Yes, she felt very betrayed.

KING: And what did the authorities...

MCDOUGAL: Many times I tried to quit, I would say, Nancy, I've got to go on to be with Pat. I love him. I want to be with him. And she would up the ante, so to speak. If you stay I'll fly you to see him. If you stay, I'll make sure you two can be together.

KING: Were you shocked when she brought criminal charges?

MCDOUGAL: It took them a year to convince me that she meant it. I thought that it was -- I said to Pat when I heard about it, it can't be true. She's just hurt.

KING: Why did the state pursue it? GERAGOS: Well, I know why the state pursued it. The state originally filed this thing without even looking at it, then we discovered all kinds of things and then it was propped up by Starr.

KING: What would Starr have to do with Zubin Mehta's wife?

GERAGOS: Well, Starr had the ability to help out the L.A. DA's office, to put pressure on the L.A. DA's office, to use this as a bargaining chip to get here to cooperate with him.

KING: Do you know they did that?

GERAGOS: Absolutely.

KING: You have first-hand knowledge?

GERAGOS: I've got, not only first-hand knowledge, they specifically brought her out to L.A., to put her in Civil Brand (ph)...

KING: That's the prison, right?

GERAGOS: The prison, exactly. Now, when she was at Civil Brand, that's one of the toughest prisons in the country -- women's prisons in the country. In fact, when she was there they closed it down because of the conditions. And they specifically had her put there because they didn't like the federal facility where she was, it was too much of a country club. They figured this was the way too make it real hard on her.

KING: So you're saying this is all Kenneth Starr propagated, or prolonged. He didn't force Mrs. Mehta to bring these charges?

MCDOUGAL: The DA's office refused to bring the charges at first, on the evidence that Nancy may have brought.

GERAGOS: The case was rejected initially, and then it was propped up by the DA's office at the behest of Starr. I'm not -- we're not the only ones who said it. I mean, you talked to the jurors afterwards. The jurors were amazed that this case had gone to trial.

KING: Now, the other side says that what you did was put Ken Starr on the trial during this trial.

GERAGOS: Well, I was not able to use Ken Starr's name one time in this trial.

KING: He was never mentioned?

GERAGOS: Never mentioned one time.

KING: Was Bill Clinton mentioned?

GERAGOS: Bill Clinton was mentioned one time, but not by me. And the $300,000 loan was brought up by the district attorney cross- examining her. KING: Three-hundred-thousand-dollar?

GERAGOS: Loan in Whitewater.

MCDOUGAL: Our defense was totally the documents that my attorney crawled on his hands and knees in the dungeon of Zubin Mehta house and found that proved my innocence. We used an overhead projector to show the documents and the jury said this is a complete turnaround.

KING: How long was the jury out?

GERAGOS: The jury was out 14 hours, over two days.

KING: When we come back, more problems ahead for Susan, who seems in never-ending swirl.

Don't go away.


KING: ... spend in jail for not -- refusing to answer?

MCDOUGAL: Eighteen months.

KING: Do you feel it was worthwhile?

MCDOUGAL: I would do it again.

KING: You would do it again.

The charge -- eventually nothing happened with Whitewater, and I think two of the principal people who -- your ex-husband, David Hale, and others -- Ken Starr didn't buy their testimony, right? It wasn't introduced. It wasn't...

MCDOUGAL: He certainly paid (ph) them for it.

KING: Yes, but he said it wasn't credible, I think, in the final report. Well, we don't have a final -- but that's the indication.

MCDOUGAL: The indication is that he might have found them very credible if I'd backed up their story, which is exactly what he wanted me to do.

KING: And we still -- we'll ask this again, because a lot of people still come up to me and they can't figure out why you couldn't appear and just answer the honest questions no matter what he asked you.

GERAGOS: Two words -- Webb Hubbell.

KING: Explain.

GERAGOS: Webb Hubbell -- when Webb Hubbell cooperated and look what happened to him. He keeps reindicting him and reindicting him.

KING: He went to jail anyway.

GERAGOS: They had him there for 24 months when he cooperated. And now he's facing 15 new counts. And they have got the counts that were dismissed on appeal.

KING: But if you didn't do anything wrong -- this is the old adage -- Susan, what's to hide?

MCDOUGAL: But it was -- it was for a belief -- it was a conscious decision. People go to jail sometimes because of things they believe in. I knew what that man was after. You have to remember...

KING: Which was?

MCDOUGAL: ... the offers that he made me. First, to back up the David Hale story. And I would walk away.

KING: That Clinton was there with the loan.

MCDOUGAL: Yes. And secondly, that I had had a sexual affair with him.

KING: With Clinton?

MCDOUGAL: And I could walk away.

Knowing those things, it was a matter of conscience to go to jail.

KING: But wait a second, you could have answered to both questions no. I did not have a sexual relationship and Clinton wasn't present at the Hale meeting?

MCDOUGAL: He would have gone on. He wouldn't -- it wouldn't have changed anything. I had to make a stand. I had to do something.

KING: Gone on to what?

MCDOUGAL: I was helpless to change anything other than just say I won't do it.

GERAGOS: She understood intuitively at the time that if she told the truth, the truth wasn't going to be good enough. All he would have done then is he would have created an obstruction of justice. He then would have created perjury. He would have piled on 15 other counts just like he did with Webb Hubbell.

KING: But you've got a trial anyway...

GERAGOS: Well, we've got three counts, and we'll be able to deal with that. We'll be able to deal...

KING: You have to defend that in court, right?

GERAGOS: We have to defend it and we will. KING: She doesn't have to take the stand or does she?

GERAGOS: She does not.

KING: She's a defendant.

GERAGOS: She's a defendant.

KING: Do you think she will take that stand?

GERAGOS: I am not going to say anything that help out the independent counsel in any way.

KING: Concerning that trial in February, what are the charges?

GERAGOS: The charges are two counts of criminal contempt-- the one for the first one she wouldn't answer; the second one that they engineered when they dragged her cross country, herniated another disk of hers, and brought her out for the second contempt of court and then an obstruction of justice on the Whitewater case, which they testified that they had no...

KING: I don't understand. If she's done 18 months for contempt already, this is not double jeopardy?

GERAGOS: They claim it's not double jeopardy because they have a legal fiction. The fiction is that she didn't get punished first time with the 18 months -- that was to coerce her -- and that this time they're trying to punish her.

If you buy that, if you think what she went through wasn't punishment...

KING: Why didn't they just charge her in the first place?

GERAGOS: Because this way they can just keep turning the screws on her.

KING: What does Ken Starr have against Susan McDougal?

GERAGOS: It's become personal for him. It's become very personal.

KING: Why? Do you know him?

MCDOUGAL: He tried to say hello to me once and shake my hand, and I refused. That's it.

KING: But why would he...

MCDOUGAL: But he's the one who said it was personal. They asked him in front of the Judiciary Committee, and he said, yes, it's become personal.

GERAGOS: He's got a problem with women.

KING: Married -- he's got children.

GERAGOS: He's got a problem with women who are strong and who stand up. That's clear.

And No. 2, she's the only thing that stood in his mind between the Whitewater referral and him getting out of this thing and going -- taking this cushy job over at Pepperdine.

For whatever reason, this guy's become obsessed with her.

KING: Are calling him as a witness?

GERAGOS: Absolutely. He's are No. 1 witness. He'll be first and front row center.

KING: You've subpoenaed him?

GERAGOS: He will be.

KING: He has to appear?

GERAGOS: He has to appear?

KING: All right. And you're getting him as a witness for the defense?

GERAGOS: For the defense.

KING: In a case brought by whom?

GERAGOS: By his office.

KING: All right. You -- in other words, I could -- could his office call you?

GERAGOS: They could try. They could try.

KING: So could -- is he going to try to quash the subpoena?

GERAGOS: My guess is that he probably will. I mean, we subpoenaed him once on her state case and he didn't show up. They didn't bother to come...

KING: What do you want from him?

GERAGOS: I want the information. I want to know exactly why he feels that these tactics -- and I want him to explain these tactics. I want him to explain why it is he did what he did. Why he's wreaked such destruction on people in the name of this so-called "investigation."

KING: This trial would be here in Los Angeles?

MCDOUGAL: No, it would be Arkansas.

KING: In federal court, right? MCDOUGAL: Yes.

KING: How are you preparing for this? How do you feel? You're a defendant.

MCDOUGAL: I'll tell you. When we won the Mehta case, the first thought I had was I could go home now. I can hold my head up and I can go to trial, because this was the reason the Mehta case was brought, was to hurt me -- was to make people believe that I was a thief and an embezzler from somebody I cared about. And it was the most hurtful charge that could be brought against me.

And when I won that one, my thought was I am on my way home.

KING: Are you worried? You could do -- What? -- 10 years, right?

GERAGOS: She could do more than 10 years. The obstruction of justice carries with it a very, very heavy penalty.

KING: And they're saying she obstructed by doing what?

GERAGOS: By not answering questions, by giving evasive answers.

She said she wasn't going to answer. She wasn't going to cooperate with him, that he had a conflict of...

KING: And it wasn't on 5th Amendment grounds that she refused...

GERAGOS: No, no.

MCDOUGAL: There is no 5th Amendment in a grand jury.

GERAGOS: She'd already been given immunity.

KING: We'll go back to it, Susan. You have got nothing to hide. What could he do to you? What is he going to do -- lie on the floor, scream, jump, yell? What could you do? You have got nothing to hide.

MCDOUGAL: You know, I was thinking the other day about this. And I thought, you know what, if he'll apologize -- You know, how they're always asking Clinton to apologize? -- if he'll apologize to the nation for his investigation for the tactics that he's used, apologize to my older brother, that he sent a target letter to threaten him, apologize to my younger brother who lost his job because he was subpoenaed to a grand jury to put pressure on me, let him apologize and I'll tell him anything he wants to know.

KING: So all Ken Starr has to do tonight is apologize for anything done to you or your family and you will...

MCDOUGAL: Apologize for his investigation.

