Whitewater Probe Clears Clintons of Criminal Wrongdoing

ByABC News
September 21, 2000, 6:43 AM

Sept. 20 -- Independent counsel Robert Ray today filed his long-awaited report on the Whitewater investigation, clearing President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing.

The official report, sent by Ray to a three-judge panel, is not expected to be finalized for several weeks. But Ray released a six-page statement today that concludes neither the president nor Mrs. Clinton intentionally violated the law in the botched Whitewater real estate deal.

This office determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that either President or Mrs. Clinton knowingly participated in any criminal conduct, the statement says.

Democrats had been bracing for Ray to take a parting shot at Mrs. Clinton, who is locked in a tough fight with Rep. Rick Lazio for New Yorks open Senate seat with the Nov. 7 general election looming.

But Rays statement was only mildly critical of the White House.

This office experienced delay caused by the White House and others involving the production of relevant evidence and the filing of legal claims that were ultimately rejected by the courts, Ray writes.

Ray also notes he expects to file a final report promptly after an Oct. 27 hearing for former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who is still appealing a conviction stemming from the inquiry.

But all the relevant parties named in the report are given the opportunity to vet the document before it is made public, meaning it may not be available before 2001.

Asked today about his findings, Ray would only say that the case was closed.

I dont intend any further comment on the investigation, Ray said.

White House Responds

President Clinton did not respond to a question about the report at the White House this afternoon, but Mrs. Clinton, meeting reporters in Albany, N.Y., said she was pleased the investigation was finished.