On tape, ex-intern reportedly reveals relationship details Lewinsky claims president involved with other women

January 24, 1998|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON -- Monica Lewinsky claims that President Clinton frequently telephoned her at home late at night, engaged in telephone sex with her and eventually devastated her emotionally by becoming involved with several other women, a person close to the matter said yesterday after hearing portions of secretly recorded conversations with Lewinsky.

The source, who listened to about 10 percent of the approximately 20 hours of tapes turned over to the independent counsel's office, said Lewinsky is heard saying that she engaged only in oral sex with Clinton, and that he told her he did not consider such an act to constitute a sexual affair.

"Monica never claims it was intercourse," the source said. If true, those distinctions could explain how Clinton can deny he had an affair with the former intern.

Also yesterday, the attorney for Linda R. Tripp, who made the secret recordings, for the first time described a three-page, typewritten "talking points" summary he said Lewinsky gave his client last week to lay out for Tripp how she could safely commit perjury by denying that Clinton was participating in extramarital affairs.

The attorney, James Moody, said the summary is in two parts: one written in the third person with instructions on how to skirt the truth; the other is conveniently written in first-person language so Tripp could sign or copy it as her own legal affidavit.

Moody said Lewinsky gave Tripp the three-page document during a ride home from the Pentagon, where Tripp works as a public affairs specialist. He added, however, that Lewinsky did not specifically tell her to commit perjury when she gives a legal deposition in Paula Corbin Jones' sexual harassment case against Clinton.

"Monica gave them to her," Moody said of the talking points. "She did not explain them. But the reference was that this is what you should do."

The document, which like the tapes have been turned over to the office of Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, appears to lie at the heart of the federal investigation into whether Clinton and his confidant, Vernon Jordan, were coaching Lewinsky to commit perjury to shield the president from legal culpability in the Jones lawsuit.

Moody said the document is written in legalese. But he said that it appears to be too sophisticated to have been written by someone such as 24-year-old Lewinsky, who has no background in the law, while at the same time seems too amateurish to have been penned by a lawyer.

The latest scandal involving Clinton broke this week with allegations that Lewinsky, a White House intern, was telling conflicting stories about her relationship with Clinton. On Jan. 7, she gave an affidavit in the Jones case in which she denied having a sexual affair with the president.

But then this week, sources revealed that Lewinsky secretly was tape-recorded by her friend, Tripp, and that on the tape, Lewinsky openly admitted the sexual relationship. Tripp has not spoken publicly about her role.

But the source who reviewed portions of the tapes told the Los Angeles Times yesterday that the taping began last August and continued into last week, when Tripp approached Starr's office. The next day she wore a microphone for prosecutors to tape one last conversation with Lewinsky. There are 17 tape cassettes with some 20 hours of conversation.

"It's girl-talk, it's everything," the source said of the tapes he heard. "It's such a range."

The source said that Lewinsky revealed on the tapes that Clinton frequently called her at home and liked to discuss sex with her.

On the Tripp recordings, Lewinsky recalls that Clinton said "things like I wish you were there at home so I could talk to you." But the source said the recordings he heard do not include Clinton messages and it could not be determined whether Lewinsky has saved those messages.

Clinton, in a series of public statements Wednesday, denied that he had an "improper" affair with Lewinsky. "The relationship was not improper," he told Roll Call, a biweekly newspaper on Capitol Hill. "The relationship was not sexual."

Tripp's attorney, Moody, said that his client has no independent, personal knowledge of a sexual relationship between the president and Lewinsky. But, he said, Tripp nevertheless

believes Lewinsky was being truthful to her when she contradicted her Jan. 7 affidavit and said that she had indeed been involved with Clinton.

Pub Date: 1/24/98

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