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The Ordeal at the Ritz-Carlton

   
Related Links
Ritz Ordeal Raises Questions for Starr (Washington Post, Sept. 23)

Monica's Story: Excerpts From the Evidence (Washington Post, Sept. 22)

Profiles of the Prosecutors (Washington Post, Sept. 22)

Testimony Transcripts and Excerpts of Evidence

Full Coverage including More Post Stories


Wednesday, September 23, 1998

Excerpts from Monica Lewinsky's grand jury testimony on Aug. 20 related to her meeting with independent counsel Kenneth Starr's prosecutors at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Jan. 16:

JUROR: We want to know about that day. ...

LEWINSKY: Linda was supposed to go see this new attorney that she had claimed she had gotten and was going to try to sign an affidavit so she paged me in the morning. I called her back and she told me she wanted to meet me before she went to see the attorney. So we planned to meet at the Ritz Carlton in the food court at -- I think it was quarter to one.

She was late. I saw her come down the escalator. And as I -- as I walked toward her, she kind of motioned behind her and Agent (name redacted) and Agent (name redacted) presented themselves to me and ... flashed their badges at me. They told me that I was under some kind of investigation, something had to do with the Paula Jones case. ... they wanted to talk to me and give me a chance, I think, to cooperate, maybe. ...

... I told them I wasn't speaking to them without my attorney.

They told me that that was fine, but I should know I won't be given as much information and won't be able to help myself as much with my attorney there. So I agreed to go. I was so scared.

(The witness begins crying.)

JUROR: So, Monica, did you go to a room with them at that time?

LEWINSKY: Yes.

Q: And what did you do then? Did you ever tell them that you wanted to call your mother?

A: I told them I wanted to talk to my attorney.

Q: Okay. So what happened?

A: And they told me -- Mike came out and introduced himself to me and told me that -- that Janet Reno had sanctioned Ken Starr to investigate my actions in the Paula Jones case, that they -- that they knew that I had signed a false affidavit, they had me on tape saying I had committed perjury ... that I could go to jail for 27 years, they were going to charge me with perjury and obstruction of justice and subornation of perjury and witness tampering and something else.

Q: And you're saying "they," at that point, who was talking to you about that stuff?

A: Mike Emmick and the two FBI guys. And I made Linda stay in the room. And I just -- I felt so bad.

Q: Now, when you say you felt bad, because you felt responsible somehow for pulling the president into something?

A: Yes.

Q: And is that something that still weighs heavily on you, that you feel responsible?

A: Yes.

A: And is it -- do you feel responsible because you told Linda about your relationship?

A: Yes.

Q: ... Was there a time then that ... you just waited with the prosecutors until your mother came down?

A: No.

... They told me they wanted me to cooperate. I asked them what cooperating meant ... and they told me that ... that they had had me on tape saying things from the lunch that I had had with Linda at the Ritz Carlton the other day and ... that I'd have to agree to be debriefed and that I'd have to place calls or wear a wire to see -- to call Betty and Mr. Jordan and possibly the president. ...

Q: And did you tell then you didn't want to do that?

A: Yes. ... I thought, well, what if -- you know, what if I did that and I messed up, if I on purpose -- you know, I envisioned myself in Mr. Jordan's office and sort of trying to motion to him that something had gone wrong. They said that they would be watching to see if it had been an intentional mistake.

Then I wanted to call my mom and they kept telling me that ... I couldn't tell anybody about this, they didn't want anyone to find out. ...

They told me that I could call this number and get another criminal attorney, but I didn't want that and I didn't trust them. Then I just cried for a long time.

JUROR: All while you were crying, did they keep asking you questions? What were they doing?

A: No. they just sat there. ...

JUROR: How many hours did this go on?

A: Maybe around two hours or so. ... They kept saying there was this time constraint ... I had to make a decision.

And then Bruce Udolf came in at some point and then -- then Jackie Bennett came in and there were a whole bunch of other people and the room was crowded and he was saying to me, you know, you have to make a decision. I had wanted to call my mom, they weren't going to let me call my attorney. ...

Then Jackie Bennett said, "You're 24, you're smart, you're old enough, you don't need to call your mommy."

And then I said, "Well, I'm letting you know that I'm leaning towards not cooperating." ...

And they had told me before that I could leave whenever I wanted, but ... thought if I left then that they were just going to arrest me.

And so then they told me that I should know that they were planning to prosecute my mom for the things that I had said that she had done.

(The witness begins crying.)

...

(Witness excused. Witness recalled.) ...

A: Well, the first time when I asked, that I said I wasn't going to talk to them without my lawyer, they told me that if my lawyer was there, they wouldn't give me as much information and I couldn't help myself as much, so that --

JUROR: Did they ever tell you that you could not call Mr. Carter?

A: No. What they told me was that if I called Mr. Carter, I wouldn't necessarily still be offered an immunity agreement.

JUROR: And did you feel threatened by that?

A: Yes.

JUROR: And you said they offered you a chance to call another attorney?

A: Yes.

JUROR: And did you take them up on that offer?

A: No.

JUROR: Why not?

A: Because I didn't trust them.

JUROR: I see. And at some point in this meeting, did you -- you did obtain an attorney? Mr. Ginsberg?

A: Well, like at 11:00 that night.

JUROR: So it was seven hours or eight hours or more later?

A: They -- they finally let me call my mom, so I went to call my mom and then -- and I saw Linda again. She had been shopping or something like that. But I called my mom and then Mike had said that she could call him, so they called her or she called him or something like that and then they agreed to let her come down.

So she took the train and then -- and then he just sort of -- I shut down and I kind of -- you know, I thought maybe I should try and make these people like me, so I tried to be nice and I told jokes and I asked if we could walk around the mall because I couldn't sit in that room any more. And I just --

PROSECUTOR: So did they let you do that?

A: Mm-hmm. So Mike and Agent (name redacted) took me and we walked around the mall and we ate dinner and then we went back to the room and I read Psalm 21 about a million times. And my mom's train had been -- there were problems with her train and then finally she got there and they told me they were going to want to talk to my mom alone for a little bit, but I got to talk to her.

And I was -- I didn't -- I didn't want to cooperate. I mean, I didn't -- I just kept thinking to myself, well -- well, I'll just say I made it all up, I'll just -- I'll just -- I -- I couldn't imagine -- I couldn't imagine doing this to the president. And I felt so wrong and guilty for having told Linda and that she had done all this.

But -- so then they took my mom into another room for a really long time and she had -- then when she came back, they called my dad. And then we finally -- and then I talked to my dad and then --then -- Ginsberg came on the scene. ...

PROSECUTOR: Although you were allowed to -- the thing with Frank Carter was that they were afraid he would tell Vernon Jordan? Is that what they expressed to you?

A: Right.

JUROR: Sounds as though they were actively discouraging you from talking to an attorney.

A: ... From Frank Carter, who was my only attorney at that point.

JUROR: And this is the attorney who had helped you with the affidavit.

... When you called your mother, how much were you able to tell her over the phone? Very little or --

A: I was hysterical. She didn't understand what I was saying, but I told her that -- that the FBI had me and there was something with the Paula Jones case and Linda. ... I was screaming that, you know, "They want me to cooperate and I don't want to cooperate, don't make me cooperate, don't make we do this," and she -- she said it was OK, don't worry, don't worry. ...

JUROR: And what were you thinking about Linda at this time?

A: ... What I was thinking at that point was that they had -- that they had listened in on our conversation on the phone and that then they came to her and said she was in trouble for something and that then she let them listen in on this lunch conversation. ...

And then she said, "This is the best thing for you," as if I was left to believe that she had -- this was somehow something she had done and that she was trying to help me.

And I thought, "Why did she tell them? Why didn't she just say it was nonsense, it wasn't true? Why did she tell them that I had had this relationship with him?"

... I didn't know how the Paula Jones people had gotten my name and I thought maybe they had tapped my phone or maybe they had broken into my computer and read my e-mails.

I didn't know how I had gotten involved in this case and so I had said to Linda, "Well, if they have me on tape, I'll just say it's not me. I'll just say it's not me. I'll deny it. I'll deny everything."

JUROR: So they took pictures.

A: Right. So they said, "We have you on tape saying that you'd deny it and we have pictures to prove that you were there." So ...

JUROR: During this time in the hotel with them, did you feel threatened?

A: Yes.

JUROR: Did you feel that they had set a trap?

A: ... I did and ... I didn't understand why they -- why they had to trap me into coming there ...

PROSECUTOR: So you didn't know what would happen if you left.

A: No. And then it wasn't until my mom was there that Mike Emmick cleared it up and said to my mom, "Well, it's not that we'll arrest you tonight when you leave the hotel." You know. Because I didn't -- I didn't know.


© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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