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Whitewater Fraud Conviction Upheld

February 28, 2001

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ A federal appeals court upheld former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker’s Whitewater fraud conviction Tuesday, rejecting his claim that a juror at his 1996 trial was biased.

Tucker has already completed his 18-month sentence under house arrest and was fighting only to clear his name.

Tucker claimed that juror Renee Johnson was biased by her marriage to Charles Hayes a week into the trial.

Tucker had denied Hayes clemency on a 40-year sentence for a drug conviction. Hayes’ uncle was also an enemy of Tucker’s, having distributed crude political fliers ridiculing him.

Although she had lived with Hayes and their child for years, Johnson did not list Hayes in a juror questionnaire that asked about criminal cases involving family members. She said she did not consider Hayes a relative until they married.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis ruled that Johnson had not necessarily been dishonest.

Elizabeth Robben Murray, a lawyer for Tucker, said his legal team was disappointed and had not consulted with Tucker on a possible appeal. Tucker has been out of the country on business.

Tucker was convicted with former President Clinton’s Whitewater business partners James and Susan McDougal.

James McDougal died in prison in 1998 and Mrs. McDougal served 2 1/2 months of a 24-month prison term. She also served 18 months on a contempt citation after refusing to talk to a grand jury. Clinton granted her a pardon last month, but denied Tucker’s request for one.

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