June 12, 1997 in Nation/World

First Lady Might Go To Jail, Says Mcdougal Nearing Start Of 3-Year Sentence, Whitewater Figure Passes Blame

Knight-Ridder
 

Convicted Whitewater conspirator Jim McDougal, who begins serving his prison time Monday in Lexington, says he wouldn’t be surprised to bump into an old Arkansas friend and business partner while here: first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

McDougal will serve a three-year sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington. His sentence was reduced after he provided new information to prosecutors, and he has hinted in interviews that the information could lead to the indictment and conviction of the first lady.

“I think there’s an excellent chance that I might see Hillary there,” he said in a interview with a Little Rock TV station on Tuesday.

Neither President Clinton nor his wife has been formally accused of wrongdoing, and both have said they did nothing improper in investing in the Whitewater land deal.

Meanwhile, the Federal Medical Center has seen its share of famous or infamous inmates over the years - ex-governors, novelists and would-be presidential assassins among them. Most recently, hotel queen Leona Helmsley spent part of her 18-month sentence for tax evasion at the prison.

The prison has about 1,750 inmates. Of those, 200 are women who serve time in a minimum-security work camp, said Marcia Renaux, executive assistant at the prison. About a third of the inmates at the institution have medical problems, she said.

Renaux said inmates are assigned to the Lexington facility through the federal bureau of prisons.

McDougal, 56, is suffering from manic depression, blocked arteries and other problems. He was convicted last year on 18 felony fraud and conspiracy counts, which could have brought him a sentence of up to 84 years in prison.

McDougal’s former wife, Susan McDougal, has been jailed since Sept. 6 for refusing to answer questions about Clinton before the Whitewater grand jury.


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