CNN, NBC comply with subpoena for outtakes in Whitewater trial
ARKANSAS–CNN and NBC News in early April decided not to appeal an order to turn over the complete videotapes of interviews with David Hale, the chief witness for the prosecution in the Whitewater loan fraud and conspiracy trial of Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and James and Susan McDougal. A federal District Court judge in Little Rock ordered the disclosure in late March.
After viewing the videotapes, including the unaired outtakes, in his chambers, the judge ruled that “certain statements by Hale” during the interviews might be evidence that could undermine Hale’s credibility as a witness.
James McDougal subpoenaed CNN and NBC in late February for the outtakes from the interviews, arguing that they would cast doubts on Hale’s credibility.
CNN and NBC moved to quash the subpoenas. CNN argued that McDougal was on a “fishing expedition” and that the video footage sought was protected under a qualified First Amendment reporter’s privilege. CNN also contended that its subpoena was overly broad and violated the federal rules of criminal procedure.
Hale, a former municipal judge, has alleged that then-Governor Clinton pressured him to make an illegal loan to the McDougals. (United States v. McDougal; Media Counsel: Susan Weiner, New York; David Kohler, Atlanta)