Marc Rich lawyers ordered to turn over documents
CNN - December 14, 2001
NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal judge said lawyers for Marc Rich acted
"principally as lobbyists" in helping the fugitive financier win
a pardon from President Clinton and must hand over documents
withheld from a grand jury investigating the controversial pardon.
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said attorney-client privilege
does not protect the materials from release.
"The Marc Rich lawyers were acting principally as lobbyists,
working with public relations specialists and individuals -- foreign
government officials, prominent citizens and personal friends of
the president -- who had access to the White House," Chin wrote.
"They were not acting as lawyers or providing legal advice in the
After the ruling, which did not give details of what is in the
materials, Rich lawyer Laurence Urgenson said: "We're reviewing
the opinion and considering our options."
Rich was indicted in 1983 on federal charges of evading more
than $48 million in income taxes and illegally buying oil from Iran
during the 1979 hostage crisis. Rich, ex-husband of Denise Rich, a
major financial contributor to the Democratic Party, left the
United States before he was indicted and has been living in
He received one of 176 pardons and clemencies Clinton issued on
his last day in office, Jan. 20.
The pardons and commutations prompted congressional hearings and
an investigation by federal prosecutors in New York.
Clinton said in February that he granted the Rich pardon based
"on the merits as I saw them, and I take full responsibility for
He rejected any suggestion that he granted the pardon because of
political contributions or donations Rich's ex-wife made to the
Clinton library foundation.
Clinton spokeswoman Julia Payne referred queries to the former
president's lawyer in Washington, David Kendall, who did not return
a telephone call seeking comment.
Former White House counsel Jack Quinn, whose work on behalf of
the Rich pardon received special note in the judge's ruling, also
did not return a call.
The judge said Quinn was hired not because of his legal skills
but because he was "Washington wise" and understood "the entire
"He was hired because he could telephone the White House and
engage in a 20-minute conversation with the president," the judge
said. "He was hired because he could write the president a
`personal note' that said `I believe in this cause with all my
heart,' and he would know that the president would read the note
and give it weight."
Quinn and Denise Rich have denied allegations that the pardon
was tied to her political contributions.
Lawyers for Rich's pardoned business partner, Pincus Green, also
must release documents, the judge said.