KING: ... and you'll appear before any of his group of prosecutors. MCDOUGAL: Apologize. Say that he's sorry for the investigation and how he's done it, that he dragged Monica Lewinsky in and then today had the nerve to call his own witness a liar -- and as you said, David Hale a liar, Jim McDougal a liar -- that he...


KING: ... say he just didn't -- sort of noncredible?

GERAGOS: Well, he doesn't believe him.

I mean, you know, on one hand, Monica Lewinsky is the gospel. On the other hand, when she's making accusations against him, she's some kind of a distraught female who he doesn't think knows what she's talking about.

MCDOUGAL: I think we deserve an apology -- $40 million, how many years later, and all of his witnesses are now discredited. He owes us all an apology.

KING: Did you do anything wrong in Whitewater?

MCDOUGAL: I did nothing wrong, and he knew it very well, and they laughed about it after they convicted me, which is another good reason for me not to say one word to him.

Susan McDougal and Mark Geragos are the guests. Back with more on LARRY KING LIVE, after this.



WILLIAM CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't believe it's in the interests of the United States or the American people to have to go through this process, with a trial in the Senate. That's why I have offered to make every effort, to make any reasonable compromise with the Congress. I still believe that. And I am still willing to do that. That's all I know to do. Meanwhile, I am going to keep working on my job.


KING: When you get out of prison he wished you well. That was President Clinton, speaking today in the Middle East.

Do you wish him well?

MCDOUGAL: Yes, I do. I am glad he's our president.

KING: Do you think he should be censured, impeached, what?

MCDOUGAL: I know that he's suffered. I am sure that he has suffered. I mean, anyone who has a child that has to face their child with the news that he had to when this became public has suffered. I don't wish him any further ill will at all. KING: Judy Bachrach (ph), in the "Vanity Fair" article on you, quotes, I think, quotes you -- yes, quotes you, early on as saying that there was always trouble in that marriage, the Clinton marriage, that you had said this to her or someone as early as back when the four of you would get together?

MCDOUGAL: I never said that to her.

KING: When your husband was on this show, your late husband...


KING: The night before he went to prison, he said that he was convinced you had a relationship with Bill Clinton.

Were you shocked at that?

MCDOUGAL: Yes, I was very hurt by that. I remember sitting in the prison, I got a phone call the from my fiancee and he said that Jim had said that. And I had to reconcile that with the fact that he was cooperating with Kenneth Starr, who had made me the offer that if I would say such a thing -- I could...

KING: You mean, Starr said say you slept with him. Why would that have been a crime?

MCDOUGAL: It was right before the election. It was right before the Clinton/Dole election, and they came to me with the offer that if I would say I'd had some sexual affair, I could have some amelioration toward the Whitewater conviction.

KING: Is it logical, though, that Jim believed that?

MCDOUGAL: No, no, we were very close. I saw him every day. I was with him every day while he made his deal with the independent counsel. He knew very well it wasn't true.

KING: You would understand, though, Susan, being bright that your attracted, the president's attracted. The president's had problems with other women in his life. It might be logical to assume, on certain people's part, that the two of you might have connected. I mean, that's not illogical?

MCDOUGAL: I would say that's a very mean thing to think, a very mean thing to think about someone. I married Jim because I loved him. He's about the polar opposite to Bill Clinton as you could possibly get. Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton -- I remember conversations with him before he married Hillary, where he said, she's very different than anyone I have known before. I can't get her off my mid. I really love her. We were young married couples together. It's just not true.

KING: What do you think happened to him? How did he...

MCDOUGAL: I think he comes from a troubled family.

KING: ... fall into the Lewinsky thing?

MCDOUGAL: I know -- I knew his mother. I knew his brother. I knew his background. He's very insecure about his background and about himself. You know, he told me once -- he said, when I was young, I had to ware Husky boy's jeans, you know. And I think he had a troubled early life. And that shows up. It shows up in all of us.

KING: But we do age. We get smart. We hopefully mature.

MCDOUGAL: We have crisis in our lives, and it matures us and maybe he had it too easy. Maybe things were too easy for him for too long. But I think this will definitely be a maturing factor, if -- he reacts to this as I did to what happened to me, it will make his life far better.

KING: Do you agree?

GERAGOS: Absolutely. But, you know, to -- to a certain extent, this thing is so ridiculous, and has gotten to the point of such absurdity, the fact that we're actually going to have a Congress vote on this, at this point, this week, is just mind-boggling.

KING: But you're a lawyer. Lying under oath is a crime, is it not?

GERAGOS: No, it's not.

KING: Not a crime?

GERAGOS: It's not a crime. I mean, this idea that any lie under oath is a crime is nonsense. I mean, there's U.S. Supreme Court precedent for the fact that prosecutors, all the time, have absolute immunity for putting somebody up there, materiality matters. And all of these distinctions that people are making that they kind of dismiss coming out of the White House, that's what happens in a real court.

MCDOUGAL: We had the best legal minds and the best scholars go before this committee and tell them there was no crime and they went right ahead.

KING: Did you ever take an oath, did you take an oath -- or when you refused to testify, was there an oath taken, admittedly?

GERAGOS: Yes, there was an oath.

KING: OK, if she'd have lied for Ken Starr, supposing the premise is correct, and said she had an affair...

