Four Down, Seven To Go

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas: Ending six days of deliberation, the federal jury in the second Whitewater trial acquitted two Arkansas bankers on four counts of conspiring to illegally use bank money to fund Bill Clinton's 1990 bid for governor. The jury remained hopelessly deadlocked on the remaining seven counts against Herby Branscum Jr. and Robert M. Hilland and the judge declared a mistrial on those charges. That action leaves open the possibility that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr could call for a retrial on those charges. What the bankers can not be retried for is the charge that they conspired to conceal from the IRS $52,500 in cash withdrawals drawn from the Clinton gubernatorial campaign coffers. White House deputy counsel Bruce Lindsey had been named an unindicted co-conspirator in that alleged conspiracy. News of the verdict had the Clinton camp predicting that the Whitewater scandal would fade from the election-year radar screens. "It takes one more issue off the table for Republicans who think this is an important matter," said spokesman Joe Lockhart. Maybe, maybe not. Within the deadlocked counts against Branscum and Hill, there are a few potential land mines remaining, including charges of conspiring to direct more bank funds to Clinton's 1990 gubernatorial race and to his 1991 presidential exploratory committee.