Static: Friday, September 29, 2004
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Radicalizing Susan

“We’ll give you global immunity,” Susan McDougal was told, if she would just tell Kenneth Starr that President Bill Clinton lied under oath. “Global immunity,” she thought. “Am I Idi Amin?”

McDougal was hardly a brutal despot. She was simply the woman who refused to rat out her friend Bill over a failed land deal in Arkansas in which the Clintons had lost money a decade before he entered the White House. During a recent trip to Fort Worth sponsored by TCU and the local ACLU chapter, McDougal, whose husband Jim put the deal together, gave her version of the refusal. The special prosecutor, McDougal said, wanted her to testify that Clinton lied when he denied knowledge of the deal’s convoluted money trail. But, she said, “Bill didn’t know anything about the money.” She said she feared that if she went before a grand jury, Starr would find a way to manipulate her into incriminating Clinton in spite of herself. So she took the road of silence,

McDougal paid a heavy price for her stand. Contempt charges sent her on a 21-month Kafkaesque journey through seven of the country’s worst prisons — intended, she believes, to break her. In Arkansas she fought rats and roaches for the food shoved into her cell, in California she shared a lockdown with women convicted of murder, and for a time she was installed here on the psychiatric ward at Carswell’s federal prison hospital for women even though she had never been diagnosed with psychiatric problems. Terrifyingly, Carswell doctors then wrongly diagnosed her as having breast cancer. “They were about to send me to an outside hospital for breast surgery — where my legs and arms would have been tied to the operating table — when a doctor reread the tests and discovered I’d been misdiagnosed.”

But instead of breaking her spirit, McDougal said, Starr created a woman on a mission. “Ken ... gave me the credibility to tell the country about the horrors of the female prisons in this country. I’m a better person for it. He’s not.”

Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2017 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions