By Steve Barnes

By Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) – Independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s prosecutors rested their case against Whitewater figure Susan McDougal Thursday after a week of testimony aimed at proving she broke the law by not talking to a grand jury. McDougal’s lawyers were set to begin their case to the jury later in the day, calling as their first witness Starr’s chief deputy in Arkansas. McDougal, 44, was charged with obstructing justice and criminal contempt of court for refusing to answer questions from a Starr grand jury investigating past financial dealings in Arkansas by President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. McDougal’s attorney subpoenaed Starr deputy Hickman Ewing Wednesday to appear as the first witness for the defense, which argues that McDougal kept silent because she believed Starr would twist her testimony to hurt Clinton.

Starr responded by filing a motion early Thursday challenging the subpoena, saying it did not provide enough detail about what Ewing would be asked. Judge George Howard ordered the defense to provide more details. The two sides then reached an agreement in the judge’s chambers that allowed the defense to proceed as planned. “I want to confirm what I think we’ve already established, that the grand jury wasn’t getting the full truth” about the investigation, McDougal’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said about why he wanted to question Ewing. Prosecutors started wrapping up their case Wednesday with testimony by former grand jurors aimed at bolstering their case that the Whitewater investigation was seeking legitimate information and not trying to persecute the Clintons.

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Susan and James McDougal, her late former husband, invested in the Whitewater land deal with Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton in the late 1970s. Clinton was the Arkansas attorney general at the time. The real estate venture failed and questions about the financing for the Whitewater deal resulted in Starr’s investigation of the Clintons. Both McDougals were convicted of fraud in 1996 in a Whitewater-related case. James McDougal died in jail last year.