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Delay sought in release of Vince Foster report

The independent counsel investigating the involvement of Bill and Hillary Clinton in an Arkansas real estate venture has asked a federal judge to prevent the release of a police report on the apparent suicide of deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster.

The counsel, Robert Fiske, said in a letter introduced Monday in federal court that his investigation will include a detailed look at Foster's death last July. Fiske said that making the Park Police report public now would hinder his investigation because witnesses' testimony could be tainted by knowledge of the report.

Fiske's letter was offered in support of a Justice Department effort to delay release of the report, which the Wall Street Journal has sued to obtain.

Foster, a boyhood friend of Clinton in Arkansas and law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton, committed suicide July 20 on federal parkland at Fort Marcy.

Law-enforcement officials who have seen the report said the Park Police complained that Bernard Nussbaum, the White House counsel, repeatedly interfered with efforts to look into the circumstances surrounding the death. Nussbaum has said he did nothing improper.

Foster's death has generated speculation because he handled the Clintons' personal business.

One of Foster's files concerned Whitewater Development Co., an Arkansas real estate concern in which the Clintons invested. Their partner in the venture was James McDougal, who also owned an Arkansas savings-and-loan association that failed, costing taxpayers about $60-million.

Fiske is looking into whether money from McDougal's institution, Madison Guaranty, was improperly used to shore up Whitewater. The Clintons have denied any wrongdoing.

Nussbaum transferred the Whitewater file to the Clintons' personal lawyer, David Kendall, and it has since been turned over to the Justice Department under threat of a subpoena.