Lewinsky gives new explicit testimony Prosecutors to use answers to assess president's account

Likely her last appearance

Starr's team focuses on return of gifts

August 21, 1998|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- In her second and probably final appearance before a grand jury here, Monica Lewinsky offered more specifics yesterday about her sexual relationship with President Clinton and the gifts he gave her as prosecutors sought to draw distinctions between her testimony and that of the president only three days ago, lawyers close to the case said.

During the 3 1/2 -hour session, prosecutors bore in on the events that led Lewinsky to return gifts from the president that had been subpoenaed in the Paula Corbin Jones sexual misconduct lawsuit in December, the lawyers said.

The events surrounding the gifts are potentially the most serious for the president because prosecutors are seeking to determine whether he instructed Lewinsky to turn the gifts over to his secretary, Betty Currie, rather than give them to lawyers for Jones.

Lewinsky testified yesterday that she told Clinton in December that the Jones subpoena demanded gifts he had given her, a lawyer familiar with her account said. The president told her that she could not turn over the gifts if they were not in her possession, Lewinsky has told prosecutors.

The day after her discussion with the president, Lewinsky received a phone call from Currie, who told her, "I hear you have something for me," Lewinsky told the grand jury yesterday, lawyers familiar with her account said. Lewinsky said that she just assumed that Currie was referring to the gifts, the lawyers said. Later that day, Currie went to Lewinsky's apartment to retrieve the gifts, the lawyers said in their account of her testimony.

But this account differs in some respects from Clinton's testimony on Monday.

Clinton told the prosecutors that he told Lewinsky in December that she had no choice but to turn over gifts he had given her to Jones' lawyers, lawyers familiar with his testimony said. When asked about the role of Currie, he said he could not recall telling her to call Lewinsky about the gifts, the lawyers said.

Lewinsky offered more specifics of her sexual encounters with the president than she gave in her testimony two weeks ago, her friends and associates said. The specifics of their physical contacts are also central to the prosecutors' case as they try to determine whether Clinton committed perjury in a deposition in the Jones case.

Lewinsky, these people said, told the panel that he intimately caressed her breasts and touched her genitals during several encounters inside the White House. Her account was far more detailed than the president's testimony.

Before he began Monday, Clinton admitted to the grand jury in a statement supplied by his lawyers that he had had "inappropriate intimate physical contact" with Lewinsky in the White House. But the president repeatedly declined to discuss specific sexual acts.

Beyond the testimony, prosecutors have obtained a sample of Clinton's genetic material to determine whether it matches a semen stain on a dress Lewinsky turned over to prosecutors, lawyers close to the investigation said.

The FBI crime laboratory has determined that the stain on the blue dress was semen, two officials briefed on the results said yesterday. If the DNA in that stain matches the DNA sample from the president, prosecutors would have forensic proof that the president's relationship with Lewinsky was sexual.

Friends have said Lewinsky was deeply hurt by Clinton's address to the nation Monday, especially since he did not apologize to her in it and because she thought he was dismissive of their relationship.

She emerged from the courthouse just before 2 p.m., wearing dark sunglasses, leaving her spokeswoman, Judy Smith, to meet with reporters.

"She answered all questions truthfully and completely," Smith said. "It is our expectation that today's appearance concludes her grand jury testimony."

Lewinsky, Smith added, "is now looking forward to beginning the process of rebuilding her life."

Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, spoke out yesterday for the first time since Clinton accused him in a nationwide address Monday of needlessly prying into his private life. Responding to reporters' questions in Little Rock, Ark., Starr would not say whether he felt vindicated by the president's admission that he misled the American public.

"The process is one of law, gathering facts and assessing them and making professional judgments, as it should be," Starr said. "A legal process should above all be aimed at achieving and vindicating the rule of law."

Pub Date: 8/21/98

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