McDougal Embezzlement Trial Put Off
Tuesday, July 14, 1998; Page A05
SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 13 The trial of Whitewater figure Susan McDougal on charges that she embezzled $150,000 from the wife of conductor Zubin Mehta was postponed today for 11 days as lawyers traded accusations of misconduct.
Superior Court Judge Steven Suzukawa put off the trial until July 24.
Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Semow was furious that McDougal who is in Arkansas being treated for herniated disks did not appear for the scheduled start of trial.
Her lawyer, Mark Geragos, accused prosecutors of improperly withholding documents until last week that he claims could prove his client is innocent.
McDougal, 43, is accused of embezzling $150,000 while working for Nancy Mehta, the wife of the former Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic conductor.
Geragos has said the case was "propped up" by prosecutors to pressure her into testifying in the Whitewater investigation by independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.
McDougal and her late husband James B. McDougal were partners with President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton in the failed Whitewater land deal. Susan McDougal was jailed for contempt of court by a federal judge after refusing to testify in that investigation.
Geragos said his client had obtained a waiver to miss court and the judge agreed. Geragos then accused Semow of withholding until last week 1,000 pages of documents that he said could show Nancy Mehta had signed many of the credit card bills that she had earlier claimed were forged.
© Copyright 1998 Reuters Ltd.