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Is Lewinsky a Legal 'Target?'

Lewinsky and Ginsburg
Lewinsky and Ginsburg   

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 28) -- Conflicting accounts have surfaced over a matter of enormous legal significance in the investigation involving Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern.

Lewinsky's lawyer, Bill Ginsburg, said independent counsel Ken Starr formally has notified Lewinsky that she is a target of his grand jury investigation. Ginsburg said "the target letter" was received five weeks ago.

But a source familiar with the deliberations told CNN that Ginsburg -- a malpractice lawyer, not a criminal attorney -- may be using the term "target" loosely - and that no target letter was sent to Lewinsky.

The conflicting accounts surfaced Friday. This dispute is critical, because of the legal significance of the term.

A former Justice Department official told CNN: "The purpose of a target letter is to put someone on notice that the grand jury may indeed indict them."

The federal grand jury is looking into reports that President Bill Clinton had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky and encouraged her to lie about it under oath. Clinton has denied both accusations.

In other news Saturday, lawyers close to the case told CNN that Washington lobbyist and Clinton confidant Vernon Jordan has been called to appear Tuesday before the grand jury.

Ginsberg: letter listed crimes

Ginsburg
Ginsburg   

Ginsburg said the letter listed four possible crimes: perjury, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and conspiracy.

But the Justice official said target letters are rarely specific, as Ginsburg is claiming.

"The description of matters of investigation in a target letter are only of the most general significance," the official said. "They don't circumscribe what the prosecutor could charge that individual with."

This isn't the first time Ginsburg's account of the case has been called into question. He said Starr's office entered into a signed immunity agreement with Lewinsky, but sources close to the independent counsel say that's not true.

Contacted Friday night, Ginsburg said he is the one telling the truth in this controversy, and that not only has Monica Lewinsky received a target letter, but he has been told orally by the independent counsel's office that she is a target of the investigation.

Lewinsky defense fund established

Meanwhile, Lewinsky's parents selected the Los Angeles accounting firm Tanner, Mainstain and Hoffer to establish and administer a legal defense fund for her legal expenses related to Starr's investigation.

Sources told CNN the family moved quickly to establish a legitimate fund, after a New York woman announced plans to establish a legal defense fund for Lewinsky.

The official fund is incorporated as the "Monica Lewinsky Defense Trust Fund."

Correspondent John King contributed to this report.

In Other News

Saturday Feb. 28, 1998

White House Denies New Strategy On Lewinsky
Is Lewinsky A Legal 'Target?'
Clinton, GOP Bemoan Low U.S. Test Scores
Clintons Take A Winter Break





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