UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Press Conference

THE HONORABLE JANET RENO, ATTORNEY GENERAL

Thursday, August 27, 1998

9:30 a.m.

P R O C E E D I N G S

(9:30 a.m.)

VOICES: Good morning.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: Good morning.

QUESTION: I know you can't talk about the Gore pre-lim, but can you talk about the independent counsel process in general? The law allows you to seek independent counsels for Republicans as well as Democrats. There have been story after story about Democrats. There have been story after story about Republicans. You've chosen to appoint independent counsels only to investigate Democrats.

What's fair or what's independent about this process?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I'm not sure that I understand your question. The issue goes to --

QUESTION: Well, do you believe that you can only appoint independent -- or seek the appointment of independent counsels to investigate Democrats rather than Republicans?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: Well, if you go down the list of people who are covered persons, most of those people in the present administration would be Democrats.

QUESTION: But they also include members of Congress, which are the highest ranking members of the legislative branch.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: Well, are you saying -- I'm not quite sure what you're --

QUESTION: I'm just asking a question. I'm not trying to put a spin on it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: Well, what is your question?

QUESTION: I'm trying to say, do you believe --

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: You are trying to spin.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: I am trying to say, do you believe you've applied the Independent Counsel Act fairly and impartially between the two parties?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not apply things based on parties. I apply things based on the evidence and the law. And I have never considered parties.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno -- (off microphone) -- stated that it is the Department's position to -- (off microphone) -- violations would not be pursued after an aggravating factor, such as coercion, demonstration of specific intent to -- (off microphone) -- the law, a conscious disregard of the law by one who has been put on notice of its requirements, a substantial number of violations, or substantial misuse of government resources. Is that still your position?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: The position -- I would -- if you're reading from something that I've done before that relates to anything now or you suggest that it does, I simply cannot comment.

QUESTION: Well, I'm just asking if that -- if you have changed your position as far as the interpretation of that law.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: What you just read is my interpretation of the law.

QUESTION: Have you learned anything since you wrote that, that would indicate that there are now aggravating factors, you must consider the case of the Vice President?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I can't comment.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, have you -- I believe it's now three weeks that you have had to review the LaBella report. Are you ready to come forward now and tell us what your impression of Mr. LaBella's report was, or are you still waiting to contact members of Congress or --

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: No, I advised the Chairmen and the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committees, and I offered the same to Mr. Burton, to brief them.

QUESTION: That will be done privately, is that correct?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: That's correct.

QUESTION: Senator Hatch said last night that he's planning to meet with you next Tuesday, and he expects Charles LaBella to be there. Is that your understanding of -- what's going to happen next Tuesday?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: We'll see.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: Who's going to be there? Who are you going to talk to?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not know.

QUESTION: Who are you going to bring?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not know at this point.

QUESTION: But you are going to meet with him next Tuesday?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not know who will be there. We are trying to arrange to meet, as I indicated, with the Chairmen and the Ranking Members of the Judiciary Committees. And we will see who's there.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, you said "committees." Is it House and Senate Judiciary Committees? I just want to get that clear. Both committees?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: That's what we're trying to work out, at Senator Hatch's suggestion.

QUESTION: Have you yet reached a determination as to what you will with respect to Mr. LaBella's recommendations?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I can't comment.

QUESTION: So you will be briefing these members exactly on what? Because they want to hear your decision about the LaBella report. What will it be that you will be telling them?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I can't discuss it, because I am trying to brief them in confidence, so that we can conduct the investigation in the appropriate manner.

QUESTION: Turning now to other matters. Will Mr. Kowalski's investigation be limited just to the Wilson and Jowers allegations, or will they also pursue any new evidence that points to James Earl Ray or others who may have assisted him?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: If any new evidence is developed, we will pursue it.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, does the U.S. Government intending to prosecute -- (off microphone) -- prosecute -- (off microphone) -- Fidel Castro -- represent a departure in U.S. policy? And if so, when did the policy change?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not know of any change in policy. But I was not part of the decisionmaking process. So you should check with the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, who made that decision.

QUESTION: (Off microphone) --

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: It would be up to him and what he thought he could do in connection with the investigation, if he could comment, since it is a pending matter.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, does there appear to be a jihad, a holy war, against the United States, especially by Mr. Bin Laden, or any other terrorist groups? Do you see a trend in the bombing in Cape Town? And, secondly, I'd like to ask, is there a necessity for increasing security around our government buildings, especially those that are vulnerable to, say, a car- or truck-bomb attack?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: First of all, with respect to any of the bombings, I would not comment, since they are pending matters. I know of no information concerning South Africa at this point that would be relevant to the other matters. But we continue to pursue it.

QUESTION: Do you see a need to increase security, and especially in this town?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: The security has been increased.

QUESTION: Has been. Will it be further increased?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: That would depend on the circumstances.

QUESTION: Are you saying there is no evidence to connect the Cape Town bombing to the other Africa bombings?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: At this point, I've been advised that there is none. But we will continue to review it.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, the investigation into the Vice President that -- the report says it's a 90-day investigation that began a month ago. Is that true? Would that end then in 60 days, or is it 90 days from today, or could you just elaborate on that a little bit, please?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I cannot comment.

QUESTION: Can you comment or will you be in a position to comment more fully later today?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not know.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, there is much anticipation that Independent Counsel Starr will make a report to Congress. At the same time, is he making a report to you, or is he regularly reporting to you on the progress of his investigation?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: No. As I have indicated on a number of occasions, I have tried to make sure that he was independent.

QUESTION: But you do have regular meetings and you do talk with him on occasion?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I have not had regular meetings with him. I have met with him on occasion.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno -- (off microphone) -- hold on the OPR investigation?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: No.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, can you respond to allegations made by some Republicans that you're doing everything in your power to make sure a thorough investigation of -- (off microphone) -- takes place after the November elections?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: As I indicated, I do not do things based on elections; I do things based on the evidence and the law. And I'm going to continue to do that.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, can you comment on the Microsoft case? Are government lawyers plan to introduce a broad array of evidence at the antitrust trial?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: No, as you know, I try not to comment on matters that are pending in court.

QUESTION: It's very interesting, I am new to the Washington scene, so forgive my naivete, if that's what it seems. But it seems like there are a lot of --

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: You're probably less naive than others.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: It seems to me that every Thursday morning there are lots of reports from sources at the Justice Department, it seems like, that brings us out to cover the news conference, then you say "no comment." It sort of seems like a circle, like a waste of time.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: It frustrates me, too, because I do firmly believe, and I think your colleagues around the table who have been here for the full five years-plus, would suggest to you that I'm very consistent. And I truly believe that we should not comment on pending investigations except for matters that are consistent with the Prosecutors Standards of Conduct and the Department's regulations. And I'm going to continue --

QUESTION: What about -- (off microphone) -- you know, I'm a member of the media, and I want to get the news, but plugging the leaks, all these sources, what would happen then?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I try my very best. In a department -- a big department, and other agencies and other people involved, it is one of the most difficult tasks that I face. And it is one of the tasks that continues to frustrate me.

QUESTION: Although you won't comment on pending matters, and we all know that all too well, you are planning to comment on a pending matter at 1 o'clock this afternoon, with the FBI Director, Louis Freeh. At least the FBI has announced that you're going to be participating in a news conference on the embassy bombings. Is that correct? And can you give us any indication of what that's about?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not know the exact time, and I would refer you to the FBI for the precise time. With respect to comment, as I have suggested to your colleague, I comment based on the Standards of Conduct applied to attorneys, particularly to prosecutors, and based on Department of Justice guidelines.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, with all due respect, Director Freeh and Mr. LaBella reached a decision as to whether an independent counsel should be appointed weeks ago. Why is it taking you so long?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: One of the things that is important is that you don't take a report and say, rubber stamp. You take a report and you look at it. You consider the issues in the law. You discuss with everybody involved all the issues. You learn new things. You pursue new things. And we don't do it in a knee-jerk reaction.

