PRESIDENTIAL CRISIS: How agents cornered Monica

Lewinsky's Testimony
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The Independent Online
This is an edited version of Monica Lewinsky's testimony to the Grand Jury.

Q Ms Lewinsky, in your testimony when you were with us on the sixth, you mentioned some of the steps that you took to maintain secrecy regarding your relationship. ... Were these ways to maintain your secrecy your idea or were they recommended to you by anyone?

A Some of them were my idea. Some of them were things that I had discussed with the President. ...

Q OK. What about the times that you would visit him? Were those times selected in a way so that there weren't people around or that certain people weren't around?

A Yes. ... There were obviously people at the White House who didn't like me and wouldn't be understanding of why I was coming to see the President. ...

Q I think you've testified earlier that most of the sexual contact that you had with the president tended to occur in the hallway, rather than in the study, although sometimes it was in the study itself. Did that have anything to do with whether or not it would be easier to see you in the study as opposed to the hallway?

A I think so ... .

Q What about any discussions with the president about not acknowledging one another at parties or photographs, for example?

A ... I was paranoid anyway and - so I said: "I think it's a good idea if we just sort of ignore each other at the party and don't really say anything." And that's what we did.

Q Did you ever discuss with the president whether you should deny the relationship if you were asked about it?

A I think I always offered that.

Q In discussions with the president?

A In discussions - I told him I would always - I would always deny it, I would always protect him.

Q After you left the White House, it seems as if you attended a number of public functions where you came in contact with him. ... Could you just tell us a little about that?

A Those were all ways for me to get a chance to see him. ... I was insecure about the relationship at times and thought that he would come to forget me easily and if I hadn't heard from him. ... I would go early and stand in the front. ...

Q During the conversation before, did you and the president have any discussion about your dropping by and seeing him at a public departure?

A Yes.

Q All right. Would you tell us about that?

A Let's see. I spoke with him - I think it was October 22nd, and then I saw him at an event October 23rd and he called that night and I had mentioned to him on - I think it was a Tuesday, the first phone conversation, that I was going to be at the White House on Thursday. He had this big 50th birthday party at Radio City Music Hall and there was a cocktail reception ... after he greeted me and talked to me, he was talking to a whole bunch of people in and around my area ... I had my back to him and I just kind of put - put my hand behind me and touched him.

Q Touched him in the crotch area?

A Yes.

Q Did anybody see you?

A No. And it wasn't - it wasn't a - it was maybe sort of a grazing over of that area, but it wasn't, it wasn't how you might imagine it if someone described this, from a scene from a movie. It wasn't like that, but it was - you know. ... It was just - playful. ...

Q Were there times when the president would touch you either on the breasts or in the genital area directly to the skin or was it always through clothing?

A Directly to the skin. Both.

Q ... Did you and the president ever engage in sexual relations using cigars?

A Yes. Just once. Just once. ...

Q In your conversations with Ms Tripp, was her opinion always that she must be truthful or was there a time where your impression was that she was going to provide you with cooperation as far as keeping the secrecy?

A ... I guess ... Linda always told me she would always protect me and she would never tell anybody and keep my secret, up until the Paula Jones case came about.

Q When you said that in your conversations with Linda Tripp you kind of had to exaggerate some things about the president to her, you exaggerated on some of the things you said to her about the president -

A I'm not sure about that. I - I don't know if exaggerate is the right - is maybe the word I would choose.

Q ... Why do you think that you had to not tell her some things that did actually happen, true things, in talking to her?

A There were some occasions, one in particular that I remember, when I didn't disclose a contact that I had with the president - ... after the Paula Jones case, I was scared to death. I mean, I was panicked that she was going to tell. So ... some of the things I said about Mr Jordan, I said, you know, oh, the President told me I have to lie ...

Q Monica, why did you keep that black dress? ... Blue dress.

A ... I didn't have a reason. ... if I remember correctly, I didn't really realize that there was anything on it until I went to go wear it again ... I had shown the dress to Linda at that point and had just sort of said to her ... "Isn't this stupid?" Or, you know, "Look at this, isn't this gross?" Or whatever. I don't really remember exactly what I said. And she told me that I should put it in a safe deposit box because it could be evidence one day.

And I said that was ludicrous because I would never ... disclose that I had a relationship with the President. And then when Thanksgiving time came around and I told her that I was going to wear it for Thanksgiving, she told me I looked fat in the dress, I shouldn't wear it. She brought me a jacket from her closet ... to try to persuade me not to wear the dress. So I ended up not wearing it and then I was going to clean it. I took it with me up to New York and was going to clean it up there and then this broke, so -

Q Okay. Your relationship with the President, did your mother at any time try to discourage the relationship?

