OCTOBER 20, 2015
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in the U.S. District Court for District of Columbia seeking access to draft indictments of Hillary Clinton over what is popularly known as the Whitewater scandal (Judicial Watch v. National Archives and Records Administration (No. 15-cv-01740)). The National Archives confirmed that draft indictments of Mrs. Clinton exist but refused to release the records, evidently in order to protect Mrs. Clinton’s alleged privacy in these law enforcement records.
On March 9, 2015, Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request seeking all draft indictments of Mrs. Clinton in the files of Hickman Ewing, Jr., who served as Deputy Independent Counsel from September 1994 – January 2001. In 1999, Ewing testified that he wrote a draft indictment of Mrs. Clinton in 1996.
On March 19, the National Archives admitted locating records responsive to the request, confirming that it found 38 pages of responsive records in a folder entitled “Draft Indictment,” and approximately 200 pages of responsive records in a folder entitled “Hilary Rodham Clinton/Webster L. Hubbell Draft Indictment.” The Judicial Watch request was denied in full under Exemption (b)(7)(C), which provides protection for law enforcement information, the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
Judicial Watch administratively appealed the denial on May 14. Today (five months later), Judicial Watch finally received a response from the National Archives that acknowledges receipt of the administrative appeal, but makes no determination on the refusal to release the draft indictments.
Judicial Watch believes the records include an evolving set of draft indictments, written between 1996 and 1998. The draft indictments reportedly arose out of the Office of Independent Counsel investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in an allegedly fraudulent transaction, Castle Grande, involving the assets of Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan. Mrs. Clinton was alleged to have drafted an option agreement that concealed from federal bank examiners a fraudulent $300,000 cross-loan to the Castle Grande project. Mrs. Clinton’s grand jury testimony – and her alleged concealment of her role in this fraudulent transaction, including the hiding of her Rose Law Firm billing records concerning her legal work for Madison – reportedly became the subject of an obstruction of justice and perjury investigation.
In March 1999, Ewing testified that three years prior he had drafted and circulated but abandoned an indictment of Mrs. Clinton. The New York Post reported:
Ewing said he “had problems” with some of her statements to investigators in April 1995 and drafted an indictment shortly after September 1996. He said he showed it to other prosecutors in Starr’s office but went no further.
“Judicial Watch has confirmed the existence of draft indictments of Hillary Clinton for her lies and obstruction in the Whitewater bank fraud investigation,” stated Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “The Obama administration is refusing to release these records out of concern for Hillary Clinton’s privacy. Hillary Clinton’s privacy cannot be allowed to trump the public’s interest in knowing more about whether she obstructed justice and lied to a federal grand jury.”