Prosecutors looking into the Clinton-era Whitewater scandal considered indicting then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, tied closely to four charged in the affair, but decided in 1998 not to after an internal debate rated a possible conviction at just 10 percent.
Judicial Watch released documents provided by the National dArchives that showed the "statements of the case" against Clinton and Webster Hubbell, her former Rose Law Firm partner and former Associate Attorney General in the Clinton Justice Department.
One document released by Judicial Watch gave the odds of a conviction:
"Bottom line: We can anticipate the following: 2% = Rule 29; 18% = Acquittal; 70% =Hung Jury; 10% = Conviction. Not enough in my view," wrote Office of Independent Counsel attorney Paul Rosenzweig.
The reason offered was the unlikelihood a jury would convict a high-profile figure like Clinton.
The April 24, 1998 memo said, "First, when we are confident of the ultimate ground of our case -- the factual guilt of the accused -- there is an impulse to bring the charges if there is any reasonable basis for success. Part of that impulse is the recognition that in a 'typical' case, the costs of failure are low. No prosecutor has ever been criticized for being too aggressive in charging an 'edgy' case against, say, a Mafia kingpin. In this instance, however, the costs -- in terms of damage to the investigation and damage to the public perception of the criminal justice system --of failure will be much higher than normal."
Another document said that Clinton destroyed her personal records.
The case led to three convictions and indictment of Hubbell for allegedly hiding his and Clinton's role in the real estate deal.
The documents released also included some details on a potential indictment of Clinton in a folder titled "Hillary Rodham Clinton/Webster L. Hubbell Draft Indictment." Judicial Watch is suing in federal court to force the release of the draft indictment.
Judicial Watch believes that the government is withholding other key scandal memos to protect Clinton.
"These new Hillary Clinton prosecution memos are damning and dramatic," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Hillary Clinton's bank fraud, obstruction, lies, and other fraud began in Arkansas, continued in the White House and actually accelerated because the suicide of her friend Vincent Foster. The memos suggest that if she weren't first lady, she would have been successfully prosecuted in federal court. As we continue the court fight to get the actual draft indictment of Hillary Clinton we first uncovered in this investigation, Americans would do well to read these memos. If you want to understand the deplorable ethics and corruption at the Clinton State Department, these documents provide important background," he said.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com.