Webster Lee “Webb” Hubbell (born 1948), is an author, lecturer, consultant, and former Arkansas lawyer who practiced law from 1974-1993 in Pulaski County before serving as Mayor of Little Rock from 1979 until 1982—one of Little Rock’s youngest mayors. He also served on Little Rock’s City Board from 1978 -1984. He was appointed by Bill Clinton as Chief Justice of the Arkansas State Supreme Court in 1984. When Clinton became President, Hubbell was appointed as Associate Attorney General, which is the third highest ranking individual in the Justice Department.
In December 1994, Hubbell pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with his billings at the Rose Law Firm, a firm with partners that once included Hillary Clinton and Vince Foster. Hubbell admitted he had overbilled some of his former clients and on June 28, 1995, Judge George Howard sentenced Hubbell to 21 months’ imprisonment.
After the 1992 election, Hubbell was one of the Clinton Administration transition’s senior officials responsible for vetting appointments to the Cabinet and other top positions, among others George Stephanopoulos, Henry Cisneros, and Jim Woolsey, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
After Clinton’s inauguration, Hubbell became White House liaison to the United States Department of Justice, arriving at Justice on January 20, 1993. During the period before a Attorney General was approved, Hubbell worked as the assistant to the Attorney General, but reported to Bush appointee Republican Acting Attorney General Stewart Gerson. Clinton floated Hubbell’s name for the Attorney General job on January 30, 1993, after Zoë Baird had withdrawn, but Clinton nominated Janet Reno. Hubbell was formally nominated on April 2, 1993, and was immediately attacked for his ties to the Clintons.
Hubbell’s former partners at the Rose Law Firm disclosed concerns about Hubbell’s bills. During the Whitewater controversy, Hubbell was indicted for alleged overbilling. Hubbell had previously resigned as associate attorney general on March 14, 1994 to avoid controversy regarding his work at Justice but continued to work in the District of Columbia.
During those few months after Hubbell’s resignation and before indictment, he received legal consulting contracts for 0,000 from various clients including 0,000 from the Indonesian Riady family and ,755 from Revlon on the recommendation of Clinton confidant Vernon Jordan. This became the focus of Starr’s next investigation. Independent Counsel Starr concluded that Hubbell “did little or no work for the money paid by his consulting clients,” but determined there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the money was intended to influence Hubbell’s cooperation with investigators in the Whitewater investigation. Hubbell and his clients disputed this assertion, providing evidence of the work they performed.
On April 30, 1998 and after Hubbell had served out his sentence for the alleged overbilling, he and his wife were indicted on 10 counts of conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud. Hubbell had earlier entered an immunity agreement with Independent Counsel agreeing to provide documents about his consulting agreements. Starr used this information to indict Hubbell a second time.
District Judge James Robertson threw out the charges against Hubbell and his wife on July 1, 1998, ruling that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr had overstepped his authority in bringing the Hubbell indictment. Judge Robertson also ruled that Starr had violated Hubbell’s Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination by building a case that relied on materials collected under an immunity agreement with Hubbell. Starr appealed to the Court of Appeals and Judge Robertson was affirmed. Starr then appealed to the United States Supreme Court. In an 8-1 decision (with Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist the lone dissenter), the Supreme Court also ruled in favor of Hubbell.
On November 14, 1998, Hubbell was indicted for a third time, this time for alleged fraud and allegedly giving false testimony to the House Banking Committee and federal banking regulators. On June 30, 1999, the day Starr was required to step down as Independent Counsel, Hubbell entered into a plea agreement resolving the indictments and bringing Starr’s pursuit of him to an end. Hubbell admitted that he had failed to pay over 0,000 in taxes, and he pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to disclose a potential conflict of interest that occurred ten years earlier. He was sentenced to one year’s probation in exchange for the prosecutor dropping all charges against his wife, his lawyer, and his accountant and an agreement by Starr not to bring further charges against Hubbell. Hubbell entered Federal Correctional Institution, Cumberland in August 1995, and was released from a half-way house in February 1997.