Kathleen: the name that may finish off Clinton

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The Independent Online
MOVE OVER Monica, Paula and Gennifer. President Bill Clinton's impeachment nightmares coalesce suddenly around the image of a woman named Willey, Kathleen Willey.

Court papers released in Arkansas on Friday reveal that Ms Willey, a former volunteer worker at the White House, has provided the most graphic and most potentially damaging evidence to date that Mr Clinton is a man incapable of restraining his sexual impulses. The evidence indicates that he abused his position to force himself sexually on Ms Willey, that he lied under oath about it and that, through a political associate, he sought to obstruct justice by trying to influence her to corroborate the lie.

Ms Willey, a widow in her early fifties, is expected to expand sensationally on the details of Mr Clinton's unwanted sexual advances in an interview to be broadcast tonight on the hugely popular CBS current affairs programme, Sixty Minutes.

Mountains of papers filed in court by lawyers for Paula Jones, who is herself bringing a sexual harassment suit against the President, included verbatim sworn testimony provided in a deposition by Ms Willey about an encounter she had with Mr Clinton in 1993.

She said she went to see Mr Clinton in the Oval Office to explore the possibility of obtaining a White House job. He invited her for coffee in a room adjoining the Oval Office. She was distraught because she and her husband, who unbeknownst to her at the time, had committed suicide that very day, were in deep financial trouble. He hugged her lingeringly, she said under questioning from Ms Jones's lawyers. He attempted to kiss her and, as she recalled, she resisted.

"He put my hands on his genitals," she said. "Was he aroused?" asked a lawyer for Ms Jones. "Yes," she replied. He fondled and groped her, then, Ms Willey said, he told her: "I wanted to do that for a long time".

Ms Willey also said that Nathan Landow, a Democratic Party fund-raiser, sought to persuade her to deny in her testimony to Ms Jones's lawyers that any such encounter with the President had taken place. The lawyers said that Mr Landow had clearly acted as an "intermediary" for Mr Clinton. They claimed that Ms Willey's testimony served to confirm a pattern of sexual indiscretions by the President and a "vast enterprise" to cover them up.

When Mr Clinton was himself interrogated by Ms Jones's lawyers in January he emphatically denied in his deposition that he had had any sexual encounter with Ms Willey.

The pattern here mirrors the allegations made by Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor investigating the President independently of the Paula Jones case, that Mr Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, persuaded her to lie about it and then lied about it himself - first under oath and then on television, repeatedly, to the American people.

The court papers released on Friday also confirm reports leaked earlier to the media that in his deposition the President had acknowledged having had an affair with the former Arkansas nightclub singer, Gennifer Flowers. In a Sixty Minutes interview during the 1992 election campaign he denied that such an affair had ever taken place.

Other names that surface in the court papers are those of Dolly Kyle Browning, who claimed she had an affair with Mr Clinton for more than 15 years, and Elizabeth Ward, a former Miss America, who allegedly confided to a friend that she had rejected Mr Clinton's sexual advances.

These allegations may be difficult to prove if or when Paula Jones's case goes to court, as scheduled, on 27 May. Robert Bennett, the president's lawyer, has dismissed them as "scurrilous" and "a pack of lies". Taken in conjunction with Ms Willey's extraordinarily vivid testimony, however, the court of public opinion may judge that they have the ring of truth about them.

On the record: what he said ... what she said

PRESIDENT Clinton and Kathleen Willey gave sworn depositions to Paula Jones's lawyers in January. The depositions were released last week.

Mr Clinton was asked: Did you at any time have any form of sexual relations with Kathleen Willey?

A: No, I didn't.

Q: ... Are you aware that she has testified that you kissed her in the hallway between the Oval Office and the private kitchen?

A: I am aware of that ... [and] I emphatically deny it. It did not happen.

Asked why she would tell such a story if it were not true, Mr Clinton replies, in part:

I don't know. She'd been through a lot ... when she came to see me she was clearly upset. I did to her what I have done to scores and scores of men and women who have worked for me or been my friends over the years. I embraced her, I put my arms around her, I may have even kissed her on the forehead. There was nothing sexual about it. I was trying to help her calm down and ... reassure her ...

Q: Do you recall at any time ... saying to her, "I wanted to do that for a long time"?

A: No, sir. Let me remind you, Kathleen Willey asked for this meeting with me. I didn't ask for the meeting with her. I didn't say anything like that.

Ms Willey's answers to questions on the same incident come reluctantly. After their meeting, she says, Mr Clinton hugged her "longer than I expected".

Q: Was there any kissing involved during that hug?

A: There was an attempt.

Q: And what was your response to that attempt?

A: Surprise.

[Later] Q: Did Mr. Clinton ever seek to take either of your hands and place it on his body anyplace?

A: Yes.

Q: Please describe that ...

A: He put his hands - he put my hands on his genitals.

[Later] Q: What was your reaction?

A: It was very unexpected.

[Later] Q: Did you resist?

A: Yes.

[Later] Q: Did you try to push him away?

A: Yes.

Q: Were you successful?

A: Yes.

[Later] Q: Could you tell whether he was aroused?

A: Yes.

Q: And was he?

A: Yes.

[Later] Q: Did Mr. Clinton attempt to touch your breasts?

A: I think so.

[Later] Q: Was he successful?

A: Yes.

[Later] Q: Did you ask him to stop?

A: I don't think I verbally did.

Q: Do you think you did non-verbally?

A: Yes.

Q: By what?

A: By resisting.

Q: At any time during ... this hugging incident ... did he say anything to you?

A: Yes.

Q: Please tell us what he said.

The Court: If you recall, now you've got to tell us, Ms Willey. We've got to move along.

A: I recall him saying that he had wanted to do that for a long time.

Q: Was he referring to the physical contact?

A: I don't know.