GERAGOS: Ken Starr would be immune. Ken Starr would be immune. If it was material, Ken Starr, as a prosecutor, would be immune.

KING: But she'd be available -- liable for perjury?

GERAGOS: Right. But who is going to bring the charge? The prosecutor's in control. He's got the keys. MCDOUGAL: Which is why David Hale and Jim McDougal were never brought up. Even though he didn't believe them, he put them up as witnesses. He's immune, nothing ever happened to them.

GERAGOS: Look, the Mehta case is a perfect example. Nancy Mehta got up, and no less than 150 times in that trial, lied, committed perjury, proven perjury, within the span of a half an hour.

KING: Who is going to charge her?

GERAGOS: Who's going to charge her, the L.A. DA?

KING: We'll be back with more. We'll be including your phone calls for our guest tonight for the full hour, Susan McDougal and Mark Geragos.

Tomorrow night, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. If the vote goes the other way, he'll be on a jury with 99 others. Don't go away.



PRESIDENT CLINTON: My reaction to the committee vote is that I wasn't surprised. I think it's been obvious to anyone who is following it for weeks that that vote was foreordained, and now it is up to the members of the House of Representatives to vote their conscience on the Constitution and the law, which I believe are clear. And I have no intention of resigning. It's never crossed my mind.


KING: What do you think his offstage life with Bill Clinton is like? The Bill Clinton you knew.

MCDOUGAL: You mean now?

KING: Yes, now, what do you think?

MCDOUGAL: Oh, I am sure that they're both very sad about this? They were full of such hope when this thing all began.

KING: Do you think she's angry at him?

MCDOUGAL: I think she's passed that. I know Hillary fairly well, enough to know that her initial anger is now into -- what do we do to make our family work, and to make this right?

KING: And Chelsea?

MCDOUGAL: I imagine she's confused, if I had to make a guess. You know, I don't know her. But if I had had to make a guess I would think this would be a very confusing thing for her to have to deal with.

KING: This trial coming, we're going go to your calls momentarily. This trial coming, Mark, should last how long?

GERAGOS: They have estimated three weeks, and it's scheduled to begin about the middle of February.

KING: Are there already listed witnesses for the defense?

GERAGOS: No, not yet. We haven't had to disclose...

KING: You have to produce that?

GERAGOS: Well, so far I have given them two witnesses here today, so I am going to give them Ken Starr and Hickman Ewing are the two that, without a doubt, will be called.

KING: Who is Hickman Ewing?

GERAGOS: He's the guy who's in charge of the office of independent counsel's office down in Arkansas.

KING: Are you going to tell us tonight who might appear for your side?

GERAGOS: No, I have got a number of witnesses. I have talked to people as recently as two hours ago, who want to testify on Susan's behalf. And we're going to call a number of witnesses.

KING: A lawyer can never be confidant, right? It's a mistake to go -- or is it?

GERAGOS: I don't know. We went into the Mehta case and I was as confidant as I could be. I told her going into that case that I thought -- I normally had a feeling when I was going to win a case, and I told her that I had that same feeling earlier in the year on another case and I'd won it, and that I'd had that same feeling with her in this case and we won it. And I have that same feeling, once again, for Arkansas.

I think the people of Arkansas -- and I spent quite a bit of time in Little Rock talking with people. It's one of the greatest places on earth, and I think the people there will understand. I think they will understand what's going on here and I think that they're going to react the way any person would react.

MCDOUGAL: They have been through it longer than anybody else. They have had Ken Starr going through everybody in Little Rock, Arkansas, longer than anyone in the nation and they know his tactics, they know who he is. And I would like to say one thing about this -- vote that's coming up. We're going to look back on this, and this is going to be the McCarthy hearings. I absolutely believe that 30 years from now, we're going to be saying to each other: How did we let this happen?

I can't watch it on television. People I talk to say what could we do about it? This is not what the people want and this is not what the Constitution calls for and nothing's happening. It's going right ahead. They're on a roll and I am really upset about it. If someone has an answer and they want me there, I am there. Just tell me what to do. I am so upset about this vote going forward, when I feel that the people of this nation do not want it and that it is absolutely wrong.

KING: You hate Ken Starr, don't you?

MCDOUGAL: I have given up hating him. He needs to apologize.

KING: Did you hate -- did you say, according to "Vanity Fair," did you say about Nancy Mehta, "lay into her. Beat her up. Take her on, commit..."

MCDOUGAL: Mark, you were there, did you hear any it?

GERAGOS: She also said her hair was flailing away in my lap, and I don't think my wife does, either, so...

KING: She didn't tell to be rough...

GERAGOS: No, no, she wasn't telling me to be rough on her.

KING: I just wanted to clear that up. It was in the article. We'll be back with Susan McDougal and Mark Geragos and your phone calls. Don't go away.

It's a historic week in Washington, and we'll bring it to you live. Tuesday night, an exclusive interview with Senator Patrick Leahy. He may soon be a member of a jury. Plus, an incredible panel: Johnnie Cochran, Representative Barney Frank, Gary Aldrich and more. And then, on Wednesday, the eve of the impeachment vote, we'll talk to two people who know President Clinton well: former advisers Leon Panetta and Rahm Emanuel; plus, "Washington Post's" Ben Bradlee and Judge Robert Bork.


