Printer Friendly

STARR'S CHARGES HINGE ON LIES; REPORT CITES TESTIMONY UNTRUTHS.

Byline: Raja Mishra Knight Ridder Newspapers

The central charge in Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's report is that President Clinton lied to the grand jury when he denied touching Monica Lewinsky in a sexual manner.

It is that denial that prompted Starr to include the torrent of lurid detail on Clinton and Lewinsky's sex life. Starr built his claim of a grand jury lie upon Clinton's similar denial in the Paula Jones case, where he testified that he did not have ``sexual relations'' with the former White House intern.

``Ms. Lewinsky testified credibly that the President touched and kissed her bare breasts on nine occasions, and that he stimulated her genitals on four occasions,'' reads the report.

The only direct evidence supporting these salacious details however is Lewinsky's testimony. If Clinton continues to deny them - contrary to his statements during the White House prayer meeting on Friday morning - then it becomes a he-said, she-said matter. The Starr report acknowledges this and sides with Lewinsky.

``On this issue, either Monica Lewinsky lied to the grand jury, or President Clinton lied to the grand jury. Under any rational view of the evidence, the President lied to the grand jury,'' reads the report.

White House lawyers argue that Clinton's answers were misleading but not false and therefore are not perjury according to the Supreme Court's definition. The questions Clinton was asked in both the Jones case and before the grand jury were so ambiguous that Clinton's answers cannot be characterized as perjury because he did not know exactly what his interrogators meant by their questions, argues the White House.

Lying before a federal grand jury is perhaps the most serious charge Starr has made against the president. Four of the 11 reasons Starr gives for impeaching Clinton involve perjury.

Clinton is accused of perjury in the grand jury case for:

Denying he had sexual relations with Lewinsky.

Denying he understood the legal definition of ``sexual relations'' during the Jones case.

Lying about when his relationship with Lewinsky began.

The crux of Starr's case comes down to a single exchange during Clinton's testimony before the grand jury on Aug. 17. He pointedly denied having sexual relations with Lewinsky and was then asked, ``Including touching her breast, kissing her breast, touching her genitalia?''

``That's correct,'' replied the president.

He is accused of perjury in the Jones case for:

Denying he had sexual relations with Lewinsky.

Denying remembering being alone with her.

Denying having discussed with her how they could hide the affair.

Denying knowing Lewinsky had been called to testify in the Paula Jones trial.

Denying he had talked to his friend Vernon Jordan about Lewinsky.

The report uses testimony from secretary Betty Currie, Secret Service agents, White House staffers and Lewinsky to refute Clinton's denials.

The Starr report includes testimony from 10 of Lewinsky's friends and colleagues in which they say Lewinsky told them about the affair and some of the sex acts. The acts include oral sex, hand-to-genital contact, genital-to- genital contact, kissing and fondling of body parts.

Several of the encounters described by Lewinsky bear a similarity to Paula Jones' description of the sexual advance she says Clinton made to her when he was Arkansas governor.

From the Starr Report:

``The President said that by receiving oral sex, he would not `engage in' or `cause' contact with the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of `any person' because `any person' really means `any other person.' The President further testified before the grand jury: `(I)f 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.' The President's linguistic parsing is unreasonable. Under the President's interpretation (which he says he followed at his deposition), in an oral sex encounter, one person is engaged in sexual relations, but the other person is not engaged in sexual relations. The ten incidents (of sexual encounters) are recounted here because they are necessary to assess whether the President lied under oath, both in his civil deposition, where he denied any sexual relationship at all, and in his grand jury testimony, where he acknowledged an `inappropriate intimate contact' but denied any sexual contact with Ms. Lewinsky's breasts or genitalia. When reading the following descriptions, the President's denials under oath should be kept in mind.''

The White House response:

``The OIC (Office of Independent Counsel) cannot make out even a colorable claim of perjury. If answers are truthful or literally truthful but misleading, there is no perjury as a matter of law, no matter how misleading the testimony is or is intended to be. . . . The (Starr report) seeks to punish the president for being unhelpful to those trying to destroy him politically. The president was asked whether he had `an extramarital sexual affair' with Ms. Lewinsky and responded that he did not. That term was undefined and ambiguous. The President understood the term `sexual affair' to involve a relationship involving sexual intercourse. He had no such relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. The president was not asked any specific questions at all about this physical contact with Ms. Lewinsky, and in particular he was not pointedly asked whether he had engaged in any of the conduct outside the definition provided. The president's testimony in response to these questions was accurate.''

CAPTION(S):

Box

BOX: GROUNDS TO IMPEACH?

Here are the 11 grounds for impeaching President Clinton as detailed in Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's report to Congress and the rebuttals of these charges from the White House.

SOURCE: Office of Independent Counsel, White House, Knight Ridder Washington Bureau; research by JUDY TREIBLE

Knight-Ridder Tribune Graphics
COPYRIGHT 1998 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 12, 1998
Words:944
Previous Article:DETAILS INCLUDE DNA RESULTS, `ENCOUNTERS'.
Next Article:ANALYSTS DIVIDED OVER ALLEGATIONS; SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP ESTABLISHED; OTHER CHARGES NOT AS CLEAR-CUT.


Related Articles
Evasive action: the parsings of Clinton's legal team don't add up.
LET GRAND JURY DO ITS JOB; PRESIDENT'S FATE MUST NOT BE DECIDED BY STARR'S MACHINATIONS.
LIARS' PACT? DID CLINTON, LEWINSKY AGREE ON STORY?
CLINTON PREPARES TO TESTIFY; PRESIDENT TO DENY PERJURY, AIDES SAY.
WHAT WILL CLINTON DO? PRESIDENT TO FACE MOST DANGEROUS HOUR.
ANALYSTS DIVIDED OVER ALLEGATIONS; SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP ESTABLISHED; OTHER CHARGES NOT AS CLEAR-CUT.
BEGINNING OF THE MEND; CLINTON GETS POSITIVE FEEDBACK.
SNIPE, SNIPE, SNIPE! BUT WHAT CHANGED? STARR HELPS RESTORE HIS CREDIBILITY.
HOUSE MAY LACK HEART TO IMPEACH.
4 ARTICLES CONDEMN ACTIONS, STRATEGIES.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters