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Hearing Delayed in McDougal Theft Case

May 23, 1997

A Santa Monica Superior Court judge on Thursday postponed a retrial hearing for Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, who is accused of embezzling more than $150,000 from former Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Zubin Mehta and his wife, Nancy.

McDougal was charged in 1993 with grand theft and forgery for allegedly making unauthorized credit card purchases and forging checks when she worked as a bookkeeper for the couple. She has pleaded not guilty.

Judge Paul G. Flynn postponed a hearing on the case until July 23. But McDougal's attorney, Mark Geragos, has filed a motion for dismissal of the case, saying Nancy Mehta and others will testify that McDougal was just one of several people with access to the couple's assets.

Nancy Mehta could not be reached for comment Thursday. Prosectors did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

McDougal has been held since September on federal contempt-of-court charges for her refusal to testify before the federal grand jury investigating Whitewater.

Flynn had ordered that McDougal be released from a "high-profile" cell of the Sybil Brand Institute for Women and transferred to federal detention. Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department officials have refused to transfer McDougal without a federal order.

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