KING: We're back with Susan McDougal and Mark Geragos, her attorney.

By the way, were you treated worse than others in prison? Were you singled out?

MCDOUGAL: I was singled out, especially in the county system, definitely.

KING: You were?

MCDOUGAL: But also somewhat in the federal system.

KING: London, England, as we go to calls -- hello.

CALLER: Good morning, thanks. Glad that I got through. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I wouldn't be able to do so. I am on a hunger strike in support of the president of the United States.

KING: You're on a hunger strike in London. CALLER: And I would...

KING: I don't think it's going to get very far.


CALLER: ... until he's cleared. Do you have a question?

KING: Do you have a question?

CALLER: Now, my question is for the lady, for Susan -- what is it about President Clinton that makes you go all the way to protect him up to prison?

KING: Excellent question. Why are you taking it this far? Great question, sir. Thank you.

MCDOUGAL: Well, I have stated from the beginning I really didn't do it for Bill Clinton. I would do it for you, sir. If Ken Starr asked me to tell that you had broken some law and make me lie about you, I wouldn't do it either.

It was not a matter of who it was. It was a matter of what it was.

KING: Fort Lauderdale, Florida -- hello.

CALLER: Susan, do you plan to bring charges against Mrs. Mehta and Mr. Starr for their false accusations?

MCDOUGAL: You know, I am not an attorney. I don't know what can be done on that.

KING: Could she?

MCDOUGAL: I leave all of that to Mark.

GERAGOS: Mrs. Mehta can expect an early Christmas present.

KING: You're going to sue her?

GERAGOS: Mrs. Mehta can expect an early Christmas present.

KING: You can tell us.

GERAGOS: She'll get hers. We're not going to let this rest.

KING: What would the charge...

GERAGOS: Well, she has got without -- a slam-dunk malicious prosecution, libel, slander. The list goes on from there.

We're not going to let this rest with her.

What she did to Susan -- you know, Susan said it took about a year to convince her. It took literally four years to convince her of the maliciousness of what was going on. She couldn't believe that Nancy was going to go through with this. And she ended up doing it anyway. And we're not going to let it rest.

KING: Downey, California -- Hello.

CALLER: Hi. First, Susan, as your fellow American, I am so very, very proud of you. You make me feel very patriotic. And it's an unusual feeling lately.

MCDOUGAL: We need to feel patriotic. It's a time for it.

CALLER: Absolutely.

My question is, while you were in prison, had you many times wished that the president could have contacted you?

MCDOUGAL: You know, I didn't really think about that while I was in prison. This country does not treat its inmates very well. And I felt glad sometimes to be there in order to help.

And Mark Geragos, the man sitting next to me, he would sometimes give legal help to inmates. I kept very busy. He gave me money sometimes to bail people out, because let me tell you, the only people in jail -- the only women in jail are poor women.

There's no one with any money who is still sitting in jail.

KING: Didn't you expect the president, though, to -- I know he said he was happy when you were acquitted. I think he made statement.

GERAGOS: He made the statement.

KING: Did you expect him to say thanks?

MCDOUGAL: It wasn't about that for me. I can't tell you what a matter of conscience it was. It was about my family and about my fiancee. It was about the people that I loved. It was not about Bill Clinton who, even though I thought he was a good man -- and I knew he'd not broken the law -- that was the big thing. I knew he hadn't. And therefore, it would have been, for anyone, I would have done same thing.

KING: Did you ever advise your client to come out and talk and get out of jail?

GERAGOS: I'd never violate the attorney-client privilege and talk about that. I always would lay -- I'll tell you, in grand terms, I'd lay out the options.

KING: Permit him to violate it.

MCDOUGAL: I'll answer it for you.


MCDOUGAL: This man came to me the very first time I ever met him, and I told him what it was going to cost him to represent me. The least figure was six figures. And he told me, my dad and I and my brother have a small figure. And we've said -- if that girl can do what she's done, we'll stand up with her. And he has never asked me to change my conscience.

KING: Ellijay, Georgia -- hello.

CALLER: Susan, if you had an opportunity to talk to President Clinton in a 10-minute, private conversation, what would you have to say to him?

KING: Or even 11 minutes?

MCDOUGAL: I would tell him to fight. I am tired with of the apologies. The apologies are not going to work with these people. It's very clear...

KING: But he did something wrong.

MCDOUGAL: He did something wrong. He's apologized. We have all done something wrong.

Let's have the prayer of the tax collector and say, God, forgive me, we're all sinners. But let's go forward and fight these people.

And someone tell me what to do. I am ready to fight this.

I think this is the worst thing that's ever happened to our country. And if someone has an idea, let's band together as citizens of the United States and stop it.

There's going to be a vote on the floor of the House, and we should stand together against it.

And how do we do that? You tell me, and I'll be there.

KING: Benton, Arkansas -- hello.

CALLER: Hello, Susan...


CALLER: ... I just wanted to ask you about you and your boyfriend. Are you going to get married? Or are you going to wait maybe until after this other trial?

KING: He's right here, your boyfriend. What are your marital plans?

MCDOUGAL: Well, Pat and I planned to get married right before I got indicted. He was a young law student just out of the University of Michigan. And I didn't think it was fair.

I was about the most indicted woman on the face of the earth. And he had just started his career.

And I'll marry Pat Harris anytime, anywhere he wants to do it.

KING: Pat -- before the trial, Pat?

MCDOUGAL: He's sitting over there smiling right now.


KING: Well, they both say anytime, anywhere. This, I love this.

Do you want me to set the date?


How about a week before the trial?


MCDOUGAL: No, we're not driving through anywhere. I want everyone to come.

KING: You want everyone to come?

MCDOUGAL: I want everyone to come. It's going to be a great celebration.

KING: At what jail?

MCDOUGAL: God, I know.

KING: A little joke there. We'll be right back with McDougal and Geragos. Sounds like a law firm. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. You named it Whitewater, didn't you?


KING: It was your idea. Why do we call it Whitewater? Was the water white there?

MCDOUGAL: It was. It was lovely. You know, they make fun of it, but it was really quite a beautiful place.

KING: What's there now?

MCDOUGAL: And the water is much prettier than it is in many parts of the country.

KING: What is there now?

MCDOUGAL: It's the same as it was then, I think.

KING: Which is what?

MCDOUGAL: Undeveloped land.

KING: East Haven, Connecticut, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry and Susan and Mark. Susan, I had been reading -- following the papers on this conviction, and I believe in what you're saying; believe me. And that you hadn't been feeling very well, and that was one of the reasons why you were let go earlier?


CALLER: How are you feeling now?

KING: What was the matter? Thank you, ma'am. That was a good question.

MCDOUGAL: I have some disks in my back that have -- I have forgotten the word. They're blown.

GERAGOS: Herniated.

MCDOUGAL: Herniated disks. And I am always in pain, constantly. And I have -- I have trouble walking. In fact, they make fun of me all the time, because...

GERAGOS: We do call her Quasimodo on occasion.

MCDOUGAL: They call me Quasimodo, because I have a hump on my back now that I didn't have before jail. And I have trouble walking. I have a lot of problems. Right now, I am wearing a back brace, which is helping me to sit up straight.

KING: And you tried to see a special doctor, they wouldn't let you. You were there for health reasons, then?


KING: You could have been there how long?

GERAGOS: She could have been there for another 21 month, up to another 21 months. She -- I mean, she minimizes it, or laughs about it, but she has a very serious back condition. She's got herniated disks all the way up and down. Even the doctor that was hired by the office of the independent counsel was alarmed at the condition she was in. The Bureau of Prisons couldn't deal with it. And we haven't been able to give her the proper treatment, because ever since she has been out she has been in trial.

KING: How did prison treat it? Did they send you to a specialist?

MCDOUGAL: Actually, I didn't get any treatment for that while I was in jail.

KING: Harvey, Louisiana, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hi. I would like to ask Susan, what is her opinion of Linda Tripp, because of the principles that she has as a woman and has stood up for them?

MCDOUGAL: Linda Tripp has principles? I haven't heard of them.

KING: No. She said you have principles.


KING: What do you think of what she did?

MCDOUGAL: I was afraid that someone thought Linda Tripp had a principle somewhere. I think she's despicable. She was supposed to be a friend of this girl who was obviously in trouble. I mean, this was a girl, who her entire life had been in trouble and was looking to an older woman for advice and counsel.

KING: Do you think it's possible pressure was put on Ms. Tripp by the same man who tried to pressure you, pressure put on her?

MCDOUGAL: I don't see pressure being put on someone, who gladly goes from one office to another to offering help. You know, I felt like I was a mentor to many women in jail. Young girls who came in who had robbed banks. Some who had killed their children. I was on cell blocks with girls, who were accused of killing their mother, and I was a mentor to them in many ways because those were not throw-away people and neither is Monica Lewinsky. She should have had help. When she went to look for it, there should have been a woman there who had the gumption and the wherewithal to help her. And it wasn't Linda Tripp.

KING: Weren't there days, sitting in the cell -- it's a terrible day. The cell is dirty. It's raining. It's 2:00 in the morning. You can't sleep -- where you say to yourself, all I have got do is just not talk. I'll answer questions, I'll be honest, I'm out. I could be out in two hours. I think I am going to do that?

MCDOUGAL: No, there was never a time.

KING: No, not ever?

MCDOUGAL: Not ever. For one thing, I was a great help to the women in jail, because of Mark, Pat, my brother, Bill -- Bill would bring clothes to the women so they could go to court in something other than their orange jumpsuits.

KING: That's why they call you in the article, Joan of Arkansas.

MCDOUGAL: I was a great -- my heart was full when I was in jail, because I was able to help people there in a way that I never knew existed. And also, I had the greatest lawyer in the world to call anytime. I mean, he never -- never refused a phone call.

KING: She never got to the point, ever, of saying...

GERAGOS: No. The only time I was ever worried about her is when she was in a place here in Los Angeles called Twin Towers, which is a brand new facility. KING: Sounds like a condo.

GERAGOS: Well, they had her in her own little condo. It was what I called a sensory deprivation booth, which was a little glass cell. And she would sit in there and she could see out, but she couldn't hear anything, and they wouldn't let her talk to anybody. And I couldn't...

KING: For what purpose was she put in...

GERAGOS: She said for her own protection. They put her with the toughest of the tough and she was there for her own protection, and she had no human contact.

KING: All this for not speaking.

GERAGOS: Yes, well, this is when she's in civil contempt. This isn't supposed to be for punishment. This is for coercion.

MCDOUGAL: Twin Towers is the place where that young black man was choked to death, you know, that they're having the investigation about. And it's a tough place. Anyone who goes to county jail in the city of Los Angeles needs to beware, especially the mentally ill. I was held on the same floor as those that were mentally ill at Twin Towers and they were held under the same conditions I was.

KING: Have any of Bill Clinton's intermediaries, people who may work for him or know him, thanked you on his behalf?


KING: We'll be right back with Susan McDougal and Mark Geragos and more of your phone calls. Don't go away.


KING: One of the articles damage -- one of the parts of the article damaging to you is that you wanted to be Nancy. You dyed your hair to look like her.

MCDOUGAL: No one who knew Nancy Mehta wanted to be her, trust me. If there's one thing that we proved in the trial, it's that money cannot make you happy. That is one of the saddest people that there is in the world. And she's spent a million dollars a year.

To those of you out there who are suffering this Christmas to buy gifts for your children, glory in the fact that you have children, glory in the fact that you might have parents, because she doesn't have either.

KING: Aren't you a little, Susan, nervous about February?

MCDOUGAL: Of course.

KING: You could do hard time.

MCDOUGAL: The great thing about it is I am going to Arkansas. They know Kenneth Starr. And it's my hometown.

KING: Are you saying they aren't going to find a jury that'll convict you?

MCDOUGAL: I don't know. I just don't know. It's not something I think about.

I'll tell the truth and I'll take whatever consequences there are.

KING: You're not saying she'll take the stand.

GERAGOS: Once again, she's talking.

KING: You can't picture her not taking the stand?

MCDOUGAL: I didn't defend myself in the first trial, and I'll never let that happen again.

You know, we sat mute. We didn't put on a defense, and no one understood that David Hale was being paid by Richard Scaife...

KING: Scaife is a right-wing...

MCDOUGAL: ... that the other witnesses there had made deals...

GERAGOS: Scaife is the benefactor, the right-wing benefactor -- spreads his money out like Daddy Warbucks of the right.

MCDOUGAL: And no one knew that the witnesses against me there were being paid for their testimony and had made deals with Kenneth Starr. It won't happen that way this him.

KING: You've known him a long time. You were involved in business with him. You certainly have political opinions.

Why do people hate Bill Clinton? I mean, you can't call him a resounding liberal. Most liberals consider him conservative. Conservatives consider him liberal.

MCDOUGAL: He's a man of the people. A man of the people is...

KING: He's no big revolutionary?

MCDOUGAL: No, but he is touchable. He is not someone like Ronald Reagan who is far off and kinglike. Bill Clinton we understand.

KING: But Reagan was loved.

MCDOUGAL: We went to school with Bill Clinton. Everybody knows Bill Clinton.

KING: Back to the original then. Why hate him? Why is there such vituperativeness about him?

MCDOUGAL: The main people who hate him in the polls that I have seen are the young men -- 25 to 35. And I think there's a little problem there, men butting heads with trees. I don't know a lot about it -- you know, like moose do. I don't understand. Men have a problem with Bill Clinton.

KING: We agree. This guy in circles is hated?

GERAGOS: This guy in certain circles -- but she's right. It's usually -- you either find young males or angry old white guys.

MCDOUGAL: It's true.

GERAGOS: What falls into the people who just can't deal with Bill resident Clinton -- those are the two main groups.

KING: But for that? Philosophically they can't deal with him?

GERAGOS: No, it's more on a visceral level. I mean, these are people who just react -- who react to him. They don't know why. They can't quantify it, qualify it or anything else.

They just know that they don't like him, and they don't even know the reason why.

Look at someone like Bob Barr. I mean, Bob Barr looks at him -- I mean, he's got hatred. He doesn't even know the reasons why. I mean, he's motivated by that, and you can't even understand it.

MCDOUGAL: Kenneth Starr, who says his biggest hobby in high school was shining his father's shoes...

GERAGOS: On Saturday night.

MCDOUGAL: This is a guy who is going to hate Bill Clinton, the saxophone player. OK?

He -- Kenneth Starr is the guy that wants to be the quarterback on the football team and can't.

KING: We'll be back with our amazing -- that is amazing -- remaining moments with Susan McDougal and Mark Geragos.

Senator Patrick Leahy and others tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: Oklahoma City for Susan McDougal and Mark Geragos -- hello.

CALLER: Hello?


CALLER: Larry, how are you this evening?

KING: Fine.

CALLER: I think a lot of you. I had the cable hooked up just for your show.

KING: Smart thinking.