If somebody said, for example, that you had violated the law and you had not, or you had not done what they said you would do, you would not want me to take a report and say, the report must be true, charge you, or ask for an independent counsel. And I think it is very, very important, when we consider the processes of the criminal justice system, the Independent Counsel Act, that we make these decisions in an informed, careful manner. And I hope that you never have to face the issue of being charged with a crime while being innocent. But if you do, just remember, processes are very, very important.

QUESTION: It seems to me that the statute of limitations might limit any Federal prosecutions then if you do come up with evidence in the King death. But could you not turn over that evidence to a local district attorney's office, and could they not pursue it? I do not believe there's any statute of limitations on murder in Tennessee.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: We will consider all of those issues in the process.

QUESTION: So you would turn over such evidence to make it available to --

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: We will consider all those matters in the process.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, the terrorist, Abu Nidal, is rumored to have been arrested in Egypt right now. (Off microphone) -- discuss this question in any way?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: We have not had that confirmed.

QUESTION: Do you have any information at all that you could share, and do you believe it's true?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I have not been able to confirm it.

QUESTION: Confirm whether he's in Egypt or confirm whether he's in custody?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: Confirm whether he's in custody.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, is Abu Nidal wanted for anything in the United States? And I take it the United States would be very happy to see him go to other countries where he is being charged.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: We have no outstanding warrants or paper on him.

QUESTION: Have you been able to confirm that he is in Egypt?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: No.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, are discussions underway with the Kenyan Government about the venue or any charges against Sadik Odey, if there are eventually charges lodged against him?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I can't comment.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, with regard to the inability to confirm Abu Nidal, does that suggest that there is something lacking in the way of coordination between the Justice Department and other branches of the government?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: No.

QUESTION: How can it be that there are reports coming from what many papers are describing as reliable sources in the government that indeed he is in Egypt and he's in custody, and yet the Justice Department wouldn't know it?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: No.

QUESTION: No?

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, regarding Pan Am 103 and the possible breakthrough with the Libyans on a trial -- on a trial in Holland, I want to ask, does the Justice Department, and specifically the FBI, expect to have access to these defendants in order to completely interrogate them with regard to their alleged role in the Pan Am bombing? Will, in other words, Qaddafi and his intelligence section be part of the query of these gentlemen? And will they be held, in fact, so that they can be interrogated?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I won't comment on the matter. It will be handled by Scottish authorities, and they should make all comments that are appropriate concerning the handling of this.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, there have been numerous reports that you and other people in the Justice Department were unhappy about the resolution of the matter; that you initially did not want to give up the possibility of trying these men in the United States in U.S. court; is that accurate?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: As I indicated previously, we have always said that we would be -- it would be not just the United States, but Scottish courts that we would -- since it happened over Scotland and since this is an international criminal matter, it's really for the State Department and the National Security Council to comment.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, would perjury during the course of the initial review be grounds for triggering an independent counsel even if there was no underlying violation?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: What case are you talking about?

QUESTION: Theoretically.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not discuss theory.

(Laughter.)

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: And let me explain why. You've heard me on the subject before. But if someone asked a what-if question. And then I answer that what-if question. Down the road, it's what if, plus x and y. And somebody says, but you already answered it that way. A slight variation can make a difference in determining whether we can prove the case or not.

And so it is important, not just in the criminal justice system, when we consider whether people have violated the law, to ensure that there is proper, deliberate process, as I discussed with your colleague here, but it is also very important that you make a decision based on specific facts.

