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Clinton's final day includes pardons, new monument and note for his successor

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Among Americans pardoned today by outgoing President Clinton were, clockwise from left: Henry Cisneros, Patricia Hearst, Susan McDougal, Roger Clinton  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton, just hours before leaving office, pardoned more than 130 people, including Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, ex-CIA chief John Deutch and publishing heiress Patty Hearst.

The president pardoned his brother, Roger Clinton, who had been convicted on a cocaine charge in the 1980s after cooperating with authorities, and former Gov. Fife Symington of Arizona, a Republican whose conviction for bank and wire fraud was overturned on appeal. Prosecutors had sought a rehearing in the case.

Deutch had been under investigation by the Justice Department for mishandling secrets on a home computer. Hearst was kidnapped in the 1970's and then went to prison for bank robbery.

Cisneros entered a plea agreement as part of an investigation into payments to his ex-mistress. McDougal, the Clinton's business partner in the Whitewater land venture, was convicted of loan fraud and spent almost two years in prison for refusing to testify against Clinton before a federal grand jury empanelled by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

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Another Whitewater figure and former law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Webster Hubbell, was not pardoned. Hubbell, who served in a top Justice Department position in Clinton's first term, had to resign and spent 15 months in prison for tax evasion and mail fraud.

No pardons for Milken or Peltier

The president also denied a pardon for financier Michael Milken, the 1980s "junk bond" king who served 22 months for swindling investors of $1 billion, and Leonard Peltier, convicted in the deaths of two FBI agents in 1975.

Federal law enforcement and security enforcement officials urged the president to deny a pardon for Milken, an outspoken cancer survivor and generous philanthropist. FBI agents had protested the possibility of pardoning Peltier after learning his name was on a list of those being considered.

Cisneros, former San Antonio mayor, Clinton's closest friend among his early Cabinet appointees and a rising political star when his career was unhinged by scandal, was convicted in a cover-up controversy involving payments he made to his ex-mistress.

Deutch, who stepped down as CIA director in 1996, had been considering a deal with the Justice Department in which he would plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of keeping classified data on his home computers.

Hearst was kidnapped in the 1970s in Los Angeles by a domestic terrorist group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army and was convicted of later participating in a bank robbery with her abductors. She served part of her prison sentence before it was commuted by President Jimmy Carter.

Also denied a pardon was Jonathan Pollard, an American serving a long prison term for spying for Israel.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally appealed to Clinton for clemency in that case.

Governors Island declared a national monument

Before leaving office, Clinton also designated another monument, the Governors Island National Monument, in New York City, and announced the release of $100 million to fund 1,400 more police officers.

In keeping with tradition, the former president left a hand-written note for his successor, Jake Siewert, former White House press secretary told CNN.

Siewert and John Podesta, former White House chief of staff, both left notes for the men who will hold their jobs in the Bush administration, Ari Fleischer, the new White House press secretary, and Andrew Card, President Bush's chief of staff.

The outgoing president also made a decision about an ongoing domestic matter, whether or not the differences between Socks the cat, and Buddy the dog, could be resolved.

Apparently, Clinton could not negotiate a peace deal, so Socks will be given to Betty Currie, the president's long-time assistant, and Buddy will be going with the former first family to Chappaqua.


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Saturday, January 20, 2001

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