Lewinsky Has Spoken
Makes a complete statement to Starr; Clinton issues forceful denial of affair
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 26) -- Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky has made a complete statement to independent counsel Kenneth Starr in a bid to gain legal immunity, says her lawyer, William Ginsburg.
"We have made a complete proffer to the Office of the Independent Counsel," he told reporters Monday evening. "He has indicated that he will consider our complete proffer and he will then call us back and tell us what he wants to do."
"We are now in a position where the ball is totally in Judge Starr's court, and Judge Starr has to tell us what he wants to do," Ginsburg told a crushing throng of reporters.
A "proffer" is a statement of what Lewinsky would be willing to tell Starr under oath if she were granted immunity from prosecution.
Presumably, she would be granted immunity in exchange for backing away from her earlier sworn denial of a sexual relationship with the president.
The negotiations over the past several days between the Lewinsky and Starr camps were mainly over what any proffer would contain, and the scope of the immunity she would be granted.
Sources tell CNN there's no immunity deal yet, but say the two sides are making progress and are getting close.
CNN has learned that Lewinsky's scheduled appearance Tuesday morning before a federal grand jury has been put off for the time being.
Should Lewinsky receive immunity, it would represent a huge setback to the White House and Clinton's efforts to clear his name.
Tonight, Ginsburg told CNN: "As far as I am concerned, Starr has a one-witness case."
Ginsburg said Lewinsky is "getting stronger. She does not like being isolated, and we've kept her under wraps at the Watergate, as you all know. We intend to continue to keep her under wraps because it would be inappropriate to put her into further jeopardy by allowing her to talk to the press."
An "exhausted" Ginsburg refused to give any details about the proffer, but said, "We will follow any court order that is issued, and any subpoena that is issued we will adhere to."
All this follows an emphatic statement from President Bill Clinton Monday morning, in which he repeated his flat denial of charges he had an affair with Lewinsky and then advised her to lie about it to investigators.
"I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me ... I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," Clinton said during a White House after-school care event with his wife standing by his side. (448K wav sound)
"I never told anybody to lie, not a single time. Never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work," Clinton continued. The president offered no more detailed explanation and took no questions.
In the first public sighting of Lewinsky since the controversy broke, she was seen leaving the Watergate apartments Monday with attorney Ginsburg. They drove away in a black automobile.
Ginsburg says he is not seeking to delay Lewinsky's appearance before a Whitewater grand jury, scheduled for Tuesday. He says he has no information that anyone -- White House staffer, Secret Service agent or anyone else -- ever spotted the president and Lewinsky in a compromising situation.
Sources said Starr suggested during negotiations over whether Lewinsky would be given immunity from prosecution that she take a lie detector test. Starr's office recommended the lie detector test, the source said, to help assess Lewinsky's credibility.
Clinton joined Vice President Al Gore and first lady Hillary Clinton at today's after-school care event to assure the public that he is doing the country's business and has nothing to hide, his aides said.
White House Communications Director Ann Lewis indicated that the president still has no immediate plans to offer a detailed public account of his relationship with Lewinsky.
The president's personal attorney, Bob Bennett, on Monday asked Judge Susan Webber Wright in Little Rock, Ark., to move up the start of Paula Jones' lawsuit against Clinton.
In his motion, Bennett said that the president was being "tarred" in the media, that discovery proceedings which are supposed to be kept secret haven't been, and the president wants to go ahead so allegations can be answered in court.
Clinton's lawyers told Wright that the Supreme Court had erred when it said the Jones case would not be too much of a distraction from his job.
"The events of the last few days have shown that the higher court's confidence that this case could proceed without undue distraction to the nation's business was unfounded," the lawyers said.
"So too, was reliance on plaintiff's assurances that she would not seek to inquire into the defendant's conduct as president," they said.
Bennett accused Starr, as well as Jones' attorneys, of being out "to destroy the president."
Paula Jones' case, in which she accuses Clinton of making sexual advances to her while he was governor of Arkansas, had been scheduled to begin May 27. A representative for Jones said her side would oppose an acceleration of the trial schedule.
Clinton's attorneys assume they would be able to confront Lewinsky and former White House aide Linda Tripp, who recorded her conversations with Lewinsky about the former intern's relationship with the president.
Other developments Monday:
At a combative press briefing where he turned aside a spate of questions about the Lewinsky crisis, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said, "There are legal proceedings underway in two different venues and it's important for those to run their course." He said he could not predict when Clinton would speak to the nation in more detail about his relationship with Lewinsky but sources told CNN it would be weeks.
Starr plans to call Lewinsky and other potentially explosive witnesses before a grand jury on Tuesday, just hours before the president's State of the Union address to Congress.
An acquaintance says Lewinsky had an affair with an older married man while she was a college student. Meanwhile, forgery allegations from her college days also follow Lewinsky.
Lewinsky's father declined to say whether he has been subpoenaed by Starr. Dr. Bernard Lewinsky returned to his Southern California home on Sunday evening following an out of town trip. Lewinsky, a cancer specialist, plans to return to work Monday continue his medical practice, a family spokesman told CNN.
Defense Secretary William Cohen denied today saying "it's all over" for Clinton. The quote, attributed to Cohen, appears in Monday's New York Times. An aide says Cohen never made the statement.
Most Americans think President Bill Clinton has done something morally wrong, but not illegal, in the Lewinsky matter, and that he should remain in office, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.
Reports that Chelsea Clinton plans to be in Washington for her father's State of the Union speech Tuesday night are untrue, says a spokesperson for the first lady's office. She never planned to be there, and is not going to be there, they say.
CNN's Bob Franken and John King contributed to this report.