Lewinsky Lawyer Writes Angry 'Open Letter' To Starr
Judge issues formal ruling against Clinton's claim of executive privilege
WASHINGTON (May 27) -- Monica Lewinsky's attorney, Bill Ginsburg, has written an "open letter" attacking Independent Counsel Ken Starr that also seems to suggest President Bill Clinton may have had a consenting sexual relationship with the former White House intern.
In the June issue of "California Lawyer" magazine, Ginsburg writes, "Congratulations, Mr. Starr! As a result of your callous disregard for cherished constitutional rights, you may have succeeded in unmasking a sexual relationship between two consenting adults."
But in a subsequent phone interview with CNN, Ginsburg denied he was referring to his client or was confirming any specific sexual relationship.
"I cannot believe that Mr. Starr has spent over $40 million in taxpayer money to look into the president's personal life," Ginsburg told CNN. "That's all I meant. That's all my letter says. I am not saying anything about Monica."
In a sworn affidavit in the Paula Jones case, Lewinsky denied having a sexual relationship with the president. Clinton has also denied it, both publicly and under oath.
But lawyers familiar with the case say Lewinsky, in exchange for an immunity agreement, had been prepared to admit to having oral sex with the president. Those immunity negotiations have collapsed.
For the past few weeks, the usually media-friendly Ginsburg has been silent as the Lewinsky defense team has suffered legal setbacks and has hired an experienced public relations adviser.
But if Ginsburg had been muzzled, his open letter to Starr now suggests the muzzle is off.
In the letter, he calls on Clinton to fire Starr, whom he brands "an anti-constitutional monster" and a "dangerous creature."
"As for my own client in this episode, I have told her that we are being confronted by an anticonstitutional monster. He goes by the generic name of independent counsel. It's time to rid ourselves of this dangerous creature," Ginsburg wrote.
Ginsburg's article appears just as Lewinsky is scheduled Thursday morning to provide fingerprint and handwriting samples to FBI agents in Los Angeles, as ordered by Starr. Starr has dropped an earlier order for a voice sample.
Legal experts say Starr's actions suggest he is getting close to indicting the former intern.
A spokesman for Starr said he would have no comment on the Ginsburg letter, and there was no immediate comment from the White House either.
Meanwhile, in an order filed Tuesday and released Wednesday, a federal judge has formally ordered two White House aides to testify before Starr's grand jury investigating the Lewinsky matter, despite the president's claim of "executive privilege."
Judge Norma Holloway Johnson ruled Tuesday the White House aides must testify about their discussions with the president and first lady Hillary Clinton about Lewinsky, calling it "some of the most relevant and important evidence" in the investigation.
The two aides are White House Deputy Counsel Bruce Lindsey and communications adviser Sidney Blumenthal.
Johnson, however, rejected the request by Starr to compel a third person associated with the Clinton White House to testify. That third person's name was redacted in the judge's order and supporting documents.
The judge concluded a president's conversations with aides about such a matter can be covered by executive privilege, but Starr had successfully argued that the information "cannot feasibly be obtained elsewhere."
"The court finds that it must treat the communications of Lindsey and Blumenthal as presumptively privileged," Johnson said in her 34-page decision, because the conversation likely involved "official decision-making."
But prosecutors have "provided a substantial factual showing to demonstrate its 'specific need' for the testimony," Johnson ruled.
"If there were instructions from the president to obstruct justice or efforts to suborn perjury, such actions likely took the form of conversations involving the president's closest advisers," she wrote.
"Additionally, if the president disclosed to a senior adviser that he committed perjury, or suborned perjury, such a disclosure not only was unlikely to be recorded on paper, but it also would constitute some of the most relevant and important evidence to the grand jury investigation," Johnson wrote.
White House Counsel Charles Ruff issued a statement saying that the opinion affirms "that conversations both with the President and among senior advisors, including the First Lady, are protected by executive privilege."
Still, Ruff acknowleged that Johnson found the Independent Counsel could not obtain the information sought in his questions in any other reasonable way and therefore was entitled to compel the officials to testify.
The order is subject to an appeal by the White House, which has filed a notice to the court that preserves that option.
CNN had reported the ruling earlier in the month but the court formally released edited documents supporting it on Wednesday.
Blumenthal immediately issued a statement saying he would testify. "If called before the grand jury, I will testify truthfully and completely to all questions posed to me by Ken Starr," he said.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer contributed to this report.