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  Clinton Pardons McDougal, Cisneros

By John Solomon
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, Jan. 20, 2001; 10:32 a.m. EST

WASHINGTON –– In one of his final acts, President Clinton on Saturday pardoned more than 100 Americans, including his former Whitewater business partner Susan McDougal and former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, officials said.

The sources said Clinton also pardoned his brother, Roger Clinton, who had been convicted of a drug charge, as well as Hearst heiress Patty Hearst and former Navaho Nation chief Peter MacDonald.

The list also was notable for the number of people it did not include. Among them, the sources said: Webster Hubbell, a former law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton; Jonathan Pollard, a former Navy analyst imprisoned for spying for Israel; one-time Wall Street financier Michael Milken; and Leonard Peltier, convicted of killing two FBI agents on an Indian reservation in 1975.

McDougal's pardon came just one day after the Whitewater investigation was closed down under a deal in which Clinton gave up his law license and admitted make false testimony under oath in the Monica Lewinsky in return for prosecutor agreeing not to indict him.

"She's absolutely delighted," said her lawyer, Mark Geragos. "She is speechless for once in her life. And I think it is especially poignant that it was one of the last acts of Bill Clinton's administration."

McDougal went to prison rather than testify in the Whitewater investigation.

Convicted at a 1996 trial where Clinton testified in her defense, McDougal remained an unabashed supporter of the president, appearing on national television in her orange prison jumpsuit to insist that Clinton never engaged in illegal loans or other improper conduct as prosecutors in Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's office sought to prove.

Her former husband, failed Arkansas savings and loan operator James McDougal, also was convicted at the same trial but took a markedly different path. He chose to cooperate with Starr's office and implicated the Clintons in wrongdoing before his sudden death in prison.

Susan McDougal never wavered, embarking on a campaign to portray Starr, a Republican, as politically motivated, on a "personal vendetta" to pursue the Clintons and disinterested in the truth. Starr and his staff repeatedly denied those allegations.

She only served 3½ months of a two-year prison term for her four felony convictions before a federal judge released her because of a back problem.

But her freedom was short-lived. She defied a judge's order to answer Whitewater prosecutor's questions before a federal grand jury and was returned to jail for 18 months for civil contempt.

Frustrated she still wasn't cooperating, Starr's office decided to prosecute McDougal for criminal contempt for obstructing the grand jury probe. The jury deadlocked, and prosecutors decided not to retry her.

MacDonald, 72, the former leader of the Navajo Nation, has been in a Fort Worth, Texas, medical prison since his 1992 sentencing for his role in a Window Rock, Ariz., riot that resulted in the deaths of two of his supporters in 1989.

MacDonald was removed from office for taking bribes and kickbacks. The two supporters were killed on July 20, 1989, by tribal police during a march to protest what they considered a coup against their leader. MacDonald, his health deteriorating, has been serving a 14-year sentence for inciting the deadly riot.

At age 19, Hearst was kidnapped in the 1970s by the radical Symbionese Liberation Army. She later served part of a prison sentence for a bank holdup in San Francisco before it was commuted by President Carter. She is married to her former bodyguard, Bernard Shaw.

Cisneros was Clinton's first housing secretary. He resigned in 1996 amid an investigation into allegations that he lied to the FBI about payments he made to a former mistress, Linda Medlar. In 1999, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

Since leaving office, Cisneros served as head of Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language television network. Last year, he returned to his native San Antonio to launch an organization to provide housing for low-income families.

Roger Clinton, the president's brother, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty in 1985 to conspiring to distribute cocaine. He cooperated with authorities and testified against other drug defendants.

He has since focused on an entertainment career. The president was best man at his brother's wedding back in the mid-1990s.

© Copyright 2001 The Associated Press

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