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Whitewater Jury Wants More Papers Indictment Copy Handed Over; Evidence Index Forthcoming

Tue., May 21, 1996

Whitewater jurors sent notes from their deliberations Monday saying they were having trouble matching the voluminous evidence to the charges and needed an index.

U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. gave the jurors a copy of the 21-count indictment and instructed lawyers to develop a list describing more than 700 exhibits in neutral language.

The jury has deliberated for 19 hours since being given the case Thursday against Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and James and Susan McDougal.

Monday’s requests highlighted the unlikelihood of a quick verdict in case in which some of the hundreds of exhibits are multipage documents detailing loans.

“They’ve got a lot of material to go over,” said Bobby McDaniel, Susan McDougal’s attorney. “It’s a complicated indictment.”

The McDougals and Tucker are accused of fraudulently obtaining $3 million in loans from two federally backed lenders.

The jury had deliberated about two hours Monday before sending Howard a note asking for an index.

The prosecution quickly offered its master list, but defense lawyers were concerned the descriptions on it would favor the prosecution. They said an index would emphasize the prosecution’s paper trail over oral testimony, including President Clinton’s videotaped responses.

While the judge was considering an index, the jury sent another note saying it was having trouble matching specific transactions and charges. That persuaded Howard to reverse a decision he made last week and give jurors a copy of the indictment.

The trial is in its 12th week.


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