Attorneys for the Keating Five senators hope to wrap up their cases before the Senate Ethics Committee this week at hearings that have run much longer than anticipated.
The committee was meeting Tuesday for what its members hoped would begin the last two days of public hearings, two months after the televised public inquiry began.Rep. Trent Lott, R-Miss., a committee member, complained last week that the hearings have run on far too long. Another member, Sen. David Pryor, D-Ark., said he was having trouble concentrating on testimony about minor details at a time when all concerns were focused on the potential for war in the Middle East.
Once the hearings end, the three Republicans and three Democrats on the ethics panel will begin deliberating whether the five senators acted improperly in aiding a campaign contributor, former savings and loan operator Charles H. Keating Jr., with federal regulators.
The panel also would have to decide whether to take action against any of the five. Lott said last week he would be "absolutely amazed" if the case against at least one of the five senators does not reach the Senate floor.
Final witnesses were being called on behalf of Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., one of the Keating Five. He planned to seek supporting testimony from Rep. Don Edwards, D-Calif., and former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso.