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 For Immediate Release
Feb 23, 1999 Contact: Press Office


Former Clinton Aide Unilaterally Walked Out of Filegate Deposition

Ethics Watchdog Seeks $10,000 a Day Minimum Fine to Force ABC Commentator's Compliance with Court Orders, Subpoena

Judicial Watch filed in federal court on February 20 a Motion For Order To Show Cause Why George Stephanopoulos Should Not Be Held In Contempt. The motion was filed hours after Stephanopoulos refused to answer questions about a Court-ordered document search and unilaterally walked out of a deposition. George Stephanopoulos was redeposed in Judicial Watch's $90 million class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the Reagan and Bush officials whose FBI files were improperly obtained and used by the Clinton White House. Mr. Stephanopoulos was in a central position in the Clinton White House during Filegate -- and in particular when the scandal broke, playing a key role in damage control. He is therefore an important witness.

Mr. Stephanopoulos was ordered by the Court to reapppear for deposition, because the Court found not only that he had not done a search for documents before the last round of testimony, but that he also was not truthful about it. With regard to his prior testimony about a document search, the Court found that Stephanopoulos's "claims of memory loss are simply not believable" and "that some of his deposition testimony on this point is not truthful." As a result, Mr. Stephanopoulos was ordered to conduct a "second search," as well as to pay attorneys fees and costs.

Mr. Stephanopoulos appeared for the Court-ordered deposition dressed in an inappropriately casual manner, despite it being a court proceeding. More importantly, Mr. Stephanopoulos did not produce a single document. During the deposition, Mr. Stephanopoulos again gave testimony showing that he had not done an adequate second search, as ordered by the Court nearly one year ago. When Judicial Watch lawyers sought to probe him about specific aspects of the second search as ordered by the Court, he refused to answer questions and unilaterally walked out of the deposition.

"Contemptuous conduct is endemic to this Administration," stated Larry Klayman, Judicial Watch Chairman. "What Judicial Watch seeks from Mr. Stephanopoulos is immediate compliance with the Court's orders and our subpoena."

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