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Cisneros Mistress To Stand Trial

January 14, 1998

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) _ A one-time mistress of former U.S. Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros is fit to stand trial on charges she hindered a federal investigation of her ex-lover, a federal judge ruled today.

The case will be heard Thursday by U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings, who also oversaw this morning’s competency hearing.

Defense attorneys had argued that Linda Jones, a longtime user of strong psychiatric drugs who once suffered a nervous breakdown, isn’t emotionally stable enough to face trial. Cummings rejected that argument.

Ms. Jones and her sister and brother-in-law, Patsy and Allen Wooten, were indicted in September as part of the Cisneros investigation, conducted by Independent Counsel David Barrett.

That purported scam was uncovered during a special examiners’ investigation into whether Cisneros lied about the amount of money he paid Ms. Jones in 1990-93 to keep quiet about their affair. Cisneros said he never paid more than $10,000 per year; prosecutors say his payments totaled more than $250,000.

Later today, Cummings was expected to receive a plea agreement from the Wootens on 19 counts of bank fraud and money laundering. The couple allegedly bought Ms. Jones a house in their name to conceal her assets. The Wootens each face a maximum 6 1/2 years in federal prison if convicted on all counts.

Cisneros was not named in the September indictments, but was formally charged in Washington last month. He pleaded innocent last week to an 18-count indictment.

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