A Whitewater prosecutor admitted Monday that his star witness gave inconsistent testimony about precisely when he was first told about an allegedly fraudulent loan scheme on behalf of members of the state’s political elite.
Testifying for a sixth straight day, David Hale said he wasn’t certain whether the term “political family” first came up at a meeting at Jim Guy Tucker’s house - as Hale testified last week.
Tucker and the Clintons’ Whitewater business partners, James and Susan McDougal, are accused of defrauding the McDougals’ savings and loan and Hale’s loan company. Together, their failure has cost taxpayers nearly $70 million.
Whitewater prosecutor W. Ray Jahn said Hale had maintained for the past two years that the term “political family” first came up in the meeting at Tucker’s home. Jahn said he will question Hale about the difference later this week.
Tucker’s lawyer, George Collins, hammered away at another allegation by Hale - that then-Gov. Bill Clinton offered to put up Whitewater property in northern Arkansas as collateral for one of the allegedly fraudulent loans in the trial. At the same meeting, Clinton said his name must not appear anywhere on the loan, Hale said.
Why would Clinton offer to put up land if the loan was to remain secret? Collins asked Hale repeatedly. Hale replied that Clinton’s name would not have to appear in the loan file.
Hale also couldn’t say what month he, Tucker and James McDougal supposedly drove to property that is at the center of the fraud conspiracy charges.