By Peter Baker and Bill Miller
In a new angle to his investigation of whether Clinton committed perjury or obstructed justice in the Jones case, Starr on Monday subpoenaed the Dallas law firm representing her; he is seeking a critical document related to Clinton's withholding of the Willey letters in January. Two months later, the White House publicly released them to undercut Willey's televised allegation of an unwelcome sexual advance.
Starr's move suggested that he wants to determine whether not providing the letters in response to court-ordered, pretrial discovery in January constituted obstruction of justice. Before their lawsuit was thrown out last week, Jones's lawyers asked a federal judge to impose civil sanctions on the Clinton team for withholding evidence.
The president's attorneys have defended their actions on the grounds that the Jones lawyers sought the records from Clinton personally and should have asked the White House instead, as they did on other occasions. The White House scoffed at the new subpoena yesterday. "If that's all they're working on over there, they really are scraping the dregs at the bottom of the barrel," said White House press secretary Michael McCurry.
Starr is seeking the Jones camp's December request in which it asked Clinton to produce any records in his "custody or control" related to Willey, including correspondence and telephone logs. In response, Clinton's attorneys wrote, "President Clinton has no documents responsive to this Request." But the day after Willey went on "60 Minutes" in March to accuse Clinton of kissing and groping her in the Oval Office suite, the president authorized the release of a sheaf of notes, letters and phone records to show that she remained friendly after their alleged encounter.
The latest subpoena, which required a response by Thursday and was the fourth issued to Jones's lawyers by the independent counsel, also signaled Starr's willingness to continue probing allegations related to the Jones case. The White House and its allies have argued that his investigation is now moot because the underlying case was deemed without merit by U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright.
As he examines the president's response to the Willey controversy, Starr continued summoning witnesses knowledgeable about her situation. Harolyn Cardozo, who once worked with Willey as a White House volunteer, appeared yesterday for nearly three hours before a grand jury in Washington.
Her testimony could either corroborate or contradict Willey's claim that Clinton tried to force himself on her when she went to see him for a job on Nov. 29, 1993. Clinton denied doing so when asked during his January deposition in the Jones suit. Starr's investigators are seeking to determine whether Clinton told the truth and whether anyone ever pressured Willey to change her story, much as they are examining similar questions regarding former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky.
Willey called Cardozo from her car phone the night of her meeting with Clinton.
Cardozo has refused to discuss publicly what Willey told her that evening and would not disclose what she told the grand jury.
"I willingly responded to questions relating to my relationship with Kathleen Willey, with whom I served as a volunteer in the White House social office," Cardozo told reporters yesterday, reading from what appeared to be a prepared statement. "I answered all questions to the best of my ability. I answered those questions truthfully and forthrightly."
Cardozo was accompanied to the courthouse by her lawyer, Stephen J. Pollak, and husband, Michael H. Cardozo, who was the executive director of Clinton's first and now defunct legal defense fund. Yesterday's appearance might not be the last from members of her family. Harolyn Cardozo's father is Nathan Landow, a wealthy Democratic Party fund-raiser whose conversations with Willey about her testimony in the Jones case have come under Starr's scrutiny.
Willey gave Landow's name when asked by Jones's attorneys whether anyone directly or indirectly tried to encourage her not to talk about the incident. Landow has vigorously denied trying to influence her testimony.
Also testifying yesterday was Janis Kearney, a former Arkansas journalist who keeps track of Clinton's daily activities for the White House archives. Kearney, the Oval Office records manager and wife of White House personnel director Bob Nash, is the latest in a series of witnesses queried about Oval Office operations, but she declined to comment after two hours of testimony.
This is not the first time Kearney's records have drawn the attention of investigators. In December, the White House released to Congress and the Justice Department notes she took about Clinton's fund-raising activities.
Yesterday's other witness was a woman who declined to identify herself afterward. The woman, who appeared to be in her twenties, stuck out her tongue as she walked by sketch artists and spent less than an hour with the grand jury.
While the testimony continued, lawyers for the White House and other players in the Lewinsky saga prepared for a hearing scheduled for this morning before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District to decide if the news media should be given access to hearings on legal issues arising from the probe.
A consortium of news organizations, including The Washington Post, has appealed orders by Chief U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson sealing hearings about issues such as Clinton's attempt to shield his aides from answering certain questions by invoking executive privilege.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company