QUESTION: (Off microphone) -- but I wasn't asking what if, I was asking for a legal opinion.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: And I try to give legal opinions based on specific facts, to the extent that I possibly can.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, when Vice President Gore spoke to investigators, did he do so on the phone?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I cannot comment.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno -- (off microphone) -- an outstanding warrant against Abu Nidal -- are there any outstanding warrants against -- (off microphone) --

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I cannot comment.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno -- (off microphone) -- investigation, the former Secretary is being investigated specifically on a charge of lying to FBI agents. So in the general universe of things, lying to an FBI agent has been considered grounds for kicking in a request for an independent counsel.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not hear a question mark on the end.

QUESTION: Is that correct?

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: I'm trying to phrase it in a way that is --

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: You are trying to be wonderful cross-examiners this morning. And you're showing your usual high standards of cross-examination. But obviously I cannot comment.

QUESTION: Why can you comment that there are no outstanding warrants on Abu Nidal but you cannot comment on Osama bin Laden's?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I can't comment.

QUESTION: A wild question.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: You think you'll get me with a wild question?

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: Well, let me put this on the record.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I think, again, when we talk about this -- and since your colleague is new to this -- the balance between the criminal justice system and the conduct of an investigation in a professional way and the conduct of a prosecution in a way that protects the rights of all concerned, balanced with freedom of the press, is one of the most important balancing steps we take. It's a difficult step, and one that I particularly appreciate.

Because, as you know, you, by your vigorous questions, have often opened up new avenues of action for me. You've caused me to review what we do. And I appreciate it. But I hope you appreciate my responsibilities as well. I'm sure you don't some of the time.

QUESTION: Perhaps it's not so wild. Is there any notion, perhaps, or a motion, with regard to Abu Nidal, head of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, as being complicitous in some way with Mr. bin Laden or in actions against our embassies in Africa?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I cannot comment.

QUESTION: May I follow up on Beverley's question?

Are you willing to say that you wholeheartedly support the decision to try the two Libyan suspects in Scotland? Tell us what your opinion is about that -- about them being tried outside of the United States?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I think my previous statements with respect to the trial in Scotland are what my position has been. With respect to this whole matter, though, the State Department and the National Security Council, that's been involved in international crimes, are really the departments that should speak on the issue. We've been given an opportunity to fully, completely be heard.

QUESTION: And what did you say when you were being heard?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I think in those deliberations they should be part of the government deliberations.

QUESTION: Do you feel you've come under any White House pressure -- other than the fact that Mr. Clinton did -- (off microphone) -- to see you -- under any White House pressure to take the action you took?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: Absolutely none. I was impressed with the way it was handled and impressed with the fact that I was told to do what I thought was right.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, it appears -- (off microphone) -- being prepared will be chaired by Henry Hyde. I know you have a high regard for Mr. Hyde, but what do you think of the idea of him handling such a sensitive issue?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I just think very highly of Mr. Hyde.

QUESTION: Well, what do you think about the idea of him conducting impeachment hearings?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not do what-ifs.

QUESTION: Huh?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I do not do what-ifs.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, prominent Democrats have not exactly rallied to the President's side in the current controversy. I'd like to ask you the same question that I asked you last week. As a member of the administration, as a member of the Cabinet, do you still believe the President -- or do you still support the President as the leader of the administration and your boss?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I'll tell you the same thing I told you last week, that I have a great confidence in his ability to address the many complicated issues that face this country, and his ability and his care and his dedication to trying to solve them.

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, have you had any contact with President Clinton since he's been in Martha's Vineyard?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: No, I haven't.

QUESTION: Are the pending matters going to interfere with the upcoming plans for the big school safety conference in October?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: One of the things that impresses me about the President is his ability to focus on so many different issues. I have seen him consider terrorism and what we should do about it, while at the same time addressing the problem of youth violence and school violence, while at the same time considering the world's financial situation.

He is one of the smartest people I've ever seen. He cares deeply about these issues and about their impact on the American people. He focuses on all of the information that is provided. He assimilates it. And he makes the best judgment on these hard issues that affect the American people.

And his judgment is based on, how can we best support a nation that gives to all people equal opportunity, gives to all people an opportunity to learn, gives to children the opportunity to grow in a strong and positive way?

