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Grand Juror Defends Starr at McDougal Trial

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  • Coverage of the McDougal Trial

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  • By Pete Yost
    Associated Press Writer
    Thursday, March 18, 1999; Page A08

    LITTLE ROCK, March 17—Using a rare tactic, prosecutors put a former Whitewater grand juror on the witness stand at Susan McDougal's trial today to testify that Kenneth W. Starr's investigators were after "the facts" and not out to get President Clinton. McDougal's lawyer responded by subpoenaing a top Starr deputy.

    In a flurry at the end of a day in which three former grand jurors testified for the prosecution, attorney Mark Geragos issued a subpoena to deputy independent counsel W. Hickman Ewing Jr. to testify when McDougal's defense begins its case Thursday. McDougal is on trial for defying a federal judge's order to testify before the Whitewater grand jury.

    One of three ex-grand jurors appearing in McDougal's criminal contempt trial, Jennifer Castleberry, testified today that when McDougal appeared before the grand jury in 1996, "We wanted to hear what she had to say." But the Clintons' former Whitewater partner "wouldn't talk."

    Did Castleberry believe the attorneys in Starr's office "were out to get the Clintons?" asked prosecutor Julie Myers.

    "No," Castleberry replied.

    Later, she added: "They wanted to give us the facts to determine whether any crimes were committed."

    Federal grand jurors, who meet in secrecy to weigh whether to bring criminal charges, are seldom named publicly, much less called as witnesses. Ewing, a federal prosecutor for 25 years, said he had never seen it done before.

    In this case, prosecutor Mark Barrett said he needed the testimony of Castleberry and fellow grand jurors John Washam and Marsha High to show corrupt intent by McDougal in avoiding questions before the grand jurors.

    Geragos argued that his client didn't want to answer questions because overzealous prosecutors were trying to force her to give false testimony against the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    © Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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