Whitewater, campaign finance issues will only intensify, observers say President Faces Legal, Ethical Scrutiny in His Second Term
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Professor Jones says the only comparable case was President Nixon and the start of what became Watergate. But Jones says that case was limited to the burglary of the Democratic campaign headquarters and subsequent White House coverup.Skip to next paragraph
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In contrast, he says, the Clinton administration is facing questions in several different areas from several different institutions.
"It isn't only the number of issues but also the variety of sources of involvement," Jones says. "You have involved the Department of Justice as instructing and charging the special counsel, you have congressional committees in both the House and Senate, and the Supreme Court. You have all three branches of government."
Perhaps as early as January, the president's lawyers will appear before the US Supreme Court to argue that the $700,000 sexual-harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones should be postponed for four years until after Clinton leaves office.
Clinton argues that, as a sitting president, he should be immune from having to stand trial in a suit related to events that allegedly took place before his becoming president.
If the court disagrees, as many legal experts think it will, the president's lawyers will likely try to delay the case as long as possible to avoid the spectacle of the world's most powerful leader on trial for allegedly soliciting a sexual act from an Arkansas state employee while he was governor.
Meanwhile Mr. Starr, the special prosecutor, is continuing to press a broad $17 million probe of the Clintons and their friends in Arkansas that began in January 1994.
The effort has yielded nine plea agreements and three convictions. James B. McDougal and his ex-wife, Susan, the Clintons' partners in the Whitewater real estate investment, were convicted of fraud and conspiracy charges by an Arkansas jury in May, along with Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker. The trio, accused of issuing up to $3 million in fraudulent loans through straw corporations, allegedly lied to bank regulators to cover up the scheme.
A former friend
The case is significant to the Clintons because Mr. McDougal is cooperating with prosecutors. McDougal hopes to trim a possible 84-year sentence by testifying against his former friends and colleagues.
McDougal might prove helpful to Starr in the investigation of an alleged $1.1 million sham land deal conducted in 1985 and 1986 between McDougal's Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan Association and one of McDougal's associates. Madison Guaranty's attorney in the deal was Mrs. Clinton.
A recent report on the deal by the inspector general of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation says that the future first lady drafted legal documents that were used to "deceive" federal bank examiners about a questionable $300,000 commission to McDougal's associate.
Mrs. Clinton has told investigators that she does not recall working on the deal. But that was before missing billing records from her law firm were found in the White House. The records show that Mrs. Clinton not only worked extensively on the alleged sham deal, but later ordered all billing documents related to her work on the deal be destroyed.