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Cisneros Indicted

Former Housing secretary charged with 18 counts of lying, obstruction


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 11) -- Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros was indicted by a federal grand jury this afternoon on charges he lied and obstructed justice, according to the independent counsel in the case, David Barrett.

In 1992, the FBI looked into whether Cisneros made payments to a former mistress, Linda Jones. The indictment alleges that Cisneros paid Jones more than $250,000 between 1990 and 1993, but told investigators the amount was much less.

Cisneros is charged with 18 counts of obstructing or attempting to obstruct justice, making false statements and concealing information from the FBI.

Cisneros' attorney Cono Namorato released a statement tonight, saying that his client had been informed of the indictment. Pointing out that the allegations stem from events that took place before his tenure as HUD secretary, Namorato said, "Mr. Cisneros served four years with distinction as Secretary of Housing and Urban development.

"While Mr. Cisneros has admitted that he has made mistakes in his personal life, he has attempted for many years to put these mistakes behind him ... While Mr. Cisneros and his family do not relish the prospect of further public airing of private events beginning a decade ago, he will defend himself vigorously and expects complete exoneration after a trial," the statement concluded.

"Henry Cisneros has a distinguished career of truly dedicated public service," said President Bill Clinton in statement issued in Florida. "As Mayor of San Antonio, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and as a wise counselor to me, he always has the interest of ordinary people at heart. I have greatly valued his service. This is a matter before the courts, so it is not appropriate for me to comment further."

Cisneros, who resigned from the Clinton Administration in November 1996, now heads up the Los-Angeles-based Spanish-language Univision television network.

The offenses allegedly occurred in 1992 and 1993, while the FBI was conducting its background investigation of Cisneros after President Bill Clinton nominated him as secretary of housing and urban development.

The full indictment included 21 counts. Also indicted was Jones and two former employees of Cisneros, John Rosales and Sylvia Arce-Garcia.

Barrett said his investigation was continuing.

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