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Media groups urge unsealing of Clinton testimony videotape

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Media groups urge unsealing of Clinton testimony videotape05/06/96 ARKANSAS--A coalition of press organizations and media rights groups is calling for…

Media groups urge unsealing of Clinton testimony videotape

05/06/96

ARKANSAS–A coalition of press organizations and media rights groups is calling for the release of President Clinton’s sealed videotaped testimony in a trial linked to the Whitewater land development fraud and conspiracy investigation, after the tapes were sealed by a federal judge.

The defendants in the criminal conspiracy and fraud trial include James and Susan McDougal, former business partners of the Clintons, and Jim Guy Tucker, current governor of Arkansas.

A federal District Court judge in Little Rock placed the video tape of President Clinton’s testimony under seal in late April.

President Clinton expressed fears that the tape would be used by Republicans in television ads during the upcoming presidential campaign this fall. The court gave attorneys for the government, the defendants and the President thirty days to submit arguments about how the tape should be handled.

The District Court also invited media organizations to file briefs with the court to express their interests, and the interests of the public, in viewing the tape. A group of media organizations, including The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Radio- Television News Directors Association, Capital Cities/American Broadcasting Companies, Turner Broadcasting System, National Broadcasting Company, and CBS, is applying for immediate access to the tape, or in the alternative, for the right to immediately view the tape and copy it after it is shown in open court.

(U.S. v. McDougal, et al.; Media Counsel: Phillip Anderson, Little Rock)