By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Devereux says he sent Seper a copy of the grand jury testimony on which the article is based. "I gave [Seper] most of that stuff," Devereux says of the Washington Times story. Despite Weisz's testimony, which indicates that yet another investigation of the gambling allegations showed them to be illusory, Devereux keeps the faith--maintaining the evidence that will nail Babbitt is just around the corner, one more investigation away.
"I still think, and so does Jerry, that these allegations haven't been properly examined," he says. "Babbitt still has questions to answer."
@body:How much impact the Seper story may have had on Babbitt's sudden disappearance from the U.S. Supreme Court hopefuls' list is difficult to determine. There were certainly other factors at work. Nervous environmentalists lobbied to keep the eco-sensitive Babbitt at the Department of the Interior, influential Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch blasted the former governor as "too political" for the court, and there are indications Clinton himself was set all along on appointing either a Jew or a woman.
In Washington, stories critical of Democrats in the rabidly conservative Washington Times should be swallowed along with a large grain of salt. The paper is owned by radical evangelist and infamous mass-marrier Sun Myung Moon, and hardly seems an objective arbiter of political news.
That isn't common knowledge outside the beltway however, and although most major newspapers ignored the Seper piece, CNN made it its lead item in a story about the Supreme Court search. Gun-shy Clintonites could easily have decided that the last thing their beleaguered boss needed was a court nominee with a nationwide reputation for uncontrollable gambling and scotched Babbitt on that basis alone. At least one national columnist, Donald Kaul, hypothesized that this was the case.
"Bruce Babbitt was perhaps the most highly thought of person in the Clinton cabinet, until that fateful day when he became the odds-on favorite to be named to the Supreme Court.
"Washington insiders immediately began selling Babbitt futures. Within days, stories of Babbitt connections to the Arizona mob were floated and Clinton bailed out."
As the FBI agent who participated in the original investigation in 1977 put it, "These things take on a life of their own, don't they?"
Not exactly. Sometimes, these things get a little help.