Confidant linked to loss of evidence about relationship Jordan apparently told Lewinsky to get rid of her notes, report says

The Starr Report

September 12, 1998|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- Vernon Jordan, a top Washington lawyer and longtime confidant of President Clinton, apparently directed Monica Lewinsky to destroy evidence of her relationship with Clinton, according to the Starr report made public yesterday.

Although Jordan testified under oath that both Clinton and Lewinsky lied to him and told him they were not sexually involved, Jordan suspected they were, according to the report.

"You're in love, that's what your problem is," Jordan told Lewinsky last December, after she had complained to him that she got angry at the president "when he doesn't call me enough or see me enough."

Jordan advised the former White House intern to take her frustrations out on him rather than on Clinton.

And several days later, after she had been subpoenaed in the Paula Corbin Jones case, Lewinsky is quoted as saying to the investigators that Jordan advised her to throw out copies of notes that she had written to the president. She was afraid that her erstwhile friend, Linda Tripp, had seen them.

"According to Ms. Lewinsky, Jordan said: 'Go home and make sure they're not there,' " the report said. "Ms. Lewinsky testified that she understood that Jordan was advising her to 'throw away' any copies or drafts of notes that she had sent to the President," the report said.

Lewinsky then went home and threw out copies of approximately 50 notes she had written to Clinton, the report said.

As part of his investigation over the past several months, Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel, has been trying to determine if Jordan had asked Lewinsky to lie under oath about her relationship with the president. He has emphatically denied that he asked her to do so.

Neither Jordan nor his lawyer, William Hundley, were available yesterday for comment.

Yesterday's voluminous report, which is laced with references to Jordan, draws no conclusion about Jordan's conduct. But it paints a portrait of Jordan as swept up in the Lewinsky melodrama in part because Lewinsky assumed with "a wink and a nod" that Jordan was fully aware of her sexual relationship with the president.

Jordan, a fixture in the Washington legal and social establishment and a presidential golfing buddy who has boasted that his bond with Clinton allows for "a little locker-room talk," testified that Clinton lied to him directly about his relationship with Lewinsky.

BTC Jordan told investigators that after Lewinsky received a subpoena last fall in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case and appeared in Jordan's office in a highly emotional state, he subsequently met with the president and asked him whether he had ever had sexual relations with her.

"No, never," the president told him, according to Jordan's testimony.

On Jan. 22 in a public statement, Jordan told reporters "absolutely and unequivocally" that Lewinsky had denied to him that she was involved with Clinton.

But the report indicates that Jordan suspected that the relationship might be sexual because Lewinsky was so openly upset in his office and because of clues from Lewinsky.

For example, she asked Jordan if Clinton was likely to stay married to Hillary Rodham Clinton. He told prosecutors that Lewinsky seemed "mesmerized" by the president. And when Lewinsky left his office, she asked Jordan to "give the president a hug" for her.

"You didn't have to be Einstein" to figure out they were probably involved, Jordan told investigators.

Pub Date: 9/12/98

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