Susan McDougal indicted on contempt, obstruction charges

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former Whitewater partner Susan McDougal was charged Monday with three felonies for refusing to tell a grand jury what she knows about the first family’s business dealings, including a savings and loan check marked with the words “Payoff Clinton.”
The indictment was handed down by a grand jury that is wrapping up two years of Whitewater-related investigation. It threatens to punish Ms. McDougal with years more of prison time for her feisty and high-profile campaign to refuse answering prosecutors’ questions.
McDougal, 43, was charged with two counts of criminal contempt for refusing to answer grand jury questions in September 1996 and again last month and one count of obstruction of justice.
Her lawyer vowed to take the case to trial, and to use such a trial to examine recent allegations that one of the prosecution witnesses in an earlier case against his client had been paid by conservative critics of President and Mrs. Clinton.
The charges come 20 months after Ms. McDougal first refused to testify before a federal grand jury after being convicted by a jury on fraud charges related to the failed savings and loan at the center of the original Whitewater investigation.
She has already served 18 months for civil contempt for refusing to answer questions before the grand jury, the maximum time a federal judge can order.
She was freed in March on that charge and is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for the fraud charges stemming from her 1996 trial.