Panel denies Travel Office legal fees

May 6, 2005 at 11:07 AM

WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- A judges' panel in Washington Friday rejected the repayment claimed by a staffer who helped write a memo on the White House Travel Office firings.

Presidential assistant David Watkins fired seven office members in 1993 after discovering money was missing from its budget. Then-first lady Hillary Clinton told investigators she had little involvement in the firings, and Watkins agreed.

Drafts of a memo by Watson appeared to contradict those claims, and an independent counsel investigation was begun.

Matthew Moore was a junior staff member who helped draft the memo and was caught up in the investigation. The independent counsel eventually determined neither Watkins nor the first lady could be prosecuted, and Moore also was cleared.

As allowed under the law, Moore asked a special three-judge panel for $74,477.04, expenses he said were incurred in his defense.

But the panel reduced his request to $7,517.75, then denied his petition, saying he had not shown he would not have incurred the expenses "but for" the independent counsel law.

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