A Oh, yes.

Q Well, what kept it going? I mean, what kept it - you keeping it active or whatever?

A I fell in love. ...

Q You said the relationship was more than oral sex. I mean, it wasn't like you went out on dates or anything like that, like normal people, so what more was it?

A Oh, we spent hours on the phone talking. It was emotional.

Q Phone sex?

A Not always. On a few occasions. I mean, we were talking. I mean, interacting. I mean, talking about what we were thinking and feeling and doing and laughing. ...

Q Did you ever think that ... anything real could - and truthful and honest - could have come from this relationship?

A Yes.

Q With this married man?

A I did.

Q Yes. Back to the contacts? ... On page 7, on the 29th of March ... "Private encounter, approximately 1:30 or 2:00 p.m., study. President on crutches. Physical intimacy including oral sex to completion and brief direct genital contact." Brief direct genital contact, could you just elaborate on that a bit? ...You could close your eyes and talk. We won't look at you.

A ... Uh I had - I had wanted - I tried to - I placed his genital next to mine and had hoped that if he - oh - this is just too embarrassing. I don't -

Q Did you think it would lead to intercourse?

A Not on that day.

Q Was that sort of the reason for doing the gesture -

A Yes.

Q - or trying to - moving his closer to yours?

A Then I - not that we would have intercourse that day, but that that might make him want to.

Q OK. Were you wearing clothes at the time or underwear at the time?

A No.

Q And was he? Or his were pulled down?

A Correct.

Q So was there direct skin-to-skin contact between your genitals and his?

A I think very briefly. It was - he's really tall and he couldn't really bend because of his knee, so it was -

Q It was more of a grazing?

A Yes.

Q About how many encounters did you have in the study? ...

A ... Two. ... The 29th of March and the 28th of February. There might have been - I mean, in terms of the clothes and stuff, there might have been playful touches here and there. ...

Q And that's not listed as an intimate encounter?

A No. No, it's not. No, it's not.

Q And just to clarify again, are those the two times that the President actually came to completion during the oral sex? A Yes.

Q Going back to your conversation with Linda Tripp ... If you had to put it, like percentage-wise, what you told her as being truthful and not truthful, what percentage will be not.

A ... Before December of '97, I'd say 95 per cent accurate. There were some things that I didn't tell her, but I usually pretty much told her everything.

Q Okay. So from November '96 to December '97 - ... To clarify, did you ever lie about your sexual relationship with the President?

A No.

Q Did you tell Linda Tripp at any time that you had heard or understood that people don't go to jail for perjury in a civil case?

A Yes, I believe I think I said that. ...

Q Did anyone other than your attorney ever suggest to you that perjury in a civil case would not be prosecuted?

A No.

Q Did you ever tell Linda Tripp that you felt physically at risk?

A I think so. I think her told her something about - that - that - I said something about Mary Jo what's-her-name.

Q Kopechne.

A Kopechne. And so - I really didn't feel threatened, but I was trying to use anything I could to try to convince her not to tell. ...

Q So you did not at any time feel that your personal security was at risk from the White House or anyone in the White House?

A No. I think that maybe there - there - maybe once or twice it had crossed my mind in some bizarre way because everybody's heard about the different you know, sure, there's the Marilyn Monroe theory.

Q ... When did you first learn that Linda Tripp had been taping your phone conversations?

A I believe that I didn't learn the extent to which she had taped my conversations until I read it in the press. I learned that day that she had worn a wire at the lunch and ... that there had been other people, I think, in the restaurant that had been listening in and - so I knew - she had - she had said that - that - when I was first apprehended, she was - she had said that they had done the same thing to her and she tried to hug me and she told me this was the best thing for me to do and - oh. ...

A Linda was supposed to go see this new attorney that she had claimed she had gotten and was going to try to sign an affidavit. ... She wanted to meet me before she went to see the attorney. So we planned to meet at the Ritz Carlton in the food court. ... I saw her come down the escalator. ... She kind of motioned behind her and Agent (name redacted) and Agent (name redacted) presented themselves to me and ... flashed their badges at me. They told me that I was under some kind of investigation, something had to do with the Paula Jones case. ... I told them I wasn't speaking to them without my attorney. They told me that that was fine, but I should know I won't be given as much information and won't be able to help myself as much with my attorney there. So I agreed to go. I was so scared.

(The witness begins crying.)

Q So, Monica, did you go to a room with them at that time?

A Yes.

Q And what did you do then? Did you ever tell them that you wanted to call your mother?

A I told them I wanted to talk to my attorney. ... And they told me ... that Janet Reno had sanctioned Ken Starr to investigate my actions in the Paula Jones case, that they ... knew that I had signed a false affidavit, they had me on tape saying I had committed perjury ... that I could go to jail for 27 years, they were going to charge me with perjury and obstruction of justice and subornation of perjury and witness tampering and something else.

... They told me they wanted me to co-operate. I asked them what co-operating meant ... and they told me that ... I'd have to agree to be debriefed and that I'd have to place calls or wear a wire to see - to call Betty and Mr. Jordan and possibly the president. ...

Q And did you tell them you didn't want to do that?

A Yes. ... Then I wanted to call my mom and they kept telling me that ... I didn't trust them. Then I just cried for a long time. ... Then Jackie Bennett said, "You're 24, you're smart, you're old enough, you don't need to call your mommy." And then I said: "Well, I'm letting you know that I'm leaning towards not cooperating." ...

And they had told me before that I could leave whenever I wanted, but ... I thought if I left then that they were just going to arrest me.

And so then they told me that I should know that they were planning to prosecute my mom for the things that I had said that she had done.

(The witness begins crying.)

A Well, the first time when I asked, that I said I wasn't going to talk to them without my lawyer, they told me that if my lawyer was there, they wouldn't give me as much information and I couldn't help myself as much, so that -

Q Did they ever tell you that you could not call Mr Carter [her lawyer]?

A No. What they told me was that if I called Mr Carter, I wouldn't necessarily still be offered an immunity agreement.

Q And did you feel threatened by that?

A Yes. ...

Q I see. And at some point in this meeting, did you - you did obtain an attorney? Mr Ginsberg?

A Well, like at 11:00 that night.

Q So it was seven hours or eight hours or more later?

A They - they finally let me call my mom, so I went to call my mom and then - and I saw Linda again. She had been shopping or something like that. But I called my mom ... and then they agreed to let her come down.

So she took the train and then - and then he just sort of - I shut down and I kind of - you know, I thought maybe I should try and make these people like me, so I tried to be nice and I told jokes. ...

I didn't want to co-operate. I mean, I didn't - I just kept thinking to myself, well - well, I'll just say I made it all up, I'll just - I'll just - I - I couldn't imagine - I couldn't imagine doing this to the president. And I felt so wrong and guilty for having told Linda and that she had done all this.

But - so then they took my mom into another room for a really long time and ... and they called my dad. And then we finally - and then I talked to my dad and then -then - Ginsberg came on the scene. ...

Q Although you were allowed to - the thing with Frank Carter was that they were afraid he would tell Vernon Jordan? Is that what they expressed to you?

A Right.

Q Sounds as though they were actively discouraging you from talking to an attorney.

A ... From Frank Carter, who was my only attorney at that point. ...

Q When you called your mother, how much were you able to tell her over the phone? ...

A ... I told her that - that the FBI had me and there was something with the Paula Jones case and Linda. ... I was screaming that, you know, "They want me to co-operate and I don't want to co-operate, don't make me co- operate, don't make we do this." ...

Q And what were you thinking about Linda at this time?

A ... That they had listened in on our conversation on the phone and that then they came to her and said she was in trouble for something and that then she let them listen in on this lunch conversation. ...

And I thought, "Why did she tell them? Why didn't she just say it was nonsense, it wasn't true? Why did she tell them that I had had this relationship with him?" ... I didn't know how the Paula Jones people had gotten my name and I thought maybe they had tapped my phone or maybe they had broken into my computer and read my e-mails.

... I didn't know how I had gotten involved in this case and so I had said to Linda, "Well, if they have me on tape, I'll just say it's not me. ... I'll deny everything."

Q So they took pictures.

A Right. So they said, "We have you on tape saying that you'd deny it and we have pictures to prove that you were there." ...

Q During this time in the hotel with them, did you feel threatened?

A Yes.

Q ... What did you want or expect to hear from the president?

A I think what I wanted and expected were two different things. I had - I had been hurt when he referred to me as "that woman" in January, but I was also glad. I was glad that he made that statement and I felt that was the best thing for him to do, was to deny this. ...

... I'm only 24 and so I felt that I - this has been hard for me and this has been hard on my family and I just wanted him to take back - by saying something nice, he would have taken back every disgusting, horrible thing that anyone has said about me from that White House. ...

Q ... Monica, is there anything that you would like to add to your prior testimony ...

A I would. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry for everything that's happened. (The witness begins to cry.) And I hate Linda Tripp.