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STARR SHOULD "SHOW US THE EVIDENCE!" IN WAKE OF MCDOUGAL'S DEATH, SAYS UGA LAW PROFESSOR

Abstract

Tuesday, March 10, 1998

WRITER: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172

CONTACT: Ronald L. Carlson, (706) 542-5186

STARR SHOULD "SHOW US THE EVIDENCE!" IN WAKE OF MCDOUGAL'S DEATH, SAYS UGA LAW PROFESSOR

ATHENS, Ga. -- Echoing the call of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, UGA law professor and criminal law expert Ron Carlson has called for special prosecutor Kenneth Starr to "show his cards" and reveal the evidence derived from numerous interviews with James McDougal, the convicted Whitewater partner and former Clinton ally who died of a heart attack in federal prison on Sunday. McDougal, a key Whitewater witness, had recently supplied a steady stream of information to Starr in exchange for a reduced sentence.

"I would expect that in McDougal's case, there are paper documents that reflect his testimony, tape recordings and videotape recordings of what McDougal has to say," said Carlson. "Because of his death, by and large, those documents are inadmissible evidence. A live witness has to appear and be open to cross-examination. In the absence of the author of the remarks, the tape recordings are hearsay evidence, which judges exclude from trials."

According to Carlson, the time for public accountability is near, and "nothing makes more sense" than for Starr to release his star witness' words to the press and public.

"It would not compromise his trial evidence," said Carlson, "so this seems the perfect opportunity for independent counsel Starr to inform the public, respond to Majority Leader Lott's call to show something of what he has, and finally, let us all out here in the public judge for ourselves whether he has anything or not."

Carlson says Starr's next move will be dictated by the amount of pressure he feels from lawmakers, particularly if more Republicans demand a swift end to the investigation.

"I expect there will be enough pressure on Starr that he is going to need to make some important disclosures," said Carlson. "Nobody knows precisely what McDougal has said because his dialogues with the independent counsel have been private. His statements might close the doors on Whitewater or they might throw them wide open."

Carlson, a nationally recognized expert in evidence, trial practice and criminal procedure, has litigated many cases and has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has written numerous books on trial techniques and provided extensive commentary for the national media in high-profile trials.

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