Clintons Pay Off Legal Bills

An Orthodox Jewish supporter, right, greets New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino before Paladino spoke during a campaign stop at the Karlsburg Rabbinical College in the Borough Park neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) AP Photo

More than four years after leaving office, former President Bill Clinton has finally paid off his legal bills, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob Fuss.

He and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., owed millions to lawyers who defended them during the years-long investigation of Whitewater and other business dealings and helped in the Monica Lewinsky impeachment mess.

The news was revealed in financial disclosure forms filed by Sen. Clinton that show she and her husband no longer have any legal debts and are now more than comfortable financially, with millions of dollars in income, mostly from a pair of best-selling memoirs.

"They are both pleased that it's been paid," said Jim Kennedy, a spokesman for the former president.

As expensive as their legal defense was, the documents show their earning ability far outstrips those costs.

The couple had asked the government to pay some $3.5 million of their costs, but a court granted them only a tiny fraction in payment, about $85,000.

They reported owing $1.7 million to $6.5 million at the end of 2002, and between $500,000 and $1 million to a New York law firm by the end of 2003. A year later, all of those debts have been paid.

The president is not required to report the extent of payments from his best-selling autobiography "My Life," which has sold more than 2 million copies in the United States and was just released in paperback.

Under reporting rules, as a spouse of a senator he is only required to report that he received more than $1,000 in payments for the book, though published reports have said he inked a deal worth $10 million to $12 million with publisher Alfred A. Knopf.

The couple's holdings are now valued in the millions. They reported a joint bank account valued somewhere between $5 million and $25 million, and a blind trust also valued between $5 million and $25 million.

Noticeably absent from the power couple's finances is the millions of dollars in speakers fees that the former president earned in past years.

Mr. Clinton earned $875,000 in speaking engagements in 2004. The previous two years, he earned a combined $13.9 million in such fees.

His paid appearances in 2004 included a $250,000 speech in March 2004 for Citigroup in Paris, and a $125,000 speech in December 2004 in New York to Goldman Sachs.

Sen. Clinton collected another $2,376,716 in 2004 royalties for her memoirs, "Living History," making her total take from the book near $8.7 million so far.

Mr. Clinton's spokesman said the president's busy schedule and two surgeries in 2004 for a heart bypass brought down his speech earnings.

"2004 was an extremely busy year for him, between his foundation work, writing his book, on the book tour, recuperating from heart surgery, and preparing for the library opening. He's more in demand than ever, but most requests have to be turned down," said Kennedy.
  • Joel Roberts

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