May 15, 1996 in Nation/World

Jurors Told It Comes Down To Clinton’s Word Vs. Felon’s

Associated Press

A defense attorney told Whitewater jurors Tuesday that the case comes down to whom they trust more: the president of the United States or a convicted felon.

David Hale, the prosecution’s chief witness, spun a web of lies to reduce the penalties he faced for fraud, James McDougal’s lawyer, Sam Heuer, said in his closing argument.

Meanwhile, President Clinton risked his political future to testify for McDougal, his former partner in a northern Arkansas land development, the lawyer said.

“To buy into David Hale’s story, you have to disbelieve the president of the United States,” Heuer said.

“Do you believe Bill Clinton? Bill Clinton stood tall before us.”

McDougal, his ex-wife, Susan, and Gov. Jim Guy Tucker are charged with illegally benefiting from nearly $3 million in federally backed loans. Hale said McDougal and Tucker helped him plan the loans.

Hale also testified that Clinton discussed a loan with him and benefited from an illegal $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal. Clinton denied the allegations.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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