Willey says 'forceful' Clinton had 'hands all over me'
May 4, 1999
Web posted at: 11:17 p.m. EDT (0317 GMT)
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (AllPolitics, May 4) -- Kathleen Willey told a federal
jury Tuesday that President Clinton "was very forceful and
he had his hands all over me," as she recounted details of
her disputed assertion that he made an unwanted sexual
advance in the White House.
The former White House volunteer testified for Independent
Counsel Ken Starr's prosecutors in their case against
Julie Hiatt Steele. Steele faces four felony counts for
giving false grand jury testimony and lying to Starr's
investigators after Steele changed her version of events
relating to Willey's claims that she was "groped" by the
Clinton has emphatically denied the claims under oath.
Willey quietly, and at times haltingly, described in graphic
detail her recollections of the alleged November 29, 1993, encounter near the Oval Office.
"He had me backed into a corner in a private study," Willey
said. "His hands were on my breasts, his hands were up my
dress. And he put my hand on his genitals."
The packed courtroom was silent, and the jury attentive but
without visible reaction as Willey continued.
"I told him I needed to get out of there. I was shocked at
his behavior. I couldn't believe what he was doing," Willey
Willey's testimony closely followed her claims made in an
interview with CBS's "60 Minutes," which aired March 15, 1998.
Under questioning from Starr's lead prosecutor, David Barger,
Willey said she attempted to resist Clinton's advance.
Willey also said she remembered seeing Linda Tripp as she left the White House.
In testimony most directly relevant to the charges against
Steele, Willey said she went to Steele's home that evening
and told her what had happened in the White House. Willey
described Steele as "a very good friend."
Willey testified: "I know I was there because Julie
reminded me that I was there and that I told her about what
happened with the president."
Steele initially backed Willey's account, but later said she
had lied at Willey's request. Steele said under oath, and
still insists, that she knew nothing of the alleged incident until 1997, when Willey called her to say a Newsweek reporter was heading to Steele's house and asked her to back Willey's
story that she had been "groped" by the president.
Willey described her desperation as she appealed to the
president for a paying job instead of a volunteer position
because of a "financial crisis."
Willey's husband, Ed Willey Jr., a prominent Democratic fund-
raiser in Richmond, Virginia, had just revealed to her two
days earlier that he had embezzled $250,000 from his firm.
What Willey did not know until she returned to Richmond
was that her husband had committed suicide while she was in
Washington seeking a job from Clinton.
Steele's lawyers are expected to hammer away at Willey's
account in cross-examination Wednesday.
Also on the witness stand Tuesday was a former colleague of
Willey's in the White House social secretary's office. Ruthie
Eisen testified that Willey had also told her of the alleged
sexual encounter on the night of the incident.
One of Clinton's lawyers in the Paula Jones case, Mitch
Ettinger, testified that he had asked Steele to sign an
affidavit disputing Willey's claims, but insisted that at no
time did he put any pressure on her to sign it, and that it
wasn't critical to the president's defense in the civil case.
A former Steele attorney testified Steele had voluntarily
decided weeks later to sign the document admitting she
initially lied and "now just wanted to tell the truth."