Clinton Pardons McDougal, Hearst, Others

ByABC News
January 19, 2001, 9:41 AM

W A S H I N G T O N, Jan. 20 -- President Clinton today pardoned his former Whitewater business partner Susan McDougal and 139 others, including newspaper heiress Patty Hearst and former CIA chief John Deutch.

In one of his final acts before leaving office at noon today, Clinton also pardoned his own brother, Roger, convicted of a drug charge; Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros; four people convicted as a result of the investigation conducted by special counsel Kenneth Starr; and eight people convicted following an investigation of the U.S. Agriculture Department.

However, Clinton did not pardon his wife's former law partner, Webster Hubbell; Leonard Peltier, convicted of the murder of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota in 1975; or junk-bond financier Michael Milken.

Milken's pardon was strongly opposed by Richard Walker, enforcement director of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Clinton pardoned or commuted the sentences of everyone convicted in an independent counsel's probe, conducted by Donald Smaltz, of influence-peddling at the Agriculture Department under former Secretary Mike Espy.

Clinton and his allies had been even more critical of that inquiry than the one conducted by Starr, which led to the revelations of his involvement with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Caught By Surprise

The Deutch pardon was a surprise to many in Washington today, including Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder's office. His office apparently did not know of the pending presidential pardon Friday when Attorney General Janet Reno gave the approval for investigators to make a deal with Deutch, sources tell ABCNEWS.

The former CIA director had been under investigation for sloppy handling of secret files.

It remains unclear exactly what the Justice Department charged him with.

Sources say the White House's list of pardons says only that Deutch was pardoned "for those offenses described in the Information dated January 19, 2001."

However, the Information, a charging document that usually accompanies a plea, has not been filed publicly yet. It's possible the deal was made after courts closed, meaning the documents couldn't be filed until Monday.