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Sunday, March 8, 1998 Published at 22:13 GMT



World: Americas

Clinton's Whitewater partner dies in jail
image: [ McDougal and his ex-wife visit the White House in 1996 for Bill Clinton's testimony in Whitewater case ]
McDougal and his ex-wife visit the White House in 1996 for Bill Clinton's testimony in Whitewater case

A former business partner of President Clinton in the failed Whitewater land development venture, James McDougal, has died in prison, aged 58.

Mr McDougal, who suffered from heart problems, was serving a three-and-a-half year sentence at a medical jail in Fort Worth, Texas, for fraud. He was a key witness to the involvement of Bill and Hillary Clinton in the Whitewater affair.


[ image: James McDougal listens to reporters' questions outside Little Rock federal courthouse in March 1996]
James McDougal listens to reporters' questions outside Little Rock federal courthouse in March 1996
Correspondents say his death will be a blow to the independent prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, who has been investigating the affair for the past four years.

Mr McDougal, his then wife Susan and the Clintons were investors during the 1970s in the Whitewater real estate venture, which was underwritten by an Arkansas financial institution that he owned.

The project and Mr McDougal's institution, Madison Guarantee Savings and Loan, both failed, costing taxpayers an estimated $60m (£36m).

Clinton's good memories


Tom Squitieri, from USA Today, tells BBC Radio 5 Live's Up All Night that McDougal and Clinton were once very close (3'32")
Susan McDougal has been in jail serving an 18-month contempt sentence for refusing to answer Kenneth Starr's questions before a Grand Jury. She has repeatedly accused Mr Starr of conducting a witch-hunt against the president.

Although their friendship was over, the president said he was sorry to hear the news.

"I am saddened to learn about Jim McDougal's death today," Mr Clinton said. "I have good memories of the years we worked together in Arkansas, and I extend my condolences to his family."

Analysts have pointed out that the comments released by the White House are attributed solely to the president and not the First Lady.

This is thought to be because much of Mr McDougal's evidence related to her work with Whitewater, rather than her husband's activities.








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