CALLER: Yes, sir. What happened was, Susan -- I want to direct this to you. I did time in a minimum security in Montana for three solid years. And I know exactly where you're coming from. If you had to change anything again, what would you change?

KING: Good question. What would you do differently, honest?

MCDOUGAL: In the jail or in life?

KING: Everything -- in life, since this saga came about? Not invested in Whitewater?

MCDOUGAL: Oh, that's a hard one. No one's asked me what I would do differently.

I wouldn't talk to reporters probably in the early -- in the beginning. I made a mistake talking to "DATELINE." I think that Dianne Sawyer was unfair in her thing -- in her reporting. And I think that hurt me.

KING: She worked for "DATELINE"?

MCDOUGAL: "PRIMETIME," sorry. I probably would not do that.

KING: They edited you?

MCDOUGAL: They edited it so badly. But other than that, I don't think I'd change anything.

KING: But you wouldn't have done the business deal obviously.

MCDOUGAL: I don't know. I would have lived my life pretty much...

KING: Would you approach Ken Starr differently?

MCDOUGAL: Absolutely not. He should have approached me differently. He should have known that he could not bully me or intimidate me or scare me. And he never knew it and he still doesn't know it. And that amazes me.

KING: What do you hear from people? Do you get hate mail? Do people hate you, too?

MCDOUGAL: I get -- sometimes, I get crank mail about the president, but I get lovely mail, too. And I would like to tell people -- they can write me at P.O. Box 7015, Santa Monica.

I have lost a lot of my mail from prison, and I want to answer your letters. So if you can write me, write me at P.O. Box 7015 Santa Monica.

I get letters that I read, and I weep and I cry because they're so beautiful. But I do get the hate-Bill-Clinton letters as well.

KING: Do you -- assuming you win and prevail at this trial, what do you want to do with your life? You want to get married.

MCDOUGAL: I want to get married.

KING: Children?

MCDOUGAL: And I want to do something -- I hope I still can. You know, I am 44 years old.

KING: Close.

MCDOUGAL: Yes. I would like to. If I get convicted in this, the ball game's over. And that would be a terrible thing.

KING: Let's say you're not convicted, but you can't have children. What do you want to do?

MCDOUGAL: I want to do something about women in jail. I want -- there was a quote by Mark Twain, I think. He said, "You can tell the character of a country by the way it treats its prisoners." And this country has a terrible record.

Los Angeles has a terrible record. I was in seven prisons and jails across this country. And it's a crime the way they treat accused people -- not people convicted, but just accused. And something needs to be done. They are not animals.

You know, we see commercials all the time with people running for office that say I am going to be tough on crime. They slam the door of the jail cell.

We have lost our humanity in this country.

KING: You have represented her for quite some time. You're going to go into a federal trial. There will be another thing coming with the Mehtas. How are you eating?

GERAGOS: Well, we -- some people have been sending money in to defray expenses.

KING: To help Susan.

GERAGOS: To help Susan out. And we count on people's generosity.

I mean, she and her family have exhausted all of their means at this point. This last trial took it all out of them. And this thing lasted for -- going on 15 weeks, 54 actual court dates. It's a struggle every day to put on this fight.

They have got unlimited resources. They have got lawyers down there in Arkansas working for the independent counsel, FBI agents, office space, who are doing nothing but gearing up for this case.

I have got 50 other clients I am dealing with besides Susan. And it's a struggle.

I have got good partners -- my father and brother, who help me out and allow me to kind of go on this kind of mission with Susan.

KING: You have gotten wrapped up in this yourself?

GERAGOS: I have. I mean, I consider this to be an outrage.

I mean, what's happened to her should happen to no one in America, and somebody has got to at least -- if she's got the gumption to stand up and put up with this guy, somebody's got to give her a hand.

KING: Do you have any income?

MCDOUGAL: No, no. When would I work? I got out of jail and I was put on home detention. And two weeks before this -- two days...

GERAGOS: Two days.

MCDOUGAL: ... I got released from home detention to come out and start this trial. And it's only been two weeks.

I need some income.


I need to go to work. If you have an idea, you need to tell me.

But then I go to trial again in February.

So no, I have no income.

KING: Thanks for coming.

MCDOUGAL: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Best of luck. Thanks, Mark.

MCDOUGAL: Thanks very much.

GERAGOS: Thank you.

KING: Susan McDougal, Mark Geragos on tonight's edition of LARRY KING LIVE. And I'll tell you about what's coming up after this.


KING: Our thanks to Susan McDougal and Mark Geragos for being here tonight.

Tomorrow on LARRY KING LIVE, we'll get the latest on the impeachment process with Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy and House Judiciary Committee member Barney Frank -- as well as Johnnie Cochran and former FBI agent Gary Aldrich.

We'll continue our extensive coverage of the House vote on impeachment later this week.

Up next is "CNN AND TIME." What a show -- a famed Olympic gymnast will speak out about the court order against her father. It's coming up now.



Jury finds McDougal not guilty of all embezzlement charges (11-23-98)

McDougal fiance scolded over Whitewater mention (10-27-98)

Grand jury indicts Susan McDougal for contempt (5-4-98)


Tuesday, December 15, 1998

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