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Hearing Held On Testimony of Lewinsky's Mother

Bitter war of words growing between White House, Starr's office

By John King/CNN

WASHINGTON (Feb. 23) -- There was more legal wrangling in the Monica Lewinsky controversy Monday as her mother's lawyer, Billy Martin, was in federal court for a closed-door hearing about when she will resume her grand jury testimony.

Following the five-hour hearing, Martin told reporters that his client was "going through hell." "It is the same type of hell anybody in her situation would experience. It is a difficult time for her," he continued.

Also in this story:

Marcia Lewis appeared before the grand jury earlier this month. She ended her second day of testimony looking drained and distraught, and has not been back since.

While the timetable for Lewis' testimony is unclear, CNN has learned that two former co-workers of Lewinsky in the White House office of legislative affairs have been subpoenaed to testify before Independent Counsel Ken Starr's grand jury.

Sources say Tim Keating and Jocelyn Jolley could be called to testify as early as Tuesday, when the grand jury reconvenes.

Keating was a veteran Capitol Hill aide before working as a top deputy to former White House legislative affairs director John Hilley. Keating now works in the private sector in Washington.

Jolley was a Lewinsky comtemporary and one White House aide said he believed she shared an office with Lewinsky. She no longer works at the White House.

War of words between White House, Starr

Meanwhile, Clinton supporters are locked in an increasingly bitter war of words with Starr that has little to do with the particulars of the Lewinsky investigation.

starr

Sources tell CNN that Starr is "angry" at what he and deputies view as a carefully coordinated effort by supporters of President Bill Clinton to malign the prosecutors who are leading the Lewinsky investigation.

Starr is looking into reports that Clinton had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky, a former White House intern, and encouraged her to lie about it under oath. Clinton has denied both accusations.

These sources tell CNN that Starr is considering looking into what some deputies in his office consider a deliberate effort to stall the pace of his investigation by encouraging media outlets to raise questions about the past conduct of several top Starr deputies.

Supporters of the president have encouraged such media scrutiny in recent days, a move that is routine in investigations with enormous political overtones.

But a senior White House official says the White House is not aware of, and has not sanctioned, the hiring of private investigators to look into the pasts and private lives of Starr deputies, one allegation made by Starr allies. Said this official: "He can say he is angry all he wants. We're angry too. This appears to be deliberate dissemination of false information [referring to talk of private investigators] that borders on prosecutorial misconduct."

Sources close to Starr's investigation acknowledge some scrutiny comes with the territory, but say they are being told during media inquiries, and by other sources, that private investigators have been hired to look into the conduct of Starr's team.

One of these sources said if the effort was orchestrated or sanctioned by the White House, it could cross the line into obstruction of justice. This source could not cite any evidence the White House had knowledge of any improper or questionable activity along these lines.

White House officials said Sunday they had no knowledge of any such effort and said if one existed it did not have the blessing of the president or his personal or government legal team.

One person who could face scrutiny, sources say, is Hollywood producer Harry Thomasson, a longtime Clinton friend from Arkansas who is highly critical of Starr and his team.

In the past several days, sources loyal to Clinton have raised questions about the background of several top Starr deputies, and suggested these or others involved in the Starr effort were on the verge of resigning.

Most of the questionable conduct raised dates back a decade, and the prosecutors involved have worked since for the Justice Department before joining the Starr effort.

The attacks have angered Starr and his deputies who view them as an effort to distract Starr's team from their duties and distract the news media from the substance of the allegations against the president.

The bitterness have even reached outside Starr's inner circle.

lewinsky

Washington attorney Joseph DiGenova alleged Sunday that he and his wife were being investigated by people loyal to Clinton because of their outspokeness in the case. White House officials took the unusual step of going on the record and both denying and denouncing DiGenova's allegation, and accused him of refusing to answer questions about he and his wife's involvement in the case.

Said White House deputy spokesman Joseph Lockhart: "This is completely irresponsible and a discredit to his professional responsibility as an officer of the court. It is also a diversionary tactic to avoid the relevant questions as to the role of his law firm in this case."

DiGenova's wife and law partner, Victoria Toensing, have confirmed that they were approached in mid-December by an intermediary for Linda Tripp, the Pentagon worker who secretly recorded conversations in which Lewinsky alleges she had a sexual relationship with the president.

They did not take the case but were told then of the tapes and Lewinsky's allegations on them. Toensing tells CNN she did not inform Starr or anyone else about the tapes; Starr's office says it first became aware of Tripp's tapes on Jan. 12, nearly a month after she began looking for a criminal attorney to represent her because of concerns her taping Lewinsky may have been illegal.

The White House released a statement, saying: "Today on 'Meet the Press,' Joseph DiGenova, based solely on rumors he heard from reporters, accused the White house of hiring private investigators to dig up dirt on himself his spouse Victoria Toesing and others. If Mr. DiGenova or for that matter [host] Mr. [Tim] Russert had bothered to call anyone at the White House about these rumors -- instead of simply repeating them on national television he would have learned they are blatant lies.

"No one at the White House or anyone acting on behalf of the White House or any of President Clinton's private attorneys has hired or authorized any private investigator to look into the background of Mr. DiGenova, Ms. Toensing, investigators, prosecutors, or reporters.

Separately, sources tell CNN Starr's office has subpoenaed several additional White House officials. One close Clinton aide who had previously been subpoenaed, director of Oval Office operations Nancy Hernreich, has been informed she is likely to be called before the grand jury in the coming week.

In Other News

Monday February 23, 1998

Lawmakers Remain Distrustful Of Saddam Hussein
Hearing Held On Testimony of Lewinsky's Mother
Senate Debates Campaign Finance Reform Again
White House Wants To See Fine Print Of Iraq Deal

Poll:
Public Still Supports Clinton In Iraq Standoff





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