ARKANSAS S&L REAL ESTATE AIDE COPS FELONY PLEA

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In a deal with Whitewater federal prosecutors, an appraiser for a savings and loan institution owned by the Clintons' business partners pleaded guilty today to filing phony documents. Robert Palmer, who performed hundreds of appraisals for Madison Guaranty -- the failed thrift once controlled by one-time friends of the Clintons, Jim and Susan McDougal -- will cooperate with the investigation of the finances of the bank and the First Family. The McDougals were the Clintons' partners in the Ozarks Whitewater real estate venture. Under the plea agreement, Palmer -- who admitted to backdating appraisals not directly dealing with the Whitewater property for Madison Guaranty -- agreed to cooperate in the federal probe of Whitewater, Madison Guaranty, and the Clintons' financial affairs