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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

What M-Day was like inside the courthouse

Transcript reveals more about Monica's testimony

(Editor's Note: This story contains explicit language.)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, September 21) -- When Monica Lewinsky made her first grand jury appearance August 6, hundreds of reporters gathered outside the federal courthouse.

All they saw that sticky summer day were brief glimpses of Lewinsky as she arrived and left, followed by scattered leaks that night about what the former White House intern had told the grand jury about her relationship with President Bill Clinton.

Monica Lewinsky is shown arriving
at the courthouse on the day of
her grand jury testimony

But with the release Monday of a transcript of Lewinsky's testimony, part of the massive document dump by the House, a fuller picture is emerging of what M-Day at the courthouse was like where it counted -- inside the grand jury room.

Much of the substance of Lewinsky's testimony came out in Independent Counsel Ken Starr's report to Congress earlier this month, but not all.

The testimony ranged far and wide, from Lewinsky's first encounter with Clinton to how to describe that infamous blue dress.

Here's an exchange between Lewinsky and prosecutor Karin Immergut:

Q. "Now directing your attention back to February 28th, 1997, the day that you wore the blue cocktail dress -- "

Lewinsky: "It's not a cocktail dress."

Q. "Okay, I'm sorry."

Lewinsky: "No, that's okay. I'm a little defensive about this subject. I'm sorry."

Q. "How would you describe the dress?"

Lewinsky: "It's a dress from the Gap. It's a work dress. It's a casual dress."

Sometimes, it's also clear how embarrassed Lewinsky was with the sort of graphic testimony she delivered.

A prosecutor asked Lewinsky to describe what she did with Clinton to lead her to believe there could be semen on the dress.

"We were in the bathroom and -- can I close my eyes so I don't have to -- " Lewinsky says.

"Well, you have to speak up," the prosecutor says.

Lewinsky described her first encounter with Clinton on August 9, 1995 -- a meeting on a rope line at the White House -- and "more intense eye contact than I had experienced before with him."

Clinton's charisma was a factor, she said. "There was an intense connection," she testified.

From there, the relationship moved on to "intense flirting" and then their first sexual encounter on November 15, 1995, Lewinsky testified.

Much of the questioning was explicit, designed to get at the question of whether there was sexual relations between the two even under a narrow definition of sex approved by the judge in the Paula Jones case. Here is one exchange:

"Was there ever a time when your genitals actually touched each other?" a prosecutor asked Lewinsky.

"Grazed each other, yes," Lewinsky replied.

The testimony did shed light on one question in the popular culture: why would Lewinsky keep a stained dress?

Lewinsky told grand jurors she is "not a very organized person. I don't clean my clothes until I'm going to wear them again."

A prosecutor asked her if she noticed something on the dress.

Says Lewinsky: "Yes. And at that point I noticed it and I kind of though, oh, this is dirty, it needs to get cleaned. And then I remembered that I had worn it the last time I saw the president, and I believe it was at that point that I thought to myself, oh no ..."

Investigating the President


Monday, September 21, 1998

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