Starr Subpoenas Clinton To Appear Before Grand Jury
But talks continue on deal to sidestep court appearance
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 25) -- Independent Counsel Ken
Starr has issued a subpoena demanding that President Bill
Clinton testify before grand jurors investigating the Monica
However, while two sources close to the president confirm to
CNN that the subpoena has been issued, it remains unclear
whether it has been formally served on Clinton.
And sources familiar with the White House legal strategy tell
CNN that the president's lawyers are still trying to broker a
deal under which Clinton would answer questions about his
relationship with Lewinsky under oath -- but not in person
before the grand jury.
After turning down at least four requests by Starr for
Clinton's testimony, the White House reversed course on
Friday and announced that the president's attorneys were
negotiating with Starr over the terms under which Clinton
would answer questions.
A sitting president has never before been forced to appear
before a grand jury to answer questions in conjunction with
an investigation in which he is a possible target.
While some legal experts and Clinton supporters maintain that
Starr cannot legally subpoena the president, refusing to
testify would spark a court fight -- and possibly a
full-fledged constitutional crisis.
Under federal rules, if Clinton testified via a sworn
deposition or on videotape, his attorneys could be present
and breaks could be called during testimony so that he could
confer with them. But if he appears before a grand jury, his
lawyers would not be allowed into the room with him.
However, Starr, by coming to an agreement with Clinton that
stops short of grand jury testimony, could avoid a lengthy
court fight that would further delay his probe.
Starr and the grand jury are investigating allegations that
Clinton had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky, that they
lied about it under oath and that there may have been
attempts to get others to lie about their relationship as
part of a cover-up.
Both Clinton and Lewinksy have denied, under oath, that they
had sex with each other, and Clinton has denied that he asked
anyone to lie.
CNN's John King and Wolf Blitzer contributed to this report.