Dershowitz Calls for Inquiry
Professor Presses for Full Investigation of Whitewater Affair
In an interview yesterday, Harvard Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz called for a full investigation of the events that caused the controversy over the Clinton's financial dealings with the Whitewater Development Corporation.
Dershowitz, a Democrat who said he voted for Clinton, said power may have been abused during a meeting of Bernard Nussbaum, White House counsel, and members of the Treasury about an FDIC investigation into Hillary Rodham Clinton's involvement with Whitewater.
"When the number two man of Justice gives a secret briefing to the President's Lawyer...that has to be explored," Dershowitz said. "When files are shredded [or disappear]...that has to be explored."
Dershowitz also alleged in a January 24 Boston Herald editorial that there may have been a conflict of interest n Rose's representation of the FDIC in its claims against Madison after previously representing Madison.
In the ongoing federal investigation, Clinton and the First Lady have defended themselves against allegations that Clinton used his influence while governor of Arkansas to protect the failing savings and loan of his then business partner, James B. McDougal.
Dershowitz said the "worst case scenario" investigators could find would involve the destruction of incriminating files by Nussbaum and an improper meeting between Mrs. Clinton and officials from the Treasury Department that led to the shredding of more incriminating files kept in the Rose law firm.
"It is inconceivable to me that the Rose firm could have accidentally shredded files containing Vince Foster's initials after the special prosecutor was appointed....There are a lot of things that need explaining," Dershowitz said. "My hope as a liberal Clinton Democrat...is that there's nothing here. My expertise, as a criminal lawyer, is a little bit more worried."
Dershowitz speculated that the documents might have been shredded because officials were afraid of "alienating" the President and First Lady.
"In 30 years of experience as a criminal lawyer one rule has emerged for me," he said. "When my clients are innocent, they try to save every scrap of paper, in the confidence that [these documents will prove their innocence in which they are defendants]...and when they're guilty they're generally very anxious to see the papers go away."
Dershowitz, however, said Clinton did not commit a crime unless there was not commit a crime unless there was an "explicit quid pro quo"--an exchange of Clinton's power to delay the closing of the failing Madison Guaranty for funds for his 1984 campaign debt.
But Dershowitz added that such an illicit transaction "never is provable."
And he said the one most affected by the investigation will not be the President, but the First Lady.
"The major impact is going to be on Hillary Rodham Clinton...She played a much more direct role [than Clinton]" in the financial dealings in question," Dershowitz said. "Having been in the Rose firm was a great qualification for going to Washington. Soon it will be seen as a disqualification."