Magazine article Insight on the News

Nervous Clintonites Renew Attack on McDougal's Credibility

Magazine article Insight on the News

Nervous Clintonites Renew Attack on McDougal's Credibility

Article excerpt

Bill Clinton has denied both publicly and under oath that he pressured a former Arkansas municipal judge, David Hale, and his former Whitewater partner, Jim McDougal, to secure an illegal $300,000 Small Business Administration, or SBA, loan -- some proceeds of which benefited Clinton's cash-strapped Whitewater real-estate investment. Hale, a onetime Clinton confidant, was the first to finger the president. Recent events, including prosecutors' statements, a greatly reduced sentence and a television appearance also make clear that McDougal is cooperating with Whitewater prosecutors and has corroborated Hale's allegations against Clinton.

The Clintonoids and their diehard supporters in the media and Congress are quick to point out that Hale and McDougal are convicted felons: "They've lied before and they're lying again." A jury, we're told, never would believe them. Of course, Hale was convicted of two felony counts -- mail fraud and conspiring to defraud the SBA. McDougal was convicted of 18 felonies, including conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and bank fraud.

True, the president himself hasn't exactly cultivated the reputation of an Honest Abe Lincoln. A seasoned prosecutor could give him a hard time on the stand. But against the word of two convicted felons?

First, it must be said that our prisons are full of criminals who were convicted on the testimony of other criminals. Indeed, in complicated cases such as Whitewater -- involving criminal conspiracies, embezzlement, bank fraud, tax fraud, misapplication of monies -- or in cases involving terrorism or organized crime, the government frequently has no choice but to rely on coconspirators and insiders to secure convictions. The fact is that juries often find such witnesses credible.

The government even has been known to use Mafia hit men to convict mob bosses. …

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