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Clinton questioned in Alexis Herman investigation

September 8, 1999
Web posted at: 1:33 p.m. EDT (1733 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bill Clinton was interviewed under oath Wednesday by the independent counsel in the influence-peddling probe against Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman.

Independent Counsel Ralph Lancaster questioned the president at the White House for about an hour. Counsel to the President Beth Nolan said: "Consistent with prior practice, no further statement about the interview will be made."

Lancaster is investigating charges Herman took a cash bribe or solicited illegal campaign donations while she was a White House aide to Clinton.

Herman
Labor Secretary Alexis Herman is under investigation for influence peddling  

Herman has denied the allegations. When Attorney General Janet Reno announced in May 1998 that she was calling for an independent counsel in the case, Herman said she was "extremely baffled" by that decision.

African businessman Laurent Yene claims he gave Herman an envelope full of cash. The payment may have part of a scam in which Herman allegedly would use her White House influence to help a consulting firm. Yene also claims Herman played a role in illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee.

The president has repeatedly expressed confidence in the past that Herman would be cleared of all the charges.

Since Lancaster was appointed the Independent Counsel Act has expired but ongoing investigations are allowed to continue.

The decision to call for a special probe in the Herman matter was described as a difficult decision for Reno. In court papers the attorney general acknowledged that the Justice investigation "has developed no evidence clearly demonstrating Secretary Herman's involvement in these matters and substantial evidence that she may not have been involved..."

But Reno said some of Yene's information was verified and therefore she decided to go forward.

Before he was appointed independent counsel, Lancaster handled civil and criminal cases in Maine and Massachusetts as partner with the firm of Pierce Atwood of Portland, Maine. In 1987-88, the U.S. Supreme Court appointed the Harvard-educated Lancaster as a special master for a civil case involving New Jersey and Nevada.


RELATED STORIES

Herman: Reno 'did what she felt she had to do' in naming counsel (7-12-98)

Private attorney chosen to investigate Alexis Herman (5-26-98)

Independent counsel to target Herman (5-11-98)


EXPIRATION OF IC ACT
Independent probes ongoing, despite midnight expiration of statute (6-30-99)

From Watergate to Whitewater: History of the independent counsel (6-30-99)


OTHER ACTIVE INVESTIGATIONS

David Barrett's probe of Henry Cisneros:
Cisneros reaches plea agreement (9-07-99)

Ken Starr's probe of the Clintons:
Special report: Investigating the president

Donald Smaltz' probe of Mike Espy:
Tough sentence for Espy's top aide upheld (1-26-99)

Espy innocent of all charges (12-2-98)

Carol Elder Bruce's probe of Bruce Babbitt:
Counsel named for Babbitt probe (3-19-98)

Reno calls for independent counsel in Babbitt probe (2-11-98)


RELATED SITES

White House

Department of Labor

Department of Justice



MORE STORIES:

Wednesday, September 8, 1999

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