QUESTION: Ms. Reno, is the President a religious man, or have you talked with him at all about his ethical or religious beliefs? Or is that something you feel you can talk about?

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: I've never talked with the President about his religious beliefs except in the context of some pending -- not presently pending, but then-pending issues, such as the issue that I cite of a decision by the Department -- whether to appeal a decision or what steps to take. His response to me was, I was believe deeply and I think it's very important that we come down on the side of religious freedom in this particular case. From all reports, he is very devout.

I would like to conclude now. I want to take a moment to talk about a settlement that involves the Americans with Disabilities Act. And John Wodatch, my expert on disability rights, is with us now.

For the past eight years, the Americans with Disabilities Act has been removing barriers for millions of Americans with disabilities. As a result, more and more people who use wheelchairs can go to the movies, shop with friends, and eat out with family.

I do not know whether you looked around Washington, if you've been here, or wherever you come from, to see how much greater access people with disabilities have to so many opportunities that were foreclosed to them prior to the Act. Today, another barrier is falling. Since the ADA took effect, the 1,700 corporately owned or leased Wendy's restaurants have been accessible in so many ways to so many Americans. But today they will become even more accessible.

Under an agreement signed today, Wendy's will remove or widen the lines that customers wait in when ordering a meal. This change will make a difference. Before today, customers in wheelchairs had to cut in line or wait for an employee to notice them. And that only added to the stereotype that people with disabilities need special treatment.

Today's agreement is the first nationwide settlement with a fast-food restaurant chain under the ADA. And it affects more establishments than any of our other ADA agreements. It stems from a joint investigation by the Justice Department and nine State Attorneys General, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

In addition to widening the lines, Wendy's will notify its franchisees about the law, and pay a total of $12,000 to five customers who brought this situation to our attention.

I hope that banks, retail stores, other businesses, and fast-food chains will look at their own customer lines and follow Wendy's' lead. I hope that everybody will look at their store, their office where they work, and say, what can we do to open it up and make it accessible to more Americans?

I'm joined by John Wodatch, who is the head of the Disabilities Rights Section, who can answer any questions you may have.

John.

QUESTION: John, can you spell your last name?

MR. WODATCH: That's a question I can answer: W-o-d-a-t-c-h.

QUESTION: Will this mean you'll be looking at other restaurant chains as well? A lot of these chains have these kind of waiting lines, these zig-zag things.

MR. WODATCH: The customer queues, we are hopeful that this agreement and knowledge of this agreement will cause some restaurant chains, banks, some amusement parks that use these kind of customer queues, will look at the customer queues they have and make the appropriate changes. We always respond to complaints. We have complaints about other types of entities that have similar situations.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: Let me point out, too, if a store wants business, it doesn't let its customers turn away. And too often we've seen situations where someone in a wheelchair got frustrated and just left. Everybody should want to do this, from just common respect for each other. But there is also a business interest in it. And I really hope that people will look at this, not just with respect to waiting lines, but with respect to the width of doors, whether there is a ramp up that will permit somebody to get into the store in an easy fashion.

There are just so many small steps that can be taken to open up America for so many people to have access to something that most of us take for granted.

QUESTION: John, it's been years since I've been to Disney World, but I seem to remember the same type of -- not necessarily the same type of railings, but the same type of back-and-forth queue lines. Have you looked at Disney World and Disneyland?

MR. WODATCH: We are familiar with the queues at Disney World and other similar areas. There is a difference between an indoor facility often and the queues you find in an outdoor setting such as Disney World, where space is not as much of an issue.

QUESTION: So someone in a wheelchair does have access to the rides that are disability approved?

MR. WODATCH: We have not done an investigation of Disney World, in terms of access to its rides.

QUESTION: Is that something that you plan or -- (off microphone) --

MR. WODATCH: We have had -- a year ago we had an investigation dealing with Disney World, in terms of the provision of sign language interpreters and effective communication to Disney World and Disneyland. We do not plan any further investigation at this time.

