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'You Let Me Down'

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Full Text

Lewinsky's dress and results of DNA analysis of stain.

Prompted by grand jurors, Lewinsky testified in detail about the day she learned that she had become formally a part of the Office of Independent Counsel's investigation. After arranging to meeting Linda Tripp at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pentagon City, Lewinsky was sequestered by FBI agents and representatives from Starr's office, who sought to persuade her to cooperate with them by tape-recording telephone conversations with Betty Currie, Vernon Jordan and "possibly the president." Recalling the incident during her grand jury testimony on Aug. 20, Lewinsky was critical of the way she was treated and broke down several times:

THE WITNESS: Linda was supposed to go see this new attorney that she had claimed she had gotten and was going to try and 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 a 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 [redacted] and Agent [redacted] presented themselves to me and –

A JUROR: Do you want to take a minute?

THE WITNESS: And flashed their badges at me. They told me that I was under some kind of investigation, something that had to do with the Paula Jones case, that they – that they wanted to talk to me and give me a chance to cooperate, maybe.

I – to help myself. I told them that 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)

A JUROR: What did you do? Did you want to call your mother?

THE WITNESS: 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 committed perjury, that 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.

Q. I guess that later just to sort of finish up, I guess, with the facts of that day, was there a time then that you were – you just waited with the prosecutors until your mother came down?

A. No.

Q. Okay.

A. I mean, there was, but they – they told me they wanted me to cooperate. I asked them what cooperating meant, it entailed, and they told me that – they had – first they told me before about that – that they had me on tape saying things from the lunch that I had had with Linda at the Ritz Carlton the other day and they – then they told me that I – that I'd have to agree to be debriefed and that I'd have to place phone calls or wear a wire to see – to call Betty and Mr. Jordan and possibly the president. And –

Q. And did you tell them that you didn't want to do that?

A. Yes. I – I – I remember going through my mind, I thought, well, what if, you know, what if I did that and I messed up, if I on purpose went to Mr. Jordan's office and 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 they didn't – that I couldn't tell anyone to find out that they didn't want – that was the reason I couldn't call Mr. Carter, was because they were afraid that he might tell the person who took me to Mr. Carter.

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‚. ...

Maybe around two hours or so. And then they were – they kept saying there was this time constraint, there was a 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 was 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, so I just – I just wanted to call my mom and they –

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 am leaning towards not cooperating," you know.

And they told me before I could leave whenever I wanted, but it wasn't – you know, I didn't – I really didn't know – I didn't know what that meant. I mean, I thought that if I left then 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 she had done.

(The witness begins crying.)

MS. IMMERGUT: Do you want to take a break, Monica?

THE WITNESS: Yes‚. ...

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


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


A JUROR: Why not?

THE WITNESS: Because I did not trust them.

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

THE WITNESS: Well, like at 11:00 that night.

A JUROR: So it was seven or eight hours or more later‚. ...

THE WITNESS: . ...‚So Mike and Agent [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‚. ...

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

THE WITNESS: Linda? Did you say –

A JUROR: Mm-hmm. Did you know exactly what had happened? That you had been –

THE WITNESS: No. I was under the impression that – 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 because she has said, "They did the same thing to me. They did the same thing to me." So I didn't understand what she meant by that.

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?" And so – you know – they had pictures of me at lunch with her. So –

A JUROR: The pictures were the taped lunch?

THE WITNESS: Yes. The wired lunch.

THE WITNESS: Yes. So that – because they – because I had said on one of the tapes that – you know, if there was a tape of me – I had – I had – I didn't know how th Paula Jones people had gotten my name and I thought maybe they had tapped my phone of 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."

A JUROR: So they took pictures.

THE WITNESS: 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 –

A JUROR: During this time in the hotel with them did you feel threatened.


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

THE WITNESS: I – I – I did and I had – I didn't understand – I didn't understand why they – why they had to trap me into coming there, why they had to trick me into coming there. I mean, this had all been a set-up and that why – I mean, that was just so frightening. It was so incredibly frightening.

And they told me, you know, over and over again I was free to leave whenever I wanted, but – I – I didn't – I didn't know that there's a grand jury and indicted and then you go to jail. I mean, and a trial and everything. I didn't understand that.

