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Starr Subpoenaes Ex-Aide Willey

By Susan Schmidt and Toni Locy
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 18, 1998; Page A09

Former White House aide Kathleen Willey, who told lawyers for Paula Jones that she was kissed and groped by President Clinton in the Oval Office, has been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury investigating Clinton's alleged relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky, according to sources familiar with the inquiry.

The Willey subpoena comes as grand jury testimony resumed yesterday with appearances by Lewis C. Fox, a retired Secret Service officer who told The Washington Post he saw Lewinsky and Clinton together in the Oval Office in 1995, and Stephen Goodin, a White House aide who until recently served as Clinton's personal assistant.

Sources expect Willey to be a reluctant witness in independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's investigation. She tried unsuccessfully to avoid being deposed in the Jones sexual harassment lawsuit but ended up, sources said, testifying that Clinton made an unwelcome pass at her on Nov. 29, 1993, when she went to him seeking a job.

Willey's testimony could be important to prosecutors as they look into whether Lewinsky tried to suborn perjury in the Jones case by asking a friend to lie under oath about what she knew of Willey's story.

But Starr's interest in Willey could also signal a broadening of his obstruction of justice probe of the president, according to one lawyer close to the case. Starr is already investigating whether Clinton or his associates encouraged Lewinsky to lie to Jones's lawyers about having an affair with the president. By seeking to bring Willey before the grand jury, the lawyer said, Starr may be looking to find out whether Clinton or his confidants tried to influence Willey's testimony in the Jones case as well.

Willey might be relevant to prosecutors as they investigate the origins of the so-called talking points -- a document Lewinsky gave last month to her friend Linda R. Tripp, now a central cooperating witness in Starr's probe. The talking points directed Tripp, in her deposition in the Jones case, to alter an earlier account she gave publicly about Willey.

Tripp was quoted last summer saying she had seen Willey outside the Oval Office that November 1993 day, looking disheveled and confiding happily that the president had made a pass at her. Tripp's credibility was then attacked by Clinton's attorney, Robert S. Bennett -- a move that Tripp's friends have said led her to begin secretly taping Lewinsky talking about her alleged affair with the president.

The talking points from Lewinsky instructed Tripp to tell Jones's attorneys, "You now do not believe that what she [Willey] claimed happened really happened. You now find it completely plausible that she herself smeared her lipstick, untucked her blouse, etc."

Tripp reportedly called deputy White House counsel Bruce Lindsey last summer when she was contacted about the Willey episode by a reporter, and the two talked several times about the matter. Lindsey also has been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury and could appear as early as this week, sources said yesterday.

The White House has said it may try to assert executive privilege to prevent Lindsey from having to testify about conversations he had with Clinton. But it is unlikely any such argument would be mounted merely to prevent Lindsey from testifying about his conversations with Tripp, or conversations, if he had any, with Willey and Lewinsky.

Starr's investigators are trying to learn whether Lewinsky was aided in preparing the talking points, a somewhat crude document that lays out a scheme to protect Clinton in the Jones case by seeming to urge Tripp to lie under oath.

Meanwhile, a friend of Tripp's last night offered new details about why Tripp went to Starr's office in the first place, launching the investigation last month. Tripp shared her secretly recorded conversations with her lawyer in December and "panicked" when he told her she had broken Maryland law by making them, according to Lucianne Goldberg, a New York book agent who was a friend and adviser to Tripp.

The lawyer, recommended to Tripp by the White House counsel's office, suggested turning over the tapes to Bennett, sources familiar with Tripp's account have said.

Goldberg said Tripp felt she was being pressured to lie under oath by Lewinsky and felt if she refused she would incur the wrath of the White House. Ultimately, said Goldberg, Tripp's concern about being prosecuted for illegal taping was a factor in her decision to seek a new lawyer, who helped her take the tapes not to Bennett but to Starr.

In another development related to the Willey story, Julie Hiatt Steele, a Willey friend from Richmond, told Clinton's lawyers that Willey called her and encouraged her to lie to a reporter, according to Steele's lawyer. Steele said Willey wanted her to say that Willey told her about the incident with Clinton soon after it happened when that was not actually the case, the lawyer said.

At the grand jury yesterday, Fox spent more than two hours testifying after his appearance was put off last week by the dispute between the Secret Service and Starr's office over the parameters of what Secret Service officers would be allowed to testify about.

"We are not going to make a statement or give any interviews or anything else," Fox's lawyer told reporters after his testimony. The lawyer, Michael Leibig, later appeared on CNBC and reiterated Fox's statement to The Post that "what he saw was Clinton and Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office together" and no else in sight on a weekend in late 1995 when he was posted outside the president's office.

Fox is the only Secret Service witness to date, but the independent counsel's office is seeking to interview a large number of plainclothes agents and uniformed officers, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. However, Starr's office has encountered strong opposition from the Secret Service and the Treasury Department, which argue that disclosures of what agents and officers have seen could jeopardize the security of the president. The Justice Department is also involved in the talks.

So far, only Fox -- a retired uniformed officer -- has been permitted to testify under an arrangement reached last week between Starr and the two executive branch departments. Investigators agreed to refrain from asking Fox questions that could impede the ability of the Secret Service to protect the president.

A second officer who has been subpoenaed is not expected to be called before the grand jury until an agreement is reached or the matter is litigated in court, sources close to the negotiations said.

Yesterday's other witness, Goodin, testified for about 2 1/2 hours. He and Kris Engskov, who testified earlier before the grand jury, have served as personal aides to the president, shadowing most of his movements.

In a brief statement issued after his testimony, Goodin said, "I have no knowledge of any improper relations between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, or anyone else." In declining to describe his testimony further, Goodin said he intended "to respect the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings."

Staff writers Peter Baker and Roberto Suro contributed to this report.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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