Documents Show Denise as Player in Hubby's Empire
Justice Department Hangs Tough on Abortion
Prez Pulls Dems From Party Ranks
Survey Reveals What Kids Did Last Year

Documents Show Denise as Player in Hubby's Empire
Scandal Rich

Investigators from the U.S. Attorney's office have been poring through dusty records stashed in a New York court storeroom, looking for clues as to whether Marc Rich, the onetime fugitive financier, used his former wife, the songwriter Denise Rich, to pass political contributions to Bill and Hillary Clinton in exchange for a January pardon. All sides deny any wrongdoing.

At the heart of the investigators' search is a 1993 New York lawsuit, filed by Denise Rich against her ex-husband, whom she accused of defrauding her, as well as the children's trusts. As confusing as the case is, it raises the question of Denise's role in Marc's business: Does she still have a financial stake in Marc's companies, the same ones that were accused of tax evasion in the early '80s?

Denise herself admits in the court filings that in the early '90s she got lost in the "dizzying corporate network" of her husband's business dealings. Nonetheless, the picture that emerges from the documents is that of an angry and feisty former wife who had herself been a knowledgeable stockholder, beneficiary, and player inside the Rich empire. It's hardly the cheery picture of songwriter Denise—the pizza-loving girl next door who'd rather hang out with Natalie Cole and write pop songs.

In the years after he married Denise in the early 1960s, Marc Rich enjoyed a meteoric rise in the commodities industry. By the 1990s, Marc Rich & Co. Holding AG, based in Zug, Switzerland, had become—as Denise would later say in an affidavit—a "global multifaceted company that, among other activities, trades in such commodities as aluminum, oil, grain, zinc, nickel and others too numerous to list."

In 1983, Rich and two of his key companies were indicted on 51 financial charges, including tax evasion. Rich fled the U.S. and lived for a time with Denise and kids in Switzerland before the marriage crumbled and the two parents tangled in a bitter divorce, the details of which have been sealed.

Ten years after Marc's first trouble with the law, Denise emerged in a civil action filed in New York Supreme Court, bitterly accusing her former husband of manipulating and defrauding her in certain stock transactions. She sought $120 million in damages, claiming the family trusts were depleted by Rich and his associates.

But in doing so, she left a trail of clues about her involvement in her ex's enterprises. In an affidavit dated February 1993, Denise Rich states, "Until 1990, I was a shareholder of MRCH," adding parenthetically, "and I still maintain an interest in the company."

The same court documents include a draft letter prepared by Denise's then attorneys stating that in 1990 she owned 13.91 percent of Marc Rich & Co. Holding AG, shares she apparently sold for $165 million. Additionally, the suit contains documents from advisers that suggest certain of her common holdings may have been changed into shares of preferred stock, whose value rose and fell with the fortunes of the Rich firms.

Moreover, there's a discussion in the suit of how the Rich officials wanted to keep Denise as a part owner of one of the empire's U.S. subsidiaries, to achieve a lower tax rate. Of course, all this was going on at a time when Rich himself was a fugitive from justice in the U.S. In the court papers, Denise charges Marc was trying to defraud the U.S. government, adding that members of Congress would be interested to know what was going on.

Denise eventually lost the suit. Reached Friday, Richard Golub, her attorney at the time, refused comment, saying, "Sorry. Not interested." Her current attorney, Martin Pollner, termed the charges flying around Denise Rich "false rumors and false statements" and declined any comment on other matters.

Justice Department Hangs Tough on Abortion
John Ashcroft, Good Guy

In the face of a prison escape by a man who has threatened to kill abortion doctors, the National Abortion Federation has put clinics around the nation on alert. The nonprofit reports that despite everyone's worst fears, Attorney General John Ashcroft's Justice Department is working with clinics and law enforcement to carry out a statute that provides federal protection to clinics and the people going in and out of them.

This is no idle business. In late February, Justice quickly informed the clinics and Washington abortion groups that 44-year-old Clayton Lee Waagner, who had stalked abortion clinics and the people who worked in them after God told him to kill them, had fled an Illinois prison. While Waagner never killed anyone, he had a long record and was awaiting sentencing on firearms and theft convictions. He was caught on an Illinois interstate in a stolen Winnebago, and told authorities he was on his way to Seattle, where he hoped to shoot some abortion doctors.

Waagner, in a jailhouse interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last year, told how he had been inspired by the Nuremberg List, an Internet site that lists names of abortion doctors and the towns where they work. He reportedly was updating the list. The anti-abortion forces greeted his escape as an act of God. Said the Army of God's Reverend Donald Spitz: "I do believe God opened the door for Clayton to escape DeWitt County jail to finish what He gave Clayton to do."

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