Lindsey Testifies Before Grand Jury
Lawyer for Lewinsky's mother seeks delay in her testimony
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 18) -- One of President Bill Clinton's closest advisers, Bruce Lindsey, spent Wednesday in front of the Whitewater grand jury as the panel continued its sex-and-perjury investigation of the president.
Lindsey's testimony was interrupted briefly for a private meeting with the chief judge. It's not known exactly what was discussed, but judges are asked to decide disputes that arise about testimony, including matters of privilege.
The grand jury is looking into reports that Clinton had a sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and then encouraged her to lie about it under oath. Clinton has denied both accusations.
The White House has been concerned that Lindsey, deputy White House counsel, might be asked about confidential conversations with the president and had already planned for a possible executive privilege claim.
Clinton himself would have to invoke the privilege, and a court would then decide whether it's valid.
The private hearing ended after about 45 minutes and Lindsey spoke briefly with reporters as he left the courthouse. He would not disclose the reason for the hearing and suggested that he would continue his testimony.
CNN has learned that Lindsey will continue before the
grand jury Thursday and, if he finishes, would be followed by the
re-appearance by John Podesta, another top White House aide.
Independent Counsel Ken Starr also called White House personnel aide Charles Duncan before the grand jury Wednesday. Duncan formerly served as the White House personnel liaison to the Pentagon and arranged Lewsinky's transfer to a Pentagon public affairs job.
A source close to Duncan said he was aware of the details of Lewinsky's transfer but otherwise "had a pretty boring story to tell." This source said Duncan had no knowledge of any relationship between the president and Lewinsky.
Investigators believe Lindsey may be one of the chief architects of efforts to contain damage to the president from the Lewinsky situation.
That has been his role as Clinton's longtime confidant and troubleshooter since their days in Little Rock. Lindsey and Clinton have been close ever since 1968 when they worked for Arkansas Sen. William Fulbright.
At issue are possible contacts between Lindsey and Lewinsky and whether Lindsey helped line up a job for the former intern.
Lindsey was also expected to be questioned about whether he was involved with drafting the infamous "talking points" memo. Those are the notes Linda Tripp contends that Lewinsky, a onetime friend, gave her to influence Tripp's testimony in the Paula Jones lawsuit.
Clinton's friend and counsel has long tried to stay out of the spotlight. But he is natural target for Starr because of his unique access to the president; he is often the first staffer Clinton sees in the morning and the last at night.
In 1982, when Clinton lost the governor's race, Lindsey took him into his law firm. Friends say the two men understand each other because of what they have been through. Lindsey has suffered for that friendship, and was labeled an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Whitewater investigation.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for Lewinsky's mother, Marcia Lewis, sought a delay for his client's grand jury testimony from U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson, the court's chief judge.
Lewis was questioned by the grand jury last week and is still under subpoena. She emerged from the courthouse distraught after the second day of testimony and has not returned.
In a statement to reporters, Martin said Lewis "was emotionally overwhelmed and distraught" after her earlier testimony. "Her physical and emotional condition has not changed from that date and she has been excused from appearing here today," he said.
"She remains under subpoena but she will not be here today. At the conclusion of her testimony, she will give a full statement. She's asked me not to make any further statements nor to field any questions," he continued.
In other developments, a New York literary agent said Wednesday that Tripp
went to Starr because she feared her secret tape recordings of conversations with Lewinsky might be illegal.
Lucianne Goldberg said Tripp went to Starr seeking
immunity from prosecution because of that fear.
Goldberg also said Tripp claimed she went to Starr because Lewinsky was
urging her to lie in the Paula Jones civil case against Clinton.
Goldberg was advising Tripp about a possible book deal at the time.
Tripp has turned over hours of taped
conversations between her and Lewinsky about the ex-intern's alleged relationship with the president.
CNN's Bob Franken, Eileen O'Connor and John King contributed to this report.