New Details Emerge About Sex Allegations Against Clinton
Lewinsky's Lawyer Complains About Starr Pressure
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 23) -- The crisis surrounding President Bill Clinton over his dealings with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky is escalating as the Whitewater prosecutor takes aim at the 24-year-old woman and new, graphic details emerge about the alleged sexual relationship.
Lewinsky's lawyer William Ginsburg said today that his client has been designated a "target" of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and has been told she could be "indicted and charged in one or more crimes."
And FBI agents assigned to Starr's investigation have searched Lewinsky's home, seizing her personal computer, gifts allegedly given her by Clinton and some of her clothing, according to a well-placed source.
As Ginsburg worked to get immunity for Lewinsky, a meeting this evening between Starr's office and the young woman's lawyers did not go well, according to sources. The talks are expected to pick up again over the weekend.
Meanwhile, according to a lawyer who has heard about 10 percent of audio tapes in the hands of Whitewater prosecutors, Lewinsky talks of at least
four other women at the White House the president may have been seeing, but adds her allegations are said in a "jealous tone."
The source declined to name the women, saying, "that would be irresponsible as this is likely fifth hand, something Monica Lewinsky heard."
On Jan. 16, FBI agents reportedly searched the Watergate apartment owned by Lewinsky's mother and left with the former White House intern's computer, a book of poetry, a piece of jewelry and some clothing.
Also taken were trinkets purchased at the Black Dog gift shop in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where Clinton vacationed last September. Lewinsky told the agents the items were gifts from the president, the source said.
The source said the agents had a subpoena, but Lewinsky voluntarily let them in to conduct the search and allowed the removal of the items.
A White House source said Clinton wants to find a public forum to offer a detailed response to the Lewinsky controversy, but Clinton will not schedule a news conference to offer his explanation.
The source said White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry's contentious briefings the past few days have convinced administration officials that a news conference was not the best course of action.
A senior administration official said it is "highly unlikely" that Clinton will give "anything" in the way of a statement, interview, or press conference regarding the Lewinsky allegations before the State of the Union next Tuesday.
Earlier, McCurry said Clinton wanted to publicly speak out "sooner rather than later" in extensive detail about the allegations, sometime before Tuesday's speech.
Clinton did meet this morning with his Cabinet and afterward, his appointees voiced their support. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, "I believe the allegations are completely untrue." Commerce Secretary William Daley added "I'll second that. Definitely." "Third it," said Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala.
Albright and the other Cabinet members said the president told them "to remain focused on our jobs."
In a live interview with CNN Friday, Ginsburg reiterated that his client is a target of Starr's probe and in legal jeopardy: "If their investigation pans out the way they say it's going, she will be indicted and charged with one or more crimes." Ginsburg declined to say what those crimes might be.
Ginsburg confirmed that he was asking Starr to make him an offer of immunity from prosection. "I have to see the full terms and conditions with any offer that is made. I would be delighted to continue my conversations" with Starr's staff, he said.
The two sides failed to reach any agreement during talks Friday night, but are expected to meet again over the weekend.
The California lawyer leveled harsh criticism against Starr and his staff in interviews with reporters.
"Repeatedly during discussions with the office of the prosecutor we have been squeezed," Ginsburg charged. "They've even made threats to involve her parents who, as far as I know, know nothing about the situation.
"Right off the bat we talk about stings and wires and traps. I'm not happy with that at all, especially when you're dealing with a 24-year old girl," Ginsburg said. "It's not nice."
"She is under incredible stress," said Ginsburg. "She is just 24. She is a victim drawn into the vortex of three of the most powerful men in the world: the president of the United States, lobbyist Vernon Jordan and independent counsel Kenneth Starr."
Starr defends treatment of Lewinsky
Starr defended his treatment of Lewinsky, saying statements by Ginsburg "that she was mistreated are wholly erroneous."
"Monica Lewinsky consented to meet with several FBI agents and attorneys from our Office on Friday, January 16 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Arlington, Virginia," Starr said in a statement released Friday evening.
During the meeting, Starr said, Lewinsky was "repeatedly informed that she was free to leave," and at one point Lewinsky took a five-hour break from the interview as she waited for her mother to arrive by train from New York.
Sources in Starr's office said the independent counsel is not interested in prosecuting Lewinsky but is attempting to build a case against the president and Jordan.
A source familiar with Starr's investigation refused to say whether
Lewinsky had been informed she was a "target," a term with major legal
But the source acknowledged that in an interview with Lewinsky, FBI agents assigned to Starr's office raised the possibility she could face perjury charges if she was found to have lied in a sworn statement.
The source acknowledged the tough tactics were designed to get Lewinsky's cooperation. "It's safe to say we have little interest in prosecuting Monica Lewinsky. But she is the key to this," the source said.
Clinton has repeatedly denied he had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky or encouraged her to lie about it.
In a sworn affidavit she gave attorneys for Paula Jones in her sexual harassment case against Clinton, Lewinsky also denied that their relationship was sexual.
"I have the utmost respect for the president who always behaved appropriately in my presence," Lewinsky said in the affidavit. "I have never had a sexual relationship with the president. He did not propose that we have a sexual relationship, he did not offer me employment or other benefits in exchange for sexual relationships. He did not deny me employment or other benefits for rejecting a sexual relationship."
"At this time, [Lewinsky] is standing on that affidavit," Ginsburg said.
Lewinsky had been scheduled to give a deposition in the Jones lawsuit Friday, but that deposition was put off "indefinitely" by federal Judge Susan Webber Wright after Ginsburg said Lewinsky would invoke her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself.
One of Jones' attorneys, Donovan Campbell, said today that Jones is "saddened" by the new allegations and feels "Monica is a victim just as Paula is a victim."
He said if the allegations are true, it will reinforce attempts by Jones to show a pattern of improper conduct in the past by the president.
Campbell said Jones' legal team has received no subpoenas from Starr's office and has not been in contact with Starr. Campbell also said he has not talked to Lewinsky.
Asked if he wanted Starr to grant immunity from criminal prosecution to Lewinsky, Campbell said, "We want her to tell the truth ... Whatever encourages Monica to tell the truth is what we want."
Starr has issued subpoenas for documents to U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson and the entire U.S. mission, according to Richardson's chief of staff, Rebecca Cooper.
Cooper said, "The subpoenas are for documents only at this point, for all details pertaining to Monica" Lewinsky. Cooper said Richardson and the staff "plan to comply fully."
Richardson's office offered Lewinsky a job as junior assistant doing public outreach and cabinet agency assignments. She would have worked for the ambassador's chief of staff in the New York office. Her job would have included working with grass-roots organizations across the country, like college model U.N.'s and associations and other groups with interest in the work of the United Nations.