Dramatically moving on two fronts, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr today secured a new indictment against presidential friend Webster Hubbell and sent evidence to House impeachment investigators involving the Kathleen Willey matter.
A federal grand jury in Washington charged Hubbell with 15 felony counts, accusing the former presidential golfing buddy of fraud, perjury and "corruptly impeding" federal banking regulators' investigation of many of the original Whitewater allegations.
This is the third time Starr has accused the former associate attorney general of wrongdoing. The accusations include that Hubbell committed perjury before the House Banking Committee during nationally televised Whitewater hearings.
The indictment alleged that Hubbell "devised and participated in a scheme that corruptly endeavored to impede'' the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Resolution Trust Corp. when the two agencies began investigating the Arkansas matters.
It alleged that Hubbell sought to conceal the true nature of the Rose firm's work in the 1980s for his father-in-law and the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan owned by Whitewater partners James and Susan McDougal
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It allows the committee to determine whether Mrs. Willey's allegation of sexual impropriety against the president should be included in the inquiry.
The new information included testimony of key witnesses and other evidence from the Willey investigation that had been left out of Starr's earlier referral.
Starr has been investigating whether Clinton lied under oath when he denied making a crude sexual advance toward Mrs. Willey during a 1993 encounter in the Oval Office, and whether others tried to intimidate her after she went public with her allegations.
Mrs. Willey accused Clinton of making the unwanted sexual advance when she came to talk to him about financial troubles. She later became a witness in Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against him and testified before the grand jury investigating Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Mrs. Willey told her story publicly in an interview on 60 Minutes last March in which she graphically described Clinton's alleged advance.
The President has adamantly denied the allegations and the White House has released letters showing she remained friendly with Mrs. Clinton after the alleged incident.
By sendinthe Willey evidence to Capitol Hill, Starr may be signaling he plans no further action against possible targets in the investigation.
After months of focusing on the Monica Lewinsky inquiry in Washington, the new indictment harkens back to many of the original charges.
Starr spent four years investigating in Arkansas as he unraveled a complex web of transactions between the Rose Law Firm, where Hubbell and Hillary Rodham Clinton worked, and the failed savings and loan run by the Clintons' Whitewater business partners.
Hubbell resigned as associate attorney general in March 1994 amid an ethical cloud and months later pleaded guilty to charges brought by Starr's office accusing him of defrauding his clients and the Rose firm. He served time in prison and cooperated with Starr's investigation.
Earlier this year, he was indicted by Starr on tax charges but a judge threw out the case. The prosecutor is seeking to reinstate those charges through an appeals court.
Written By John Solomon ©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed