Starr turns up heat on Clinton

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The Independent Online
Kenneth Starr turned up the heat on President Bill Clinton yesterday, waging psychological war on his alleged paramour, Monica Lewinsky, and testing the limits of legal propriety by serving a subpoena on a Secret Service agent formerly on the White House staff.

Seeking to crack Ms Lewinsky's apparent resolve not to testify that the President urged her to lie under oath about an alleged affair, Mr Starr, the independent prosecutor investigating Mr Clinton, was trying to get at the former White House intern through her mother. Marcia Lewis appeared before the grand jury yesterday for the third successive day to answer questions about her daughter's relationship with the President.

After the first day's interrogation on Tuesday she was all smiles but when she emerged on Wednesday she looked haggard. The pressure from Mr Starr's legal team had been so fierce she broke down in court and a nurse was called.

"This is a very emotionally draining and difficult time for my client," Mrs Lewis's lawyer said.

"No mother should be forced by federal prosecutors to testify against her child." Ms Lewinsky's lawyer, William Ginsburg, said Mr Starr and his staff were striving "to break my client down a piece at a time. I would describe it as abuse."

Ms Lewinsky and her mother, who shortened her name to Lewis apparently to boost an incipient book-writing career, shared an apartment at Washington's Watergate building. Prosecutors are working on the premise that Ms Lewis confided in her mother about the intimacies of her relationship with the President.

Ms Lewinsky was scheduled to appear before the grand jury yesterday but, her mother's grilling having continued longer than anticipated, she is expected to face her moment of truth next week. As may a former White House Secret service agent subpoenaed yesterday to face questioning before the grand jury on whether he can confirm previous reports that, contrary to the President's public denials, he and Ms Lewinsky spent time together alone in the Oval Office.

Mr Starr's decision to compel testimony from the agent caused a storm in Washington.

Democratic congressmen loyal to the President voiced outrage at the depths to which they said Mr Starr had sunk, while the Treasury Department, which employs the Secret Service staff, was gearing up to fight the judicial order, arguing that the agent's participation in the legal fray would undermine trust between the President and his security detail.

Another former member of the Secret Service staff told the press on Tuesday he escorted Ms Lewinsky to a private meeting with the President in autumn 1995.

It was not clear yesterday whether he too had received a subpoena from Mr Starr.

Polls show the President's popularity remains high, while the media, widely perceived to be engaging in gutter journalism, has hit rock-bottom.