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Clinton Tape 'Captures Commission of Crime,' Lawyer Argues

CNSNews.com | June 20, 2007
Fred Lucas

A videotape shows New York Sen. Hillary Clinton committing felonies and should be admitted as new evidence in a California civil case, a forthcoming legal brief to be filed by Friday argues.

The tape shows Clinton - currently the leading Democratic presidential contender - speaking in 2000 with Peter Paul, a Hollywood mogul, and comic book icon Stan Lee about a massive fundraising event for her 2000 Senate race. Paul spent about $2 million of his own money to produce the event. The legal contribution limit to a candidate then was $2,000.

"The evidence is of that rare type that captures the very commission of a crime, namely, that of knowingly soliciting, coordinating and accepting federal campaign contributions far in excess of the legal limit of $2,000," says the brief to be filed by Paul's attorney with the Court of Appeal, 2nd Appellate District arguing in favor of including the tape as evidence.

Cybercast News Service first reported the existence of the tape in April.

A portion of the videotape captures the closing words of a lengthy conversation in which Paul was present.

The voice of Hillary Clinton is heard telling Lee that Paul and her chief campaign aide "talk all the time, so she'll be the person to convey whatever I need." She is then heard adding, "I wanted to call and personally thank all of you ... [and] tell you how much this means to me. It's going to mean a lot to the president, too."

Clinton and her supporters have maintained that she had no direct knowledge that the event violated campaign finance rules. In a written declaration for the California court filed on April 7, 2006, the senator said only that she didn't remember discussions with Paul about the fundraiser.

"I have no recollection whatsoever of discussing any arrangement with him whereby he would support my campaign for the United States Senate in exchange for anything from me or then-President Clinton," Clinton said in the declaration.

"I do not believe I would make such a statement because I believe I would remember such a discussion if it had occurred," she added.

The Federal Elections Commission already ruled that Clinton's 2000 campaign committee underreported cash it received at the fundraising event Paul sponsored. The FEC slapped the campaign committee with a $35,000 fine.

The fallout from Paul's Hollywood fundraising event also led to the federal indictment of David Rosen, the senator's campaign finance director, who was acquitted on charges of lying to the FEC.

Paul alleges this tape proves Clinton and her campaign were not truthful to either the FEC or the grand jury investigation that led to Rosen's indictment.

Neither Clinton's presidential campaign nor her Senate office returned phone calls regarding this story Tuesday. Likewise, Clinton's attorney David Kendall did not respond.

In recent briefs in the case, Clinton's attorneys point out that Paul pleaded guilty to manipulating the company's stock price. He has two previous felony convictions, pleading guilty to fraud in the 1970s and to a drug charge in the 1980s.

The U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York gave copies of 90 tapes to Paul on April 11. The office had taken possession of the tapes six years ago during an investigation of a securities case against Paul in 2001.

Paul was the majority partner with Lee in a multi-million dollar Internet venture in 2000 before the company collapsed.

Paul contends that President Clinton had agreed to work as a rainmaker for the company after he left the White House in exchange for the massive star-studded fundraising event in Hollywood which Paul produced that included Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, John Travolta, Brad Pitt, Sugar Ray, and Queen Latifah.

Trying to stay out of the lawsuit while she ran for reelection to the Senate and laid the groundwork for a presidential campaign, Clinton used a California statute intended to protect political candidates from frivolous lawsuits.

That's where this tape could be key, said election law expert John Armor, who has tried election laws since the 1960s.

"The tape shows her committing several crimes," said Armor, who is not a party to the case but will appear on camera for a documentary Paul is producing on the case. "The court either should accept it on appeal, or bump it back to the trial court."

Oral arguments will likely be made to the three-judge panel this summer on whether to release Clinton from the lawsuit, with a decision expected soon after. But the entire case could go on for much longer.

Past precedents have denied the introduction of new evidence into appeals proceedings because it either could have been introduced at the trial level, isn't conclusive or contains a factual dispute, said Wilson, Paul's attorney.

That would not apply here, she said.

"This is set apart. It's a wow case," Wilson told Cybercast News Service. "At the trial level, this would have changed everything."

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