Whitewater Witness Sentenced

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LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS: Financier David Hale, who initiated the Whitewater investigation with allegations that President Clinton pressured him to make an illegal loan, was sentenced today to 28 months in prison and directed to repay the government $2.04 million. Hale pled guilty in March 1994 to two felony charges of defrauding the Small Business Administration in order to receive matching federal funds for his investments. Hale has said that in 1986, then Arkansas governor Clinton and his Whitewater partner James McDougal pressured him to make a $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal. At today's sentencing, the federal judge was unconvinced of Hale's claims. "The facts show overwhelmingly that you willingly operated this service for these people," the judge said. "You're not a victim. You're anything but a victim." The judge also gave Hale three years probation and fined him $10,000. As a result of information Hale has provided to the government, both the McDougals and Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker are on trial for conspiracy and fraud. Hale is a key prosecution witness in the trial, but defense attorneys are seeking to undermine his credibility by telling the jury that he is a convicted felon and "a fraud from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet." President Clinton has called Hale's claims "a bunch of bull." The president has not been charged with a crime, but is expected to testify for the defense in early April.