Clinton's three lies, according to Starr
By Brooks Jackson/CNN
(Editor's Note: This story contains explicit language.)
WASHINGTON (September 21) -- Independent Counsel Ken Starr says President Bill Clinton's videotaped testimony contains three lies -- three instances of perjury to the federal grand jury.
Lie number one, according to Starr: Oral sex is not sex.
"Is oral sex performed on you within that definition as you understood it?" Clinton was asked during his August 17 testimony, viewed by the public for the first time Monday.
"As I understood it, it was not, no," the president answered.
Lawyers in the Paula Jones sexual harrassment case defined "sexual relations" as engaging in or causing "contact with the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh or buttocks of any person..."
But the president said,"If the deponent is the person who has oral sex performed on him, then the contact is with -- not with anything on that list -- but with the lips of another person."
Starr didn't buy that explanation.
"That testimony is not credible. At the Jones deposition, the president could not have believed he was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," the independent counsel wrote to Congress.
The president's lawyers said in rebuttal that oral sex "plainly" falls outside the Jones definition.
Lie number two, alleged by Starr
Lie number two, according to Starr: It was a one-way relationship.
The president seemed to deny kissing Lewinsky's breasts or touching her breast or groin.
"So you didn't do any of those three things with Monica Lewinsky?" Clinton was asked.
"You are free to infer that my testimony is that I did not have sexual relations, as I understood this term to be defined," Clinton answered.
"Including, touching her breast, kissing her breast, or touching her genitalia?" prosecutors asked again.
"That's correct," Clinton said.
But Lewinsky testified that the president touched her sexually nine times.
"Out of all of the times you had intimate contact, were there times when the president would touch you either on the breasts or in the genital area directly to the skin or was it always though clothing?" prosecutors asked Lewinsky during her sworn grand jury testimony.
"Directly to the skin. Both," Lewinsky answered.
Starr believes the president lied again.
"On all nine of those occasions, the president fondled and kissed her bare breasts. He touched her genitals ... bringing her to orgasm on two occasions," Starr wrote.
The independent counsel claims Lewinsky's version is backed up by testimony from friends and family members who say she told them about the encounters at the time and by a letter Lewinsky drafted to the president referring to sexual touching.
"Either Monica Lewinsky lied to the grand jury, or President Clinton lied ... under any rational view of the evidence, the president lied," Starr concluded.
The president's lawyers question whether evidence backs up Lewinsky, and say no one can be convicted of perjury just because their testimony conflicts with that of one other witness.
Lie number three
Lie number three, Starr says, is implicit, not explicit: The question of when the affair began.
"When I was alone with Ms. Lewinsky on certain occasions in early 1996 and once in early 1997, I engaged in conduct that was wrong," Clinton admitted in a prepared statement he read during his grand jury testimony.
But Lewinsky testified she first administered oral sex November 15, 1995 and again, two days later. Both encounters happened during the government shutdown, according to Lewinsky.
She said the president tugged at her intern credentials saying that could be "a problem." She said only by their third encounter, on the last day of 1995, was she a full member of the White House staff.
Starr claims the president lied about the dates to cover up the fact that the affair began when Lewinsky was a 22-year-old intern.
Clinton's lawyers call that allegation "frivolous" and said the discrepancy in dates is "an utterly immaterial statement."
Overall Clinton's legal team says there is no evidence that the president knowingly gave false testimony; the questions were ambiguous, and even misleading answers can't be perjury if literally true.
When Clinton testified, he knew Lewinsky was talking to Starr's prosecutors, and he knew his DNA could match a stain on her dress.
Faced with those facts, the president could have invoked the Fifth Amendment, refusing to incriminate himself before the grand jury.
Instead, according to Starr, he continued to lie.
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