New details continue to emerge from Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act fight with the National Archives over the release of draft indictments of Hillary Clinton in the Whitewater case. According to the Archives, release of the indictments—drafted by an independent counsel examining the Clintons’ relationship to a corrupt Arkansas S&L and an alleged cover-up—would violate grand jury secrecy and Mrs. Clinton’s personal privacy. FOIA request denied.
Judicial Watch declined to take “no” for an answer, and so off to court we went. The case is now in the hands of a federal judge.
In the course of litigation, new facts have come to light. Under FOIA, the Archives must produce a “Vaughn Index”—a tantalizing and at times maddening document. A Vaughn Index is the government saying: we are not giving you the documents, but here is an “index” of what we are not giving you, and why we are not giving it to you. Your tax dollars at work.
In the National Archives Vaughn Index for the case, we learn that the government is sitting on at least twelve versions of the the draft indictment of Mrs. Clinton, including one “listing overt acts.” From the public record, we know that the Whitewater case centered around whether Mrs. Clinton, while First Lady, lied to federal investigators about her role in the corrupt Arkansas S&L, concealed documents (including material under federal subpoena), and took other steps to cover-up her involvment. Prosecutors ultimately decided not to indict Mrs. Clinton, concluding that they could not win the complicated, largely circumstantial case against such a high-profile figure.
The draft indictments range from three to forty pages—the former likely excerpts or “scraps” from longer documents, the Vaughn Index indicates. Some of the drafts doubtless are copies but many clearly are not. A total of 451 pages of draft indictments are being withheld by the Archives.