And so I didn't – you know, then there was something that, well, if I partially cooperate they'll talk to the judge, some – you know, we're prepared to indict you of something like that for all these things....

As her session on Aug. 20 came to an end, both the grand jurors and Lewinsky made emotional statements summing up their feelings about the case, with Lewinsky expressing regrets and hatred for Linda Tripp, and some of the jurors wishing her the best for the future and urging her to forgive Tripp and seek serenity.

THE WITNESS: I think what I wanted and expected were two different things. I had – I had been hurt when he referred to me as "that woman" in January, but I was also glad. I was glad that he made that statement and I felt that was the best thing for him to do, was to deny this. And – but I had been hurt. I mean, it showed me how angry he was with me and I understood that.

And his – the people who work for him have trashed me, they claim they haven't said anything about me, they have smeared me and they called me stupid, they said I couldn't write, they said I was a stalker, they said I wore inappropriate clothes, I mean, you all know.

I mean, you've heard them in here, you've read the papers, you've seen on TV, and yet – and then when it came out about the talking points, then somehow no one ever asked the question, well, how could – if she was so stupid and she couldn't write, how is it possible that she wrote the talking points? So then it was, well, someone must have helped her with that. Oh, it's okay, though, it wasn't someone in the White House.

So I just – my family had been maligned because of a lot of their tactics and I felt that – I had wanted him to say that I was a nice, decent person and that he was sorry that this had happened because I – I tried to do as much as I could to protect him.

I mean, I didn't – I didn't – I didn't allow him to be put on tape that night and I didn't – and I – I felt that I waited, you know, and I would have gone to trial had – had – in my mind, had there never been a point where the Office of the Independent Counsel and myself could come to – they could come to accept the truth I had to say, that that was the truth I had to give, and I'm only 24 and so I felt that I – this has been hard for me and this has been hard on my family and I just wanted him to take back – by saying something nice, he would have taken back every disgusting, horrible thing that anyone has said about me from that White House. And that was what I wanted.

What I expected him to do was to just acknowledge in his – either in his apology – you know, that first of all I think he should have straight out apologized and I think that he could have acknowledged that – you know, apologized to me, I think, to the other people who were involved in this and to may family.

My – my dad didn't know anything about the relationship and when he went on his – the few interviews he did, he was telling the truth when he said he didn't know. But out of respect for the president and the presidency, he didn't say – he could have easily said if this is true; X, Y and Z about the president, and I think that because my family didn't start a huge uproar about how wrong or improper or inappropriate it was for a 50-year-old man to be having a relationship with a young woman, we afforded him that, that was one less headache that he had to deal with, and I think he could have acknowledged that. That was what I expected. Does that –

A JUROR: Monica, none of us in this room are perfect. We all fall and we fall several times a day. The only difference between my age and when I was your age is now I get up faster. If I make a mistake and fall, I get up and brush myself off. I used to stay there a while after a mistake. That's all I have to say.

THE WITNESS: Thank you....

A JUROR: Monica, is there anything that you would like to add to your prior testimony, either today or the last time you were here, or anything that you think needs to be amplified on or clarified? I just want to give you the fullest opportunity.

THE WITNESS: ...I think because of the public nature of how this investigation has been and what the charges aired, that I would just like to say that no one ever asked me to lie and I was never promised a job for my silence.

And that I'm sorry. I'm really sorry for everything that's happened.

(The witness begins to cry.)

And I hate Linda Tripp.

A JUROR: Can I just say – I mean, I think I should seize this opportunity now, that we've all fallen short. We sin every day. I don't care whether it's murder, whether it's affairs or whatever. And we get over that. You ask forgiveness and you go on.

There's some that are going to say that they don't forgive you, but he whose sin – you know – that's how I feel about that. So to let you know from here, you have my forgiveness. Because we all fall short.

A JUROR: And that's what I was trying to say.

A JUROR: That's what it's about.

THE WITNESS: Thank you.

A JUROR: And I also want to say that even though right now you feel a lot of hate for Linda Tripp, but you need to move on and leave her where she is because whatever goes around comes around.

A JUROR: It comes around.

A JUROR: It does.

