Lewinsky portrayed as naive, flirtatious woman Ex-intern emerges as aggressive and 'in love' with Clinton

September 12, 1998|By Susan Baer PTC | Susan Baer PTC,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Soon after Monica Lewinsky joined the White House in the summer of 1995, she developed a relationship with President Clinton that progressed quickly from "intense flirting" to an array of sexual encounters to -- on her part at least -- a deep emotional attachment.

Her account of the affair, revealed yesterday through the release of Kenneth W. Starr's report to Congress, includes graphic details of the sexual activities the former White House intern says the two engaged in over a period of 17 months -- generally in or near a private study off the Oval Office -- until Clinton abruptly cut off the relationship in May 1997 before a weeping Lewinsky.

"I never expected to fall in love with the president," Lewinsky testified, according to the Starr report. "I was surprised that I did."

Lewinsky, who had obviously become infatuated with Clinton and thought he returned her feelings, emerges in the report as sexually aggressive but at the same time naive.

For his part, Clinton appears conflicted about the relationship, actively pursuing and encouraging the sexual activities at times, attempting to cool the relationship with Lewinsky at other times.

According to Lewinsky's testimony, Clinton told her that he enjoyed talking to her, that the two of them were "emotive and full of fire," and that she made him feel young. Even after the sexual relationship ended, Lewinsky testified, the president led her to believe they might have a future together. "I just knew he was in love with me."

White House view

In a rebuttal to the Starr report released by Clinton's legal team yesterday, the affair is portrayed with minimal detail as an "improperly intimate relationship" that the president ended in early 1997. The president testified that "on certain occasions in early 1996 and once in early 1997 he engaged in improper conduct with Ms. Lewinsky. These encounters did not consist of sexual intercourse."

That may be the only point on which the president and Lewinsky agree.

The former intern testified that she and the president had 10 sexual encounters between November 1995 and March 1997, eight of them while she worked at the White House either as an intern or later as a paid staffer, two after she was transferred to the Pentagon.

Generally, Clinton would call her -- either at home or at her office -- and ask her to come to the Oval Office on the pretext of bringing him some papers. Or the two would arrange an "accidental" meeting in a hallway after which Clinton would invite her into his office.

On nearly all of those 10 occasions, she performed oral sex on him -- sometimes when he was on the phone -- but he never performed oral sex on her, nor did they ever engage in sexual intercourse, Lewinsky said.

And contrary to Clinton's suggestion in a sworn deposition that he never had "sexual relations" with Lewinsky or touched her in a sexual way, Lewinsky testified that on numerous occasions, the president intimately kissed and touched her. On one occasion, she said, their sex play involved a cigar, and on another occasion there was mutual intimate contact.

Phone calls, gifts

Along with their meetings, Lewinsky said the president called her about 50 times, often late at night, and their conversations sometimes evolved into "phone sex." Clinton acknowledged before the grand jury that his phone conversations with Lewinsky sometimes included "inappropriate sexual banter," according to Starr's report.

Clinton and Lewinsky exchanged numerous gifts, and Lewinsky said she sent the president notes and letters, some expressing anger that he was "not paying enough attention to me," some saying she missed him, one "mushy."

The two were often affectionate and playful, she testified: "A lot of hugging, holding hands sometimes. He always used to push the hair out of my face."

According to Lewinsky, she called him "Handsome," and he occasionally called her "Sweetie," "Baby" or "Dear."

"We would tell jokes," she testified. "We would talk about our childhoods. Talk about current events. I was always giving him my stupid ideas about what I thought should be done in the administration or different views on things."

She said they would start their trysts in or near the president's private study off the Oval Office. "And we'd talk, and that was where we were physically intimate, and we'd usually end up, kind of the pillow talk of it, I guess, sitting in the Oval Office," she said.

The two of them had a "mutual understanding," said Lewinsky, that they would keep their relationship private, "so that meant deny it and take whatever appropriate steps needed to be taken." She said Clinton never directly instructed her to lie, but he suggested misleading cover stories and reminded her of those stories after she became a witness in the Paula Corbin Jones sexual misconduct case.

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