Government report finds Monica Lewinsky was mistreated in affair investigation

Monica Lewinsky is back, and with a cause
Monica Lewinsky is back, and with a cause

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Monica Lewinsky is back, and with a cause 03:24

Story highlights

  • A government report finds that Monica Lewinsky was mistreated during the 1998 affair investigation
  • Lewinsky, who had an affair with President Bill Clinton starting in 1995, was hounded by agents to cooperate in the investigation
  • In doing so, the agents did not allow Lewinsky to contact her lawyer and confronted her with a "false affidavit"
  • The release of the report comes at a time when Lewinsky is stepping back into public after a decade of attempted privacy
A government report obtained by CNN on Friday states that government agents and lawyers mistreated Monica Lewinsky when they approached the former White House intern in January 1998 to get her to cooperate with an investigation into President Bill Clinton.
The report, which was first reported by the Washington Post's Rosalind S. Helderman, notes that while "no lawyer involved in the confrontation with Monica Lewinsky committed professional misconduct," the encounter "could have been handled better by all of the OIC lawyers involved."
At the center of the government report is what happened after FBI agents and lawyers from the Office of Independent Counsel, who at the time was investigating the affair with Clinton, approached Lewinsky at a food court and moved the conversation to a hotel room nearby. The counsel -- which was led by Ken Starr -- was investigating Clinton for a number of issues, including his extramarital affair with Lewinsky.
"Associate Independent Counsel Michael Emmick confronted Lewinsky with her false affidavit and other criminal activities relations to the Jones case," the report states. "In an effort to gain her cooperation, Emmick told her she could be prosecuted on multiple criminal charges, but said if she cooperated, the OIC would take it into account in charging decisions."
Lewinsky poses for a photo with President Clinton in this image submitted as evidence by Kenneth Starr's investigation and released by the House Judicary committee in September 1998.
In doing so, however, the agents and lawyers denied Lewinsky attempts to speak with her lawyer, Frank Carter.
"Because they feared she would want to call Carter," the report -- which was posted online by the Post -- states, "OIC lawyers devised a deliberate strategy to discourage her from doing so." One way of doing that was telling Lewinsky that contacting the lawyer would "get less value for her cooperation."
To sum up the confrontation, the report -- which was ordered by Robert W. Ray, Starr's successor -- states: "On the slippery slope, Emmick did not stop."
The National Archives provided CNN with the report and Spokeswoman Laura Diachenko said the reason this report was able to be released - but other from the Starr investigation were not - was because the report was not clearly marked as sealed.
"If the Special Counsel report authored by Jo Ann Harris was considered sealed by the Special Division, it should have been clearly marked to indicate its status. It was not," Diachenko said in an emailed statement. "If the report was marked as under seal, it would not have been released."
The release of the 2000 report on Lewinsky comes at a time when the former White House intern has stepped back into the public eye after more than a decade of trying to be private.
Lewinsky delivered her first high-profile speech since the affair at Forbes' 30 Under 30 summit on Tuesday and earlier this year Vanity Fair announced that the former White House intern was a contributor to the magazine. Since then, Lewinsky has penned pieces on cyberbullying and her life after the Clinton affair.
At the Forbes appearance, Lewinsky spoke at length about her confrontation with agents and lawyers that was detailed in the government report.
"It was just like you see in the movies," Lewinsky said of the encounter. "Imagine, one minute I was waiting to meet a friend in the food court and the next I realized she had set me up, as two FBI agents flashed their badges at me."
She added: "Immediately following, in a nearby hotel room, I was threatened with up to 27 years in jail for denying the affair in an affidavit and other alleged crimes. Twenty-seven years. When you're only 24 yourself, that's a long time. Chillingly, told that my mother too might face prosecution if I didn't cooperate and wear a wire... My friends and my family were subpoenaed to testify against me."
The government report - titled the "Report of the Special Counsel Concerning Allegations of Professional Misconduct By the Office of Independent Counsel in Connection with the Encounter with Monica Lewinsky" - substantiates Lewinsky's story.
"For nearly twelve hours, the OIC lawyers were in a hotel room with this hysterical but very focused young woman," reads the report.
Lewinsky, however, never cooperated with the investigation. And while Clinton was impeached by the House, the Senate acquitted the president of the House charges in 1999.