White House pressures Starr over Lewinksy leaks

Things are looking up for Bill Clinton. Lawyers' accusations are flying between the White House and the US independent prosecutor's office. And, reports Mary Dejevsky, the President's approval ratings are shooting up.

The prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, will today find himself the target of two legal actions that call into question his methods and motives. Mr Starr is in charge of a series of inquiries into the President's activities, including allegations that he had an affair with a White House trainee, Monica Lewinsky, and told her to lie about it.

The first lawsuit, for contempt, is to be lodged today in Washington by David Kendall, the head of Mr Clinton's legal team in the Lewinsky case and relates to allegations that leaks from the Lewinsky inquiry originated in Mr Starr's office. Leaked information has appeared almost daily in the US media in the three weeks since the allegations were first published, and while the White House has dismissed some of the material as false, many of the statements have gone unchallenged. Mr Kendall described the leaks as "intolerably unfair" and the prosecutor as "out of control".

The second suit, lodged in California, is being prepared by Ms Lewinsky's lawyer, who accuses Mr Starr of going back on an immunity agreement for his client. According to the lawyer, William Ginsburg, Mr Starr agreed to grant Ms Lewinsky immunity from prosecution for perjury if she decided to change sworn testimony she gave about her relationship with Mr Clinton.

According to Mr Ginsburg, he and Mr Starr had finalised an immunity deal a week ago. But, says Mr Ginsburg, Mr Starr subsequently added conditions, including a face-to-face interview with Ms Lewinsky.

In a furious statement at the weekend, Mr Ginsburg accused Mr Starr's office of trying to put pressure on his client to lie. Unofficial reports say that Ms Lewinsky is prepared to testify to a sexual relationship with Mr Clinton - something she initially denied - but will not say that he told her to lie about it.

Some observers see the twin lawsuits against Mr Starr's office as an attempt to build on public criticism of Mr Starr and discredit his investigation. According to an opinion poll conducted for NBC television and the Wall Street Journal, published yesterday, 64 per cent of those asked thought Mr Starr was using the investigation for partisan, political purposes. Mr Clinton's approval rating on the other hand has risen still further, to 79 per cent - a 9 per cent increase on the previous week.

A new lawsuit would complicate matters and could delay the Lewinsky investigation.

Any attempt to oust Mr Starr as independent prosecutor, however, could be counterproductive, as it could give the impression that the President was above the law.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk