Starr probe of Clinton broadened Federal grand jury subpoenas records of ex-Lewinsky lawyer

Jordan recruited attorney

Va. investigation could extend to close presidential adviser

January 29, 1998|By Lyle Denniston and Paul West | Lyle Denniston and Paul West,SUN NATIONAL STAFF Sun staff writer Susan Baer contributed to this article.

WASHINGTON -- Special prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr has opened a third front in his legal battle with President Clinton, using a federal grand jury in Virginia to broaden his investigation of the White House sex scandal, The Sun has learned.

The grand jury now sitting in the Northern Virginia suburb of Alexandria has issued a subpoena for records of the Washington lawyer recruited by presidential adviser Vernon E. Jordan Jr. to represent former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky.

The lawyer, Francis D. Carter, represented Lewinsky only briefly. Because their arrangement was set up by Jordan, one of Clinton's closest confidants, the Alexandria probe could include Jordan.

Over the past 3 1/2 years, Starr has been using grand juries in Little Rock, Ark., and Washington to investigate allegations involving the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Starr's office did not respond last night to a request for comment about the Virginia phase of the investigation.

Carter acknowledged last night that his records had been subpoenaed by the grand jury.

Asked if the subpoena related to his representation of Lewinsky, he answered: "Of course."

Asked if he knew why the investigation was going forward in Virginia, he said: "I do not."

Carter, described by Jordan last week as "a very competent Washington lawyer," refused to discuss his legal assistance to Lewinsky, citing attorney-client privilege.

Starr is investigating whether Jordan might have encouraged Lewinsky to lie under oath during a deposition in Paula Corbin Jones' sexual misconduct lawsuit against the president. Jordan has denied the allegation.

'I introduced them'

In his only public statement on the subject, Jordan said he helped Lewinsky hire Carter to represent her in the Jones lawsuit. "I actually took her to Mr. Carter's office. I introduced them," he said.

While Carter was her lawyer, Lewinsky gave a sworn statement in the Jones case. In the Jan. 7 affidavit, Lewinsky stated: "I never had a sexual relationship with the president."

That denial is said to contradict what she recounted in conversations secretly recorded by her onetime friend, Linda R. Tripp.

Jordan has acknowledged that he has been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury but did not say where. This week, Starr has been using a grand jury in Washington to investigate sexual allegations surrounding the president.

It is unclear why Starr decided that the latest phase of his inquiry should go to a different grand jury. Criminal lawyers with knowledge of federal prosecutions said that there would have to be a Virginia connection for Starr to have authority to gather evidence there.

Carter's office is in Washington, but Lewinsky worked at the Pentagon in Virginia. Lewinsky was interviewed at a Virginia hotel by FBI agents this month after being secretly taped there by Tripp, who wore a hidden microphone provided by Starr's office.

Charges possible

Starr reportedly is investigating whether to charge Lewinsky with crimes, including possible perjury and obstruction of justice. Lewinsky is reported to be the source of a document given to Tripp on Jan. 14 suggesting that Tripp lie in her sworn statement in the Jones case about the relationship between Lewinsky and the president.

Carter and his attorney, Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, are discussing how to respond to the grand jury subpoena, Ogletree said last night.

"We were as surprised as you are," Ogletree said, that another grand jury had been handed a part of the mushrooming investigation.

Carter and Ogletree disclosed that Carter has been subpoenaed in the Jones case. Jones' attorneys are pressing Carter aggressively, Ogletree said, without giving details.

Jordan's attorney, William Hundley, did not return a phone call last night seeking comment.

Negotiations continue

Meantime, negotiations continued between Starr's office and Lewinsky's present attorney, William H. Ginsburg, over terms of her appearance before a grand jury.

The grand jury in Washington heard testimony yesterday from Clinton's former top aide, Leon E. Panetta.

Upon emerging after eight hours inside the federal courthouse, Panetta provided few details to reporters.

He said he told the grand jury about the operations of the White House and the physical layout of the building. During Panetta's tenure as chief of staff, Lewinsky answered letters in the correspondence section at the White House.

A 'fervent prayer'

Panetta repeated an earlier statement denying knowledge of "any improper relationship, sexual or otherwise," involving Clinton. "My fervent prayer," he added, "is that for the sake of the president and the sake of this nation that this matter is resolved soon."

Panetta is the highest-ranking member of the Clinton administration to appear before a grand jury in the current phase of Starr's investigation.

Clinton's personal secretary, Betty Currie, testified on Tuesday. According to news reports, Currie, whose desk is outside the Oval Office, requested that Lewinsky be cleared past security when the former intern paid visits to the White House after leaving to work at the Pentagon.

The White House has refused to make public the Secret Service records that show when Lewinsky visited. Copies of the records were turned over to Starr's office Monday, in response to a subpoena.

Pub Date: 1/29/98

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