|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
|October 6, 1998||
Mehtas' fortunes go on a rollercoaster ride
Arthur J Pais in New York
It has not been a good week for renowned conductor Zubin Mehta and his wife, Nancy. While Mehta had been winning acclaim in China for backing an opera presentation in Beijing, his wife Nancy was sweating out in a court in the trendy and affluent Santa Monica.
The case has already brought the Mehtas a lot of bad publicity, with the lawyers for accused Susan McDougal asserting in the court that Nancy Mehta encouraged her former secretary and book-keeper to spend the money so that Zubin Mehta's child born out of wedlock get the money.
And this week, as McDougal's lawyers sought to defend her on embezzlement charges, Nancy Mehta acknowledged she did not closely watch her finances and let others, including McDougal on one occasion, sign for purchases.
"I am not attentive to MasterCard or Visa or any of the cards I had," Nancy Mehta said under cross-examination
She had testified earlier that she never authorised any of the contested $150,000 in cheques and credit card charges.
McDougal, former business associate of President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary and a close friend of the First Couple, is charged with embezzling the money to pay expenses for herself and her family, including dental and chiropractic bills. If found guilty, McDougal, who allegedly had serious health problems, could not only face a fine but several years in a prison.
Defence attorney Mark Geragos, who has mounted a very spirited and emotional defence even arguing that Nancy Mehta had become emotionally attached to Susan McDougal, confronted the former with numerous receipts for thousands of dollars in credit card purchases on her accounts. According to news reports and court documents, most bore her signature and the initials of the person that actually signed, which included her houseman, Ronald Gettings, and her cousin, Lorraine Kovach.
Geragos also showed Mehta a copy of the $ 977 cheque that paid for the mattress and asked if the signature on it was Mehta's.
"No,'' she said. "It's a forgery by Susan.''
McDougal, 43, spent 18 months behind bars rather than testify before the federal grand jury investigating President Clinton's involvement in the Whitewater land deal. The current trial is not related to Whitewater. She was released recently from the prison because of her recurring back pain and a slew of health problems.
Her estranged husband Jim McDougal died recently in jail where he was serving a sentence for financial skulduggery. He had suggested earlier to friends and newspapers that Susan McDougal was standing by Bill Clinton because she had an affair with him. Susan McDougal has flatly rejected the charge.
SHOPPING HOME | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS
PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK