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When Paula Jones was the woman giving President Clinton the most trouble, Robert Bennett was the president's best-recognized lawyer. But when Monica Lewinsky took center stage, so did the normally reserved and private Kendall, 53.
Kendall, a member of the Williams & Connolly law firm, took the Clintons on as clients in 1993 and quickly became embroiled in the Whitewater case, defending them against repeated forays by independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
Second-guessing Kendall has become a bloodsport in Washington, where some of his fellow lawyers fault Kendall for not having Clinton come forward earlier with the truth about Lewinsky, for letting him testify before the grand jury, for allowing him to dig himself into even deeper legal trouble with his grand jury answers, and for inflaming Starr with repeated attacks.
They also blame Kendall for pursuing a legalistic argument that receiving oral sex did not constitute a sexual relationship that has proved widely unpalatable.
But Kendall scored points with the public in his reponse to the Starr Report, which he called "an extravagant effort to find a case where there is none." And his bruising battles with Starr over leaks bore some fruit in August, when Judge Norma Holloway Johnson authored a stinging ruling accusing Starr of violating grand jury secrecy rules.
Kendall's Skill Doubted in Videotape Haggling (Sept. 18, 1998)
(Updated October 2, 1998)
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