Ecerpt From:

The Wall Street Journal
February 12, 1998

Review & Outlook
Obstruction and Abuse:
A Pattern

The Clinton Presidency, in our view, has in large part been an exercise in defining downward the standards that elected officials must abide by and that voters in a democracy expect them to abide. At the current juncture, readers may find a refresher course instructive.

Train Deaths

1987: Arkansas State Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak rules the deaths of teenagers Kevin Ives and Don Henry, found run over by a train, "accidental," saying the boys had smoked too much marijuana and fallen asleep on the tracks. A second autopsy and grand jury probe, finding evidence of a knife wound and beatings, declared it "definitely a homicide."

1989: With the controversy over the train deaths case growing, a commission headed by Arkansas Department of Health Director Joycelyn Elders clears Dr. Malak. Nine months later, Gov. Clinton proposes a $32,000 raise for the medical examiner; the state legislature cuts it in half. A Malak ruling in a 1981 death case involving Clinton's mother, nurse-anesthetist Virginia Kelley, had helped her avoid intense legal scrutiny.

1990: Jean Duffey, a prosecutor who developed information about a possible connection between the train deaths and drugs dropped from low-flying planes was fired and felt it necessary to flee the state, blaming incoming prosecuting attorney Dan Harmon for a "smear campaign."

1991: A month before Clinton announces his presidential run, Dr. Malak is promoted to a new job as a Health Department consultant to Dr. Elders.

1997: Prosecutor Harmon is convicted on five counts of racketeering, extortion and drug distribution for using his office as a criminal enterprise. The train deaths case remains unresolved.

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