- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 22, 2001

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which oversees independent counsels, yesterday told Whitewater prosecutor Robert W. Ray to end his seven-year investigation, effective Sept. 30.
Mr. Ray made the announcement in a brief written statement, formally pulling the plug on the $60 million probe that ultimately ruled there was "insufficient evidence" to bring charges against former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The order to end the investigation came at Mr. Ray's request.
"The special division of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia, at the request of the independent counsel, has ordered the termination of the investigative functions of the independent counsel" in the Whitewater probe, the statement said.
Mr. Ray noted that his office would remain open until the Sept. 30 deadline "to fulfill duties relating" to a final report, which must be handed over to the three-judge panel.
Earlier this month, Mr. Ray notified Attorney General John Ashcroft that the investigation was complete and submitted his final annual report to Congress. He also filed a motion with the three-judge panel requesting an order terminating the lengthy inquiry. Called the Whitewater investigation because of its ties to a real estate development on the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks, the probe netted 14 convictions or guilty pleas, including those of a sitting Arkansas governor, Jim Guy Tucker; Whitewater Development Corp. business partners James and Susan McDougal; and onetime Associate Attorney General Webster L. Hubbell.
Investigators ultimately said the evidence was insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that either Mr. Clinton or Mrs. Clinton knowingly participated in any criminal conduct.
The Whitewater investigation began in 1994 with a special prosecutor, Robert B. Fiske, who was succeeded by independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr and then Mr. Ray. It focused on accusations that the Clintons knowingly participated in criminal conduct related to Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association, the Little Rock, Ark., thrift owned by the McDougals. The thrift failed in 1994 at a cost to taxpayers of $73 million.


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