Prostitute's claim looms over Clinton Senate trial

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The Independent Online
WITH ONLY two days remaining before the United States Senate convenes to consider President Bill Clinton's impeachment, political pressure is mounting for a postponement of the State of the Union address, the President's annual report to the US Congress, which is scheduled for 19 January.

Several senior senators argued it would be "unseemly" for the President to deliver his report with a trial pending, or while he was on trial.

But uncertainty surrounding the State of the Union address was just one of the troubles bearing down on Mr Clinton at the start of what is expected to be a crucial week for the presidency.

While the mainstream media maintained their silence on the latest Clinton scandal-mongering, the revival of allegations that he fathered a child by a black prostitute in Arkansas was the talk of radio phone-ins and street gossip.

Danny Williams, a 13-year-old boy of mixed race, was reported to have been taken to an "undisclosed location" with his mother, Bobbie Ann, at the expense of the Star, a "supermarket" tabloid (so called because it is sold mainly in supermarkets) which is trying to establish whether there is a DNA match between the boy and the President.

Danny Williams has grown up being told by his mother that he is Bill Clinton's child, and that he was fathered during a paid-for sex encounter in the President's home state.

The long-standing rumours resurfaced at the weekend after the disclosure that the child had submitted a DNA sample to an Arkansas laboratory and that Star reporters were trying to establish whether there was a match with the sample submitted by Mr Clinton during the investigation of Monica Lewinsky's semen-stained dress.

The more immediate bad news for Mr Clinton was the continued failure of his supporters in the Senate to muster a consensus around proposals either for a censure vote or for a curtailed trial when Congress reconvenes tomorrow. While Democrats could be heartened by the fact that the main divisions were in the Republican majority, which is split about the constitutional necessity and political advisability of a trial, they were preparing to return to the Capitol with the President's future as much in question as when they broke for the Christmas recess.

If the Senate does decide to proceed, Bill Clinton would become the first president for 130 years to stand trial in the Senate.

The House of Representatives last month voted two articles of impeachment - equivalent to formal charges - accusing him of perjury and obstruction of justice over his affair with Ms Lewinsky, a White House trainee.

Yesterday, the White House - which is preparing simultaneously for a Senate trial and for the State of the Union address - was again stressing business as usual.

Mr Clinton appeared with his wife, Hillary, to set out new proposals for tax relief on care for the elderly and chronically ill - the latest in a series of spending announcements geared at once to influential political constituencies and the senators who will constitute the jury in the event of a trial.

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