A JUROR: And she is definitely going to have to give an account for what she did, so you need to just go past her and don't keep her because that's going to keep you out.

A JUROR: That's right.

A JUROR: And going to keep you from moving on.

A JUROR: Allowing you to move on.


Q. And just to clarify, and I know we've discussed this before, despite your feelings about Linda Tripp, have you lied to this grand jury about anything with regard to Linda Tripp because you don't like her?

A. I don't think that was necessary. No. It wouldn't have been necessary to lie. I think she's done enough on her own, so –

Q. You would not do that just because of your feelings about here.

A. No.

THE FOREPERSON: Basically what we wanted to leave with, because this will probably be your last visit to us, I hope, I hope I'm not going to have to do this any more and I hope you won't have to come here any more, but we wanted to offer you a bouquet of good wishes that includes luck, success, happiness and blessings.

THE WITNESS: Thank you.

(The witness begins to cry.)

I appreciate all of your understanding for this situation and your – your ability to open your heart and your mind and – and your soul. I appreciate that.

THE FOREPERSON: So if there's nothing else?

MR. EMMICK: Nothing else.

THE FOREPERSON: We'd like to excuse you and thank you very much for your testimony.

THE WITNESS: Thank you.

On August 26, Lewinsky used the relative privacy of a deposition with Starr's attorneys to provide detailed testimony about her relationship with Clinton. Following are excerpts from that deposition:

Q. Did you perform oral sex while he was on the telephone?

A. Yes. It was, it was – I think I'll just say, because for – there are a lot of people that could interpret that as being sort of a, that being done in a servicing sort of manner, and it was more done in kind of an exciting sort of – I don't want to say erotic, but in a way that there was kind of this titillating like a secret, in a sense, in the same way that sometimes an affair is, that, you know, when you are doing this and obviously there is kind of the irony that the person on the other line has no idea what's going on.

So, I just wanted to clarify that.

Q. Okay. Although on that occasion, I believe you previously mentioned that that was the first time that you felt a little funny about it?

A. I, I did. I did. I, I, I, I was, I was pretty emotionally devastated at that point, and the prospect of going to the Pentagon was very upsetting to me. And there were moments when I felt a little uncomfortable, and moments when I didn't.

Q. Although you mentioned that there were other times that he was on the phone, that you didn't think sort of anything bad about it –

A. Right.

Q. – and on this occasion, you felt more like –

A. I just –

Q. – you were servicing –

A. Exactly.

Q. – on some level. And did you tell Linda Tripp about that, do you remember?

A. Probably.

Q. How did that encounter end, if you remember? And actually you've already testified a little bit about this. So, just if you could quickly summarize how you finished the encounter and what happened?

A. We were in the back office and I heard Mr. Ickes call, say, Mr. President, from the Oval Office. And we both were startled and looked at each other, and he jetted into the Oval....

Q. What about the fact that you had gone quietly and not revealed your relationship? Did that have anything to do with your feeling that you were entitled to something?

A. It did later on. I, I would have gone quietly anyway, because that – it was never, ever, ever my intention for this relationship to ever become public. And – but I had felt that after having left quietly, after having been sort of maybe strung along throughout the campaign and then even way into 1997, that I had felt – and his promising me that he'd bring me back and constantly enumerating the different steps he was trying to take to do that – that, yes, I did feel at that point he, he certainly owed me.

Q. Is that part of your letter of July 3rd to the President in 1997, where you described it previously as threatening to disclose the relationship, at least to your parents, was that part of your feeling that –

A. It was never really a, a, maybe a – it was never really a threat, because I never really was going to do that. While I had disclosed a portion of the relationship to my mom, I never had any intention of telling my dad. There's no way of that.

And what I really was trying to do was trying to, in a circuitous manner, remind him that I had been a good girl, and that I hadn't, you know, disclosed this information, and that really, you know, he'd promised me he was going to do something. And I had told my parents, I had told my dad that I was coming back after the election....

Q. One last question from me. Do you, for any reason now, want to hurt the President?

A. No, I'm, I'm upset with him right now, but I, no, that's the last thing in the world I want to do.

Compiled by staff writers Lorraine Adams and Liz Spayd.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Full Text

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