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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 7, 1996

Statement on the President's Deposition

Today President Clinton completed his videotaped deposition for the ongoing trial in Arkansas. The President's deposition was requested by lawyers for the defense, who have said they believe the President has relevant information to offer. The President's deposition was not requested by prosecutors. As the Office of the Independent Counsel said when the indictment leading to the trial was issued, the indictment does not charge wrongdoing by the President or the First Lady. The President has consistently stated that he will provide the Court with whatever information he can offer, and today's deposition fulfills that promise.

Today's deposition has precedents in history. From time to time, Presidents -- including Jefferson, Ford and Carter, as well as former President Reagan -- have been asked to provide testimony in criminal trials. Not once, however, in more than 200 years of American history has a President been compelled to testify in person. In recent years courts have established strong precedents that a President's testimony, when necessary, should be taken by videotaped deposition. The courts have decided that videotaped testimony provides judges, jurors and lawyers with the information necessary for a fair trial, while at the same time safeguarding the President's ability to perform Executive functions. Today's deposition was administered in accord with these historical precedents.

The deposition began at 2:00 p.m. and ended at 4:20 p.m. The deposition took place in the Map Room on the ground floor of the White House.

By order of the United States District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright, we are not permitted to discuss any aspect of the deposition until after the videotape is shown in Court.