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William Ginsburg says his client, Monica Lewinsky, is running short of funds. (AP)

Ginsburg Calls for a Lewinsky Defense Fund

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 22, 1998; Page A22

Monica S. Lewinsky's lawyer said yesterday he wants a legal defense fund set up for his client because she has been overwhelmed by expenses and cannot compete with the resources of either President Clinton or independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.

"We're running out of money," attorney William H. Ginsburg said in an interview. "We have no money."

Ginsburg said he did not have any specific plans in mind but invited potential benefactors to call him to discuss setting up a fund, much like friends of Clinton did last week. Ginsburg, a medical malpractice lawyer from Los Angeles, where attorney fees normally run in the hundreds of dollars per hour, has been representing the unemployed 24-year-old former White House intern and clerk at the request of her father, Bernard Lewinsky, a Beverly Hills radiation oncologist and longtime friend.

The plea for financial help followed Bernard Lewinsky's own complaint about crushing legal bills in an interview televised Friday night. While Bernard Lewinsky has been paying Ginsburg's bills, neither offered any details about how much they have amounted to in the month since the lawyer took over Monica Lewinsky's case. Ginsburg said in a previous interview that Bernard Lewinsky has paid him "as much as he had" but that the lawyers were absorbing many of the expenses for now, such as hotel rooms and limousines.

"That is something that is tremendously worrisome," Bernard Lewinsky said of the expenses on ABC's "20/20 Friday." "Mr. Starr has spent $40 million of our tax money. The president is opening up a fund so that he can get legal defense. And there's me. Out in the middle of nowhere, I'm supposed to fight this battle. I don't have the means for this sort of cost. And it's outrageous."

Bernard Lewinsky lives in the exclusive Brentwood neighborhood where O.J. Simpson once lived. Ginsburg said yesterday that his friend "is not poor but not rich either."

Monica Lewinsky is a potential target in Starr's investigation into whether Clinton or his friend, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., urged her to lie under oath about having sexual relations with the president. Lewinsky faces possible perjury and subornation of perjury charges. She swore out an affidavit in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case denying any sexual relationship with Clinton despite her own secretly taped recorded statements to the contrary, and she reportedly gave "talking points" to a friend urging her to change her testimony in the Jones case.

In contrast to the shut-in former intern, Clinton, who for three weekends retreated to Camp David in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, went to the MCI Center last night to watch Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls beat the Washington Wizards, 94-88.

"Number 23 had a lot to do with the president staying in town," a White House official told the Associated Press, referring to Jordan's jersey number.

Ginsburg said he is frustrated that Clinton can still go anywhere he wants and has earned sympathy from supporters, while his client remains in hiding at her Watergate apartment, financially broke and emotionally distraught. Lewinsky wanted to go shopping yesterday but had to cancel because of the media mob staking her out. Later, she did go out for dinner in a private dining room at a downtown steakhouse.

"My little girl gets no coverage at all," Ginsburg lamented. "She can't go outside. She can't pay her bills."

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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