A federal judge said Wednesday that President Clinton could testify in a Whitewater-related case by videotape because traveling to Little Rock would be too much of a burden. But he won't get the luxury of getting questions submitted in advance.

U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. denied motions by defense lawyers for James and Susan McDougal to compel Clinton to testify in person at their conspiracy and fraud trial.The judge will preside over the questioning by video conferencing and rule on objections as they arise. He will edit the videotape if lawyers cannot agree on what is pertinent for jurors to hear.

Rejecting Clinton's request to get the questions in advance, Howard said lawyers can ask the president whatever they like about al-legations raised during the trial. He said the only reason a president might deserve such special treatment would be if national security was involved.

"They concern matters from prior to his presidency, so matters of national security will not be concerned," Howard said. Clinton had argued that the process would go more easily if he got the questions in advance.

McDougal, his ex-wife Susan and Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker are accused of arranging nearly $3 million in fraudulent loans from the McDougals' Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan and David Hale's Capital Management Services Inc.

Hale is the government's chief witness and claims Clinton pressured him to lend Susan McDougal $300,000. Clinton has called the accusation "a bunch of bull." The McDougals say only Clinton can set the story straight.

Howard said ordering Clinton to travel to Arkansas "would be unduly burdensome to the president in the performance of his official duties."