Clinton faces catalogue of sex claims

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The Independent Online
PRESIDENT Bill Clinton is confronting the most serious accumulation of sexual allegations of his career, following the release late yesterday of a legal dossier containing highly salacious details about his conduct over many years.

The allegations, all made under oath but contested by Mr Clinton's lawyer, included a graphic account by a White House volunteer of an unwanted advance in a room off the Oval Office and threatened Mr Clinton - who fled to the seclusion of Camp David in mid-afternoon - with what one commentator dubbed a "nightmare weekend of hell".

The volunteer, Kathleen Willey, said that she had gone to the Oval Office in November 1993 to tell the President that she needed a paid job. She says Mr Clinton hugged her and said that the White House would try to help. "The hug just continued longer than I expected ... I felt it was more than just a platonic hug," she said.

Under questioning she said that he had tried to kiss her on the lips and put her hands on his genitals which, she said, were "aroused". She claimed the President told her he had "wanted to do that for a long time". Ms Willey, who was 51 at the time and married, said she was surprised by the overture.

Mr Clinton's version of the encounter, given under oath in January, was different. "I embraced her," he said. "I put my arms around her. I may even have kissed her on the forehead. There was nothing sexual about it."

Both accounts are contained in the dossier supplied by lawyers for Paula Jones, the woman who alleges that Mr Clinton propositioned her for oral sex in an Arkansas hotel room six years ago, when he was state governor and she was a government employee. The dossier, intended to convince a judge that Ms Jones's sexual harassment suit against Mr Clinton should proceed to trial, also contained excerpts from sworn testimony given by other women alleging sexual advances from Mr Clinton in the past. They include his school sweetheart, Dolly Kyle Browning, who claims to have had a sporadic affair with him over many years, and Gennifer Flowers, who says she had a 12- year affair with Mr Clinton.

The documents produced yesterday, large sections of which were released to the media, also include excerpts from Mr Clinton's own testimony in the case. While much of this evidence has been leaked to the press in recent weeks, this is the first time that the verbatim testimony has become available, and the cumulative effect could be highly damaging to Mr Clinton.

A further blow to the President is anticipated tomorrow, when Ms Willey is interviewed on the CBS network's flagship documentary programme, 60 Minutes. The interviewer, Don Hewitt, describes her account as "incredible, very believable and very persuasive and leaves little doubt about what happened".

In an early attempt to limit the damage, Mr Clinton's lawyer, Robert Bennett, gave a hurried television interview in which he contested the significance of the dossier from the Paula Jones team.

He described it as "a scurrilous paper" that had "very serious legal deficiencies" and "a vehicle to humiliate and embarrass the President and interfere with his presidency".

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