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Starr May Call Hillary To Stand

Special prosecutor Kenneth Starr has named Hillary Rodham Clinton as a possible witness in the upcoming trial of her former Arkansas law partner, Webster Hubbell, legal sources said Wednesday.

Starr submitted Clinton's name as one of 63 possible witnesses for Hubbell's trial, now scheduled for August. Mrs. Clinton is currently considering a race for the Senate from New York.

Starr notified Hubbell's legal team in April that he considered Clinton as a possible witness. Hubbell's lawyers countered with a list of 17 possible defense witnesses, and both lists were placed under seal, the legal sources said.

The sources, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, are outside of Starr's office. Mrs. Clinton's lawyer, David Kendall, wasn't immediately available for comment, his office said.

Starr is under no obligation to call the first lady as a witness even though he put her name on the list. In January 1996 she gained the dubious honor of being the only first lady to be summoned before a federal grand jury.

While Mrs. Clinton has never been charged with any wrongdoing, she was referred to dozens times in Hubbell's indictment, making it clear that she would figure in the hearings. She is not mentioned by name in the indictment, but rather as the other "Rose billing partner."

Hubbell goes on trial Aug. 9 on charges he concealed his and Mrs. Clinton's work at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Ark., on a fraudulent Arkansas land development called Castle Grande.

At a court hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James Robertson estimated the trial would last at most five weeks.

The 1,050-acre Castle Grande tract, which federal banking regulators concluded was riddled with "insider dealing, fictitious sales and land flips" was owned by Hubbell's father-in-law, Seth Ward, and the Clintons' Whitewater business partner, Jim McDougal. Federal regulators calculated damages to McDougal's S&L from the Castle Grande transactions at $3.8 million in unpaid principal and interest.

Mrs. Clinton drafted a real estate option that pegged the price of a 22-acre slice of Castle Grande at $400,000. The government, which ended up owning the property when the S&L collapsed, got $38,000 for the parcel.

"I have no recollection of doing this" and "I do not believe I would have drafted such real estate documents from scratch," Mrs. Clinton told federal regulators in 1996. "I have no recollection of who may have asked me to prepare these documents."

Mrs. Clinton repeatedly told regulators in a 1996 interview that she didn't recall various aspects of the work she and her law firm did on Castle Grande, including authorizing the destruction of her warehoused law firm files on the project.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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