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Celebrity Deathwatch: Charles F.C. Ruff, President Clinton's Scandal Counsel, 61


Lawyer who defended Clinton dies at age 61

November 20, 2000
Web posted at: 5:02 p.m. EST (2202 GMT)

>From CNN White House Producer Timothy McCaughan

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Charles F.C. Ruff, the lawyer who was President Bill
Clinton's chief defender during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and subsequent
impeachment, has died at age 61.

Ruff was found by his wife, Sue, outside the shower area of their home
Sunday evening and pronounced dead at DC General Hospital at 1:15 a.m.
Monday, said police Sgt. Joe Gentile. He said an autopsy was planned to
determine the cause of death.

"It appears to be from natural causes," said Patrick Marshall, watch
commander at the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department's
Second District headquarters. "There is no indication of foul play."

Clinton visited with Sue Ruff for 35 minutes on Monday. Several White House
officials -- including John Podesta, the administration's chief of staff --
joined Clinton.

Known as one of Washington's most powerful and expensive lawyers, Ruff had
used a wheelchair since the 1960s when he contracted a tropical disease
while teaching in Africa.

In a written statement released aboard Air Force One returning to Washington
from Vietnam, Clinton mourned the death of his former counsel. He also spoke
to his wife, Sue, by telephone.

"Hillary and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Charles F. C.
Ruff, who served as my White House counsel from 1997 to 1999," the president
said. "All of us at the White House admired Chuck for the power of his
advocacy, the wisdom of his judgment and the strength of his leadership."

"We loved him for his generous spirit and his keen wit, which he used to
find humor in even the most challenging circumstances," Clinton said.

Ruff was a special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force
from 1975 to 1977, was an associate deputy attorney general and then acting
deputy attorney general for the next two years and served as U.S. attorney
in the District of Columbia from 1979 to 1982.

Ruff represented Anita Hill in her sexual harassment accusations against
Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. He also represented Sens. Charles
Robb and John Glenn when they were embroiled in scandals and former White
House aide Ira Magaziner.

He also had served as a deputy inspector general for the Department of
Health, Education and Welfare in the 1970s and corporate counsel for the
District of Columbia from 1995 to 1997.

In addition to his wife, Ruff was survived by his daughters Carin and
Christy and his mother, Margaret.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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