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Dances With Felons

Why is NewsMax relying on convicted criminals to dish dirt on Hillary Clinton?

By Terry Krepel
Posted 4/27/2005

Boy, NewsMax sure does love hangin' with convicted criminals and other unsavory types. It's a behavior that dates back to NewsMax's founding in the late 1990s, when trashing the Clintons was a priority no matter how unsavory the record of those making the accusations.

NewsMax CEO has praised David Hale as "truly an American hero" for testifying against the Clintons in the Whitewater non-scandal despite the fact that he was convicted for insurance fraud -- in 1999, he admitted to "a long history of lying about his business operations" -- and his own Whitewater-related conviction for his role in a fraudulent government-backed small business loan. NewsMax has also championed the groping allegations made against former President Clinton by Kathleen Willey despite her history of lying and her attempts to sell her story.

Its fave felons these days are Peter Paul and Aaron Tonken, who are both, unsurprisingly, accusing a Clinton of nefarious behavior -- in his case, alleged improprieties in connection with a 2000 fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton that both Tonken and Paul had a hand in organizing. Clinton's former chief fund-raiser, David Rosen, has been accused of underreporting the proceeds from the fund-raiser to federal election officials.

As ConWebWatch has previously detailed, both Tonken and Paul are convicted criminals. Tonken swindled celebrities out of millions out of millions of dollars, and is currently serving a 63-month prison sentence, a status that somehow didn't keep WorldNetDaily from paying him to write a book. Paul -- who had fled to Brazil to avoid charges, forcing U.S. officials to spend two years extraditing him -- masterminded a $25 million stock manipulation scheme involving a company founded by Spider-Man creator Stan Lee. Strangely (or perhaps not so strangely), NewsMax has never shared these details with its readers. Paul, who pleaded guilty in March to the charges, faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million.

Paul popped up again at NewsMax on April 24 for an "exclusive interview," alleging that Clinton is "an unindicted co-conspirator" in the Rosen case. NewsMax called Paul a "former Hollywood mogul," but there is no mention of Paul's criminal past -- which also includes a prison sentence for possessing cocaine -- or his imminent trip to the pokey.

And on April 22, NewsMax also served up another addition to this rogue's gallery, a confidential witness who allegedly taped Rosen and who is -- surprise -- another convicted felon! this time, it's Raymond Reggie (his sister's married to Ted Kennedy), who recently entered a guilty plea to two bank fraud-related counts. NewsMax did note Reggie's "bank fraud plea bargain" in this story; it also mentions Paul and Tonken but fails to mention their rap sheets.

A New York Sun article notes another bit of trouble Reggie is in: "Reggie also faces a separate, unrelated state trial in Louisiana next month for allegedly impersonating a police officer. The felony charge stems from a 2002 incident in which Reggie allegedly used a blue light to stop another vehicle."

Yes, these are the folks -- Reggie, Paul and Tonken -- who NewsMax has entrusted with accusing Hillary Clinton of improper behavior.

A New York Times article on Reggie makes this interesting note about Rosen and Paul:

In the tapes, Mr. Reggie apparently manages to steer the conversation with Mr. Rosen in the direction of a discussion about the production costs of the 2000 fund-raising event, according to one person involved in the case.

Mr. Rosen, in turn, apparently told Mr. Reggie of his frustration at having had to deal with Mr. Paul and described Mr. Paul as an unreliable character, according to people involved in the case.

That's something you're even less likely to read about at NewsMax than details of Paul's criminal record -- at least, if NewsMax wants to squeeze in any more "exclusive interviews" from Paul before he gets whisked off to the slammer.

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