Clinton on hook again over sex-case ruling

PRESIDENT Clinton hedged questions about his relationship with the former White House trainee, Monica Lewinsky, yesterday, saying he had "repeatedly" answered questions on the subject and had nothing more to say. He was responding to a volley of reporters' questions at his first solo press conference since allegations about an affair first surfaced in January.

The press conference had been expected to concentrate on the flourishing US economy and expansion of Nato. Instead, it was dominated by enquiries about the Lewinsky affair. The direction of questioning had become inevitable after the disclosure hours before that Ms Lewinsky could be summoned to testify about the relationship before the grand jury or even indicted for perjury.

She and Mr Clinton have denied having a sexual relationship. But in hours of private conversations with a colleague recorded without her knowledge, Ms Lewinsky, 24, gave a detailed account of an affair. The contradiction between her sworn statement and the contents of the tapes lies at the root of a grand-jury investigation into charges that the denials were false and that Mr Clinton may have pressed her to lie about an affair or induced her to do so by promising to arrange a lucrative job in the private sector.

Two months ago Ms Lewinsky's lawyer believed he had obtained her immunity from prosecution in return for her offer to testify that she had had a sexual relationship with the President. In a ruling confirmed yesterday, however, a judge decided no immunity deal had been struck, fuelling speculation that she would soon have to testify to the grand jury and bringing the Lewinsky affair squarely back into the centre of US media attention.

While fending off all questions about Ms Lewinsky yesterday, Mr Clinton deplored the public money being spent by the independent prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, and expressed sympathy for members of his staff caught up in the inquiry.

"The independent counsel," he said, "not only has an unlimited budget and can go on for ever - 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years - and spend $40m [pounds 25m] today, $100m tomorrow ... More and more people get called in and they spend money they don't have for legal fees that they can't afford." He said that if he could try "to figure out a way" to help his staff with their legal bills once he left office, he would. "I feel terrible about it."

Mr Clinton refused to condemn the prosecutor directly, saying people "could draw their own conclusions" and specifically denied he had any plans to dismiss him. That, he said, would not be "appropriate".

Mr Starr is trying to establish whether Mr Clinton committed perjury by lying about an affair with Ms Lewinsky and then tried to suborn her to perjure herself as well.

While it is thought unlikely Congress would impeach Mr Clinton for lying about a sexual affair, the charge of suborning perjury could present a bigger risk. With no immunity deal in place, Ms Lewinsky now has the option of appealing against that decision, offering more evidence to Mr Starr in a new bid for immunity or claiming the Fifth Amendment - refusing to testify on the grounds that she could incriminate herself.

Any of these options, however, will leave the scandal in the public eye and could, so long as his denial of the affair is contested, complicate Mr Clinton's presidency.

The resurfacing of the affair was an unwelcome development for the White House, which believed that, with the dismissal of the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit last month,Mr Clinton had put the most potentially damaging sex scandal behind him.

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit