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Former DNC Financial Chairman Takes Fifth on Congressional Subpoena

Aired February 26, 2001 - 4:29 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: We have some late-breaking news from Washington, now, developments in the congressional investigation of President Bill Clinton's pardon issues.

CNN's Bob Franken is in Washington covering the story -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Joie, this is the story of Beth Dozoretz, who is the former financial chair of the Democratic National Committee, a close friend of Bill Clinton, and somebody who has pledged a lot of money to the Clinton presidential library.

She has been subpoenaed because of her connections to the Marc Rich matter, alleged connections, and her friendship with Denise Rich, to testify before Dan Burton's House Government Reform Committee. You see Beth Dozoretz there playing golf with President Clinton. She is somebody who, as I said, has been very active in Democratic circles.

At any rate, her attorney, Tom Green, has said she will take the Fifth Amendment, will not testify. He goes in a letter to the committee, because of other investigations, Ms. Dozoretz, upon advice of counsel, has elected to invoke her constitutional privilege not to testify.

The other investigation probably -- not probably, definitely means the federal criminal investigation that's being conducted by the U.S. attorney of the southern district of New York. Now, the letter went on to say in as much as I anticipate that the press will report on this development, I am asking that you not require my client to invoke in person her privilege before the committee on March 1st, this Thursday.

Now, that is, of course, an effort to try to avoid embarrassment for Beth Dozoretz and you put that in the fat chance category. In response, the committee chairman, Dan Burton, said it is my hope that when she come before the committee on Thursday, she will change her mind and answer the committee's questions. He goes on to say it is very troubling that Beth Dozoretz and Denise Rich, both close friends of former President Clinton who discussed the Rich pardon with him, would refuse to testify.

There is also other pushing and shoving going on in this matter. The question of whether the Presidential Library board will release the record of all its donors over $5,000 as subpoenaed by the Burton committee. The response from the board was to give very limited information, including information directed related in the board's mind to the Rich matter. According to Dan Burton, the committee's response to that is former President Clinton and his lawyers are keeping this relevant information from the committee without any sound legal basis.

The fact of the matter is there is negotiation going on about that right now -- Joie.

CHEN: Bob Franken for us from our Washington bureau.

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