QUESTION: When did you first open the investigation into Wendy's, and how long did it take to negotiate this agreement?

MR. WODATCH: We received complaints in 1994 and 1995 from individuals across the country. We notified Wendy's International in 1994, and began a series of negotiations with them. They expressed an interest to cooperate with the investigation.

The negotiation appeared to go on longer than we had hoped it would, and at that time were involved with the National Association of Attorneys General, an organization of State Attorneys General, and we had been, under the direction of the Attorney General, trying to open up a Federal-State cooperative relationship under the ADA. And this seemed like a good vehicle for that.

Several of the States themselves had received complaints, and we joined together at that point and began a group investigation and negotiation.

QUESTION: So it took you longer, working -- it sounds like working with the States made it take longer.

MR. WODATCH: Working with the States added an issue of not just dealing with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but in each of these States there are State laws that mirrors the Americans with Disabilities Act. And so the action that we were doing brought about compliance not only with Federal law but with State law.

QUESTION: (Off microphone) -- Federal-State bureaucracy -- (off microphone) -- Wendy's?

MR. WODATCH: No, I think actually the Federal-State relationship here was -- I would view this as a model of working together, in terms of bringing about compliance for a national corporation that is able now to bring about changes throughout all of its jurisdictions and know that it will be in compliance with Federal and State law.

QUESTION: Any idea how much this is going to cost Wendy's to make the changes?

MR. WODATCH: We don't have cost figures on that. You can discuss that with Wendy's. But our view of this -- we're talking about moving stanchions and widening either the aisles themselves or the turning points in the aisles. And it should not be a substantial cost.

QUESTION: It sounds as if Wendy's was very cooperative in the beginning on this. Are you saying that they were cooperative?

MR. WODATCH: Wendy's was quite cooperative. I should also point out that we, in addition with the States, did some investigations of newly constructed Wendy's, and found minor barrier violations. And I think that was an indication to us of the care that the corporation was giving to accessibility.

I think the view of the corporation, though, was that they didn't have to really make these queue lines wider, that they could just have the people in wheelchairs avoid them and go to the front of the line and cut in line. And much of the negotiation was dealing with the issue of ensuring that people with disabilities could be treated the same as other patrons and had access to the fast-food restaurant in an integrative manner.

QUESTION: Would you expect McDonalds, Burger King and some of the other fast-food chains to follow suit without a formal investigation or a formal complaint, or have you received complaints from customers at those establishments?

MR. WODATCH: We certainly hope that other establishments will. There was a private lawsuit against Burger King on the same issue that resulted in a settlement here in the District. And there is I believe ongoing litigation against Taco Bell. We certainly hope all fast-food restaurants -- they prefer to be called quick service restaurants, by the way -- quick service restaurants and other industries that use these mazes will take a look at this agreement and make the necessary changes.

QUESTION: And do you know how long these changes are going to take to be implemented?

MR. WODATCH: The settlement requires them to be done over an 18-month period. Within 90 days, we will receive a plan from Wendy's International. Under that plan, we will review the actual plan for any changes that are being made to ensure that they are being done correctly.

QUESTION: What about U.S. post offices -- (off microphone) --

MR. WODATCH: U.S. post offices aren't covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the provisions that apply here would apply in the same manner.

QUESTION: (Off microphone) -- cosmetic counters in a department store lately?

MR. WODATCH: No.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Off microphone) --

MR. WODATCH: No. But if you have complaints that you would like to file with the Department of Justice, we'd be happy to receive them.

QUESTION: (Off microphone) --

VOICE: John, can you state your title?

MR. WODATCH: Yes, I'm the Chief of the Disability Rights Section, which is a section in the Civil Rights Division that is responsible for ADA enforcement.

VOICE: Thank you.

MR. WODATCH: Thank you.

(Whereupon, at 10:06 a.m., the press conference concluded.)