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Courier: I shredded Foster documents

A courier employed by the Rose law firm acknowledged Friday that he shredded documents belonging the late Vincent Foster in January, a few weeks before the firm received a broadly worded subpoena for documents from Whitewater special counsel Robert Fiske.

Clayton Lindsey, 19, of Little Rock, told the Los Angeles Times that both he and his roommate, Jeremy Hedges, also a Rose firm courier, were instructed to destroy the papers. He declined to describe the contents of the documents, but said they could have been internal materials, as Rose spokesmen have suggested, rather than files related to Whitewater.

On Friday, officials of the law firm told the Washington Post that the box of material to be shredded was put together in helping a lawyer change offices. In the box were financial statements and minutes of partnership meetings, the officials said, not sensitive materials handled by Foster, the deputy White House counsel who apparently committed suicide last July.

Foster practiced law at the Rose firm before January 1993 along with now-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and two other top administration officials.

Lindsey testified about the shredding to a federal grand jury Feb. 16. His and Hedges' testimony apparently led to the issuing of the subpoena to the Rose firm by Fiske.

Lawyers at the Rose firm do not deny that some documents belonging to Foster were shredded. Yet they have maintained that they never destroyed any materials that might be pertinent to Fiske's investigation.

Fiske is looking into allegations that President Clinton may have benefited improperly from his association with James McDougal, owner of a failed savings and loan and partner with the Clintons in an Ozark real estate development firm known as Whitewater Development Corp.

Although the probe centers on Whitewater, Fiske also is investigating Foster's death, and the role played by Mrs. Clinton and her firm in representing Whitewater and McDougal's failed Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan.

A special grand jury is expected to be empaneled later this month to begin hearing testimony in the Whitewater case.