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McDougal To Fight Jury Summons

April 17, 1998

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Susan McDougal’s lawyer says he will fight to keep President Clinton’s Whitewater business partner from going before a grand jury.

Prosecutors want Mrs. McDougal to appear next week before the Whitewater panel, which expires May 7.

She recently completed 18 months behind bars on a civil contempt citation stemming from her refusal to testify. She has begun serving a two-year federal prison sentence for her 1996 bank fraud conviction.

Lawyer Mark Geragos claimed summoning Mrs. McDougal was Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s response to a complaint Geragos lodged Tuesday. Geragos asked a judge to bar the prosecutor from investigating whether conservatives with whom Starr has ties funneled money to David Hale, who testified against Mrs. McDougal.

``It’s my position that (Starr’s) conflicted and he can’t do anything regarding Susan at this point,″ Geragos said. ``I will take steps to block her appearance.″

In a letter sent Thursday to Starr and Attorney Janet Reno, Geragos asked that Mrs. McDougal be released from prison pending an investigation of payments to Hale.

Hale testified against Mrs. McDougal and co-defendants James McDougal, her late husband, and former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker in 1996. All were convicted.

James McDougal cooperated with Starr until his death in a federal prison and Tucker, who recently pleaded guilty to unrelated charges, is cooperating with Starr to avoid prison.

A federal appeals court refused Thursday to block Hale’s trial on state charges. He is accused of lying to regulators about an insurance company the state says he owned.

Hale claimed that a plea agreement and immunity granted him by federal Whitewater prosecutors should protect him in a state case. Hale also argued that the state charge was political payback for his cooperation with Starr.

He is scheduled for trial Wednesday in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

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