Frist Says He's Cooperating Fully

In this image from video, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist speaks from the floor of the Senate Friday, July 29, 2005, in Washington in support of legislation to remove some of the current administration's limitations on embryonic stem cell research. Frist, an abortion opponent who just last month said he did not support expanding federal financing of research on embryos, said his decision was consistent with both his experience as a physician and his anti-abortion stance. (AP Photo/APTN) AP /APTN

In his first comments since the SEC issued subpoenas in his case, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Tuesday that he is "cooperating fully" with the investigation into his stock trades and is absolutely confident he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

But Frist wouldn't tell reporters if he had been questioned by investigators or subpoenaed personally to appear. The majority leader has denied any insider knowledge when he sold stock in his family's hospital company out of what was supposed to be a blind trust just before a poor earnings report sent the price down, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Fuss.

"I acted properly at every point. I am absolutely confident of the outcome itself," said the Tennessee Republican, whose stocks sales are under review by both the SEC and federal prosecutors.

Frist directed the sale of his stock in HCA, Inc., about two weeks before the for-profit health care firm issued a disappointing earnings forecast that drove its share price down almost 16 percent. At the same time, top executives and directors of the company were selling shares totaling $112 million in value.

Frist has denied acting on insider information. He has previously said he wanted to divest himself of shares in the company to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest at a time when he was preparing for a possible 2008 presidential campaign.

The lawmaker rarely discusses the investigations in public, but made himself available to reporters before the Senate convened for the day and appeared ready to field questions on the issue.

"I am cooperating fully with the inquiries under way. I acted properly at every point. I am absolutely confident of the outcome itself," he said.

At the same time, he said it would not be proper to say whether he has been subpoenaed or made himself available to answer questions personally.

HCA was formed by Frist's father and brother.
  • Gina Pace

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