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Friday, 17 March, 2000, 08:29 GMT
Filegate: Case closed
Hillary Clinton in New York
Hillary Clinton is campaigning hard in New York
An independent counsel has closed the so-called Filegate case, in which first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was implicated when key FBI files went missing.

Independent Counsel Robert Ray said on Thursday that he found no credible evidence that Mrs Clinton or senior White House officials were involved in seeking the FBI background files of Republicans.

Mr Clinton
A report on the Clintons' land dealings is due
The report was the first of three on the various aspects of the six-year criminal investigation of the president and the first lady.

Soon to come is a report into Mrs Clinton's role in the purge of the White House travel office, and another on the Clintons' Whitewater land dealings in Arkansas.

Mrs Clinton has already faced pressure over Filegate and Whitewater in her bid to be elected New York senator in November.

Mr Ray took over from Kenneth Starr, who pursued Mr Clinton over his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, last October.

'No evidence'

Mr Ray also found there was no evidence that former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum lied to Congress about the hiring of the White House security chief whose officials gathered the files.

Mr Nussbaum was quoted in a FBI interview summary as saying that Mrs Clinton had recommended hiring Craig Livingstone. He later told the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee that the summary was incorrect.

"There was no substantial or credible evidence that Mrs Clinton was involved in the hiring of Mr Livingstone," Mr Ray said in a two-page statement.

"Accordingly, this office declined prosecution and has closed the Nussbaum matter."

'Bureaucratic blunder'

The investigation into whether the files were misused has also been closed, having found "no substantial and credible evidence" that Mrs Clinton or senior officials sought confidential FBI background reports of former White House staff from the Reagan or Bush administrations.

The White House has said the gathering of files was a bureaucratic blunder based on outdated Secret Service lists of White House entry pass holders.

Mr Ray sent a report on the FBI files investigation to three federal appeals judges, who will give the people named in it 90 days to respond before releasing the report.

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19 Oct 99 | Americas
Starr hands over Clinton probe
10 Jan 00 | Vote USA 2000
Hillary bites the Big Apple
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