SOURCE: Judicial Watch

March 17, 2008 13:14 ET

Judicial Watch Obtains Official Pardon Application for Fugitive Marc Rich From Clinton Presidential Library

Judicial Watch Lawsuit to Force the Release of Hillary Clinton's Daily Schedule Records by March 20

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - March 17, 2008) - Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained the official pardon application submitted to the Clinton White House by attorney Jack Quinn on December 11, 2000, on behalf of former fugitive Marc Rich, who fled the United States in 1983 to avoid prosecution on racketeering, wire fraud and tax evasion charges. The fugitive Rich was one of about 140 criminals who received pardons from Bill Clinton in the last hours of his administration on January 20, 2001. The pardon application was made available in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made on August 8, 2006.

The Rich pardon was particularly scandalous because of large contributions made by Denise Rich, Marc Rich's ex-wife, to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign and to the Clinton Presidential Library foundation in the months leading up to the Rich pardon. The Rich pardon application includes a letter excerpt from Denise Rich: "My husband and I could not return to the United States because... no one would listen -- all the prosecutors appeared to think about was the prospect of imprisoning Marc for the rest of his life. With a life sentence at stake, and press and media fueled by the US. Attorney, we felt he had no choice but to remain out of the country," Denise Rich wrote. The National Archives, under the direction of Bill Clinton, continues to withhold from public disclosure hundreds of pages regarding the pardons.

"Denise Rich personally appealed to the Clinton administration to pardon her ex-husband while she was dumping large amounts of cash into the Clintons' coffers," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "If that's not a quid pro quo, I don't know what is."

Key members of Bill Clinton's own staff were opposed to the Rich pardon. Three White House officials, White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, White House counsel Beth Nolan and deputy counsel Bruce Lindsey all testified to Congress that they recommended against granting a pardon to Rich. Just one month after he received the pardon, Rich reportedly served as a middle man for several of Iraq's suspect oil deals in the infamous UN Oil-for-Food scandal, which allowed Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime to pocket billions of dollars intended for humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people. (R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., in his recent book "The Clinton Crack-Up," reports that Bill Clinton met with Rich in Geneva since leaving the White House.)

In other news related to Judicial Watch's investigation of Clinton Presidential Library records, Judicial Watch expects to receive 10,000 pages of former First Lady Hillary Clinton's daily schedule records by March 20, 2008, the date of a status hearing in Judicial Watch's lawsuit in the matter [Judicial Watch, Inc. v U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Civil Action No: 1:07-cv-01267 (JR)].

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