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Clinton’s Defense Fund May Top $2M

August 13, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ A new fund to cover the first couple’s mounting legal bills has raised more than $2 million in just six months, The New York Times reported today.

Frustration with Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s 4-year-old investigation of President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton has fueled the fund’s growth, supporters told the newspaper.

The Clinton Legal Expense Trust was established in late February, five weeks after Starr started his inquiry into allegations about Clinton and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The Clintons’ personal legal bills are estimated at $6 million and could balloon to $10 million, officials told the Times.

A direct mailing generated contributions ranging from $1 to $10,000 from more than 8,000 donors.

Entertainment titan David Geffen ponied up $10,000, but said he wanted to give more.

``There is a well-financed group of zealots who want to bring down the President,″ Geffen said. ``And this guy has no money. He’s broke. This is a terrible situation.″

Barbra Streisand, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and film executive Jeffrey Katzenberg were among those who joined the effort.

Another defense fund for Clinton was closed out last December because of strict limits on donations and controversies over campaign financing. That fund raised $1.3 million over 3 1/2 years.

Clinton is the first president to accept donations to pay for his legal bills while in office, the Times said. President Richard M. Nixon took contributions for his defense fund after he resigned.

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