By Murray Waas
Key Kenneth Starr witness David Hale's strategy for getting out of legal trouble: Blame President Clinton
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FALSE WITNESS | PAGE 1, 2
During his April 1996 testimony at the Tucker-McDougal trial, Hale was asked during cross-examination by an attorney for Jim McDougal, "Who referred you to Mr. Olson?"
Hale responded, "Randy Coleman [Hale's Arkansas attorney] found out that there was a fellow down there who worked in Democratic Senator Hollingsworth's office that knew him and recommended him."
That claim, according to an individual with intimate, firsthand knowledge of Hale's defense in the case, was not true. In fact, according to the source, Coleman played no role whatsoever in finding Olson to serve as counsel to Hale.
This individual further said that it was the Arkansas Project's Henderson and Boynton who made the original contact with Olson. Only long after the fact, the source said, did Coleman then learn about and approve of the decision by Hale to retain Olson. After that, the source said, Coleman and Olson consulted with one another and coordinated some of their activities.
Coleman declined to comment, citing "attorney-client privilege." Olson and Mintz did not return numerous phone calls seeking comment.
The source with firsthand knowledge of Hale's legal defense further said that Coleman had never consulted with any "Senator Hollingsworth" or anyone with a similar sounding name in seeking Washington, D.C., legal counsel for Hale.
Indeed, there was not then nor is there now any "Senator Hollingsworth" in the United States Senate. The only member of the U.S. Senate with a similar name is Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, D.-S.C., the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee. Hollings says that neither he or anyone on his staff ever assisted Hale in finding legal counsel.
"To the best of my knowledge, I have no idea what David Hale is talking about," Hollings said through his director of communications, Maury Lane.
A review of records of the Arkansas State Senate over the course of the last decade found no one has served in that body with the last name Hollingsworth or any name even remotely similar.
The only prominent political figure in Arkansas in recent years with such a name has been Perlesta Hollingsworth, who has never served in the state Senate. In the course of a three-decade-long political career, however, Hollingsworth has served on the Little Rock city council, as a deputy prosecutor for the state's sixth judicial district and as an advisor to the late-Arkansas Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. Hollingsworth also served as a justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court in the mid-1980s, after being appointed by then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.
"I know nothing about any Ted Olson," a slightly bemused Hollingsworth said in a telephone interview. "This is the first time I have heard that was [Hale's] testimony. I don't know what he's talking about."
A second source, who has worked for the American Spectator, confirmed that Hale found Olson as his attorney through the Arkansas Project's Boynton and Henderson. The source said that Henderson brought Hale and Dozhier to Washington, D.C., to meet Olson and Mintz. According to the same source, both Olson and Mintz represented Hale on a pro bono basis.
Accounting records of the Arkansas Project obtained by Salon show that Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher was paid at least $18,000 over one two-year period for work that Olson and Mintz performed during that period of time. But sources claim that work was unrelated to any representation of Hale.
Another individual with detailed knowledge as to how Olson came to represent Hale is Caryn Mann, a Bentonville, Ark., assistant funeral home director, who between early 1994 and the early summer of 1996 was Parker Dozhier's live-in girlfriend. During that time, Hale, often accompanied by FBI agents detailed to the office of the Whitewater independent counsel, stayed at Dozhier's resort.
Mann and her son Joshua Rand have provided detailed information about the activities of Dozhier, Hale and the Arkansas Project to law enforcement agencies. Mann told Salon that Dozhier and Hale told her that Boynton and Henderson directed the effort to find legal counsel in Washington, D.C., for Hale. "David needed a separate attorney in Washington, D.C.," Mann recalled. "Parker was talking a lot to Henderson and Boynton about the problem. Henderson said that he would look for an attorney for Hale.
"Dave Henderson came up with Ted Olson. At first, P.D. [Parker Dozhier] said he had never heard of him. He said, 'I don't like it. I don't know who this guy is.' Henderson was very excited and positive about Olson, but they [Dozhier and Hale] weren't so sure."
According to Mann, Hale and Dozhier then went to Washington, D.C., to meet Olson themselves. Mann said that Dozhier told her that the American Spectator would reimburse him for his trip expenses. Accounting records of the Arkansas Project and American Spectator obtained by Salon show that Dozhier was routinely reimbursed by them for various travel expenses. But it could not be determined from the records whether Dozhier was reimbursed for the trip he took with Hale to Washington, D.C., to meet Olson, because while the records show the disbursement of funds for travel, they do not specify where the travel took place.
"When they came back, they weren't concerned about anything anymore," said Mann. "It was all taken care of. Olson was going to be taken care of and paid. He wasn't to be charging David that much. It was going to run through the Spectator."
During his testimony in the Tucker-McDougal trial, Hale testified that he had first retained Olson in December 1993: "I talked to Mr. Olson in December of 1993 when we got notified that they might subpoena me before Congress ... And then again last year I got word again that they might subpoena me before Congress so I retained Mr. Olson. Simply, I do not know anything about how they do that up there; just to advise me on what do you do, where do you go."
Just before he retained Olson, Hale was in frequent contact with Henderson and Boynton, according to Hale's long-distance telephone records. In fact, the records indicate that Hale's first call to Henderson occurred on Nov. 22, 1993, just prior to when Olson began representing him.
Henderson, Boynton and Dozhier did not return several phone calls seeking their comment for this article.
David Bowden, Hale's current attorney, said he could not comment because Hale's testimony during the Tucker-McDougal trial occurred before Hale retained him. Hale did not respond to requests for an interview left with Bowden or at a home where he stays while in Little Rock.
The question of whether Hale did in fact mislead the Whitewater jury about how he came to retain Olson will likely be examined by federal investigator Michael Shaheen, the former Justice Department official appointed by Starr to probe the alleged payments to his key Whitewater witness. "His [Shaheen's] mandate is to investigate whether or not there were any payments to Hale and whether they colored his testimony," observed a federal law enforcement official. "If Hale lied to cover up a relationship with those who might have paid him, that's something that surely should be looked at."
The same official said that if the Arkansas Project was instrumental in providing legal counsel to Hale, that such free legal assistance could be considered a gratuity: "Anything of value -- just not cash payments -- might be a gratuity. That could be free rent. That could be the use of a car. That could be free legal assistance."
Shaheen, the former counsel to the
Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, was named
to lead an investigation of the alleged payments to Hale last May after
Starr and Attorney General Janet Reno clashed as to how such an inquiry
would be handled. To assure the independence of his investigation,
Shaheen will report to a panel of retired federal judges instead of
Starr or Reno.
Murray Waas covers the Clinton crisis for Salon. Reporting for this story was conducted in Washington, D.C., Little Rock, Ark., and Bentonville, Ark. Research assistance was provided by Daryl Lindsey, Deidre Hussey and Nat Parry.