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_ Key Player Profiles: Kenneth Starr and Monica Lewinsky

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Starr Aides Trace Lewinsky's Steps

By Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 27, 1998; Page A01

Investigators for independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr have spent months methodically reconstructing the details of Monica S. Lewinsky's life as told to her friend Linda R. Tripp in secretly recorded conversations. They have subpoenaed billing records of her purchases, excavated her computer files, interviewed her girlfriends and even quizzed her mother.

Lawyers for witnesses said Starr's office has been trying to substantiate Lewinsky's statements in the more than 20 hours of tape recordings, looking for independent evidence to prove the accuracy of even her innocuous descriptions of daily activities as well as to corroborate her alleged claims she had an affair with President Clinton and was being urged to lie about it in the now-dismissed Paula Jones lawsuit.

"They are making a map of everywhere she's been and everything she's done," said Lucianne S. Goldberg, the New York literary agent who has heard some of the tapes and closely watched the public progress of the investigation. It was Goldberg who urged her friend Tripp to tape Lewinsky.

Lewinsky's telephone records, e-mail correspondence, and logs of entry and exit to the White House, which show she returned there 37 times after leaving to work at the Pentagon, are part of the record of Lewinsky's movements and communications that Starr has assembled. And that process isn't over yet: Sources said Starr's investigators have told Lewinsky they want her to submit a handwriting sample and fingerprints today at the federal building in West Los Angeles to be analyzed by the FBI, pursuant to a wide-ranging subpoena issued to her earlier this year.

Lewinsky could try to disavow the substance of her taped comments about Clinton -- perhaps claiming, as her lawyer has intimated, that she was embellishing the facts when she said she was having an affair with Clinton and being pressured to lie about it by Clinton and Washington lawyer Vernon E. Jordan Jr., who was enlisted to help find her a job in New York.

If that happens, prosecutors could seek to show that she was telling the truth to Tripp by proving that her other recorded statements are accurate.

For example, prosecutors, armed with a stack of subpoenaed telephone records, have questioned Jordan in painstaking detail about more than a dozen phone calls with Clinton in the six weeks before Lewinsky's dramatic arrival on the national scene.

A Jordan associate said the presidential confidant was grilled in three sessions before the grand jury by prosecutors as they tried to match the times, dates and subjects of his calls with Clinton to the description of events Lewinsky detailed to Tripp.

"They are footnoting the tapes and supplementing them," said John Q. Barrett, who teaches criminal law at St. John's University's law school.

"That's what the bookstore stuff is about," said Goldberg, referring to Starr's controversial subpoena to a Dupont Circle shop for records of Lewinsky's purchases, which include "Vox," a 1992 novel about phone sex. " 'Vox' is on the tapes -- that's what it's all about," Goldberg said.

Similarly, Starr has subpoenaed advertising billing records from The Washington Post that show Lewinsky purchased a personal ad for Valentine's Day last year that was addressed to "Handsome" and signed "M". The ad quoted four lines from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Lewinsky was recorded telling Tripp that she'd placed the valentine ad for Clinton and that he was "ga-ga" over it, according to a source familiar with the tapes.

A Washington courier service was subpoenaed for records showing Lewinsky sent parcels from her Pentagon office to Betty Currie, the president's secretary, and Currie, sources said, has turned over to Starr a box of gifts from Clinton to Lewinsky that she retrieved when the Jones lawyers sought them from Lewinsky under subpoena.

Starr also has subpoenaed Lewinsky's credit card receipts, from which he could try to learn about gifts from her to Clinton, including a tie, which she allegedly told Tripp about.

"It all adds up to binders of Lewinsky evidence that can be used to examine her," Barrett said.

The question now is where that examination will take place, and under what circumstances: Will Starr indict Lewinsky, or will he bring her to testify before the grand jury with some form of immunity?

Lewinsky's lawyers last month lost a court battle to enforce an immunity deal they claimed prosecutors agreed to in February. They insist there have been no negotiations with Starr's staff in months, but in recent days lawyers William H. Ginsburg and Nathaniel H. Speights have publicly moderated their criticism of prosecutors.

The Lewinsky family is reportedly looking to hire a new criminal lawyer amid signs it has concluded that Lewinsky now faces the imminent possibility of indictment if she does not make a deal and tell her story to the grand jury. Potential charges could include perjury, obstruction and subornation of perjury for allegedly pressing Tripp to lie in the Jones case.

"We are anticipating the full boat," Ginsburg said last week. "We are assuming there will be a grand jury appearance and . . . we are assuming there will be an indictment."

Lawyers who have watched the case said the parade of key witnesses before the grand jury has about reached its end, with only Francis D. Carter, Lewinsky's first lawyer, and Tripp yet to be called. Starr has been seeking Clinton's account since February, but the president has shown no willingness to testify.

Starr appears to be gearing up to bring in more lawyers and embark on new court activity. He is looking to expand his office space substantially, according to an official at the General Services Administration, and he could choose to move some operations to Alexandria if he decides to bring an indictment against Lewinsky in federal court there. The Virginia federal court has a reputation for a speedy "rocket docket" that could move her case to trial more quickly than in the federal court in the District.

Much of what has gone on in Starr's grand jury investigation is impossible to discern from the outside. The proceedings are secret, and only the witnesses themselves are free to reveal what they were asked and what they said. Few who have appeared on the courthouse steps have acknowledged knowing much of anything, and most have declined to discuss what they said.

Those who do speak publicly may or may not be telling the truth, said Barrett, recalling his days as a prosecutor in the Iran-contra investigation. "People would often walk out of the grand jury and lie to reporters," he said.

Several witnesses have been called repeatedly to testify. Some, such as Jordan and Currie, are at the center of the probe. Prosecutors may want multiple interviews with less prominent figures, such as lower-level White House aides and support staff, either because they are providing a good deal of information or because the prosecutors suspect they may not be telling the truth.

Yesterday the grand jury heard for the second time from former White House legislative affairs director John L. Hilley, who ran the office where Lewinsky worked for five months before her transfer to the Pentagon press office. Elizabeth Bailey, who handles applications for political jobs at the Defense Department, also testified.

In addition to White House aides, other witnesses Starr has focused on include:

Lewinsky friends who have been summoned to tell the grand jury what she confided in them about any relationship with the president. Those who have testified include other White House interns, a friend Lewinsky frequently exchanged e-mail correspondence with who now lives in Tokyo, and Lewinsky's mother Marcia Lewis -- who, Tripp has told associates, knew about her daughter's assertions of an affair with the president and her plans to lie about it under oath.

Prospective employers. Investigators have spent time in New York taking sworn testimony from executives who were pressed to hire Lewinsky, including officials at Revlon Inc., where she was ultimately offered a position.

Her job search was orchestrated by Jordan, who, according to his associates, did so after a request from Currie that he assumed originated with Clinton himself. Jordan has said he kept the president advised of his progress in December and January.

Hence, the phone records: Prosecutors, having subpoenaed phone records from the companies, Jordan's law firm, the White House and Lewinsky, can try to paint a detailed picture for the grand jury of the timing and sequence of events as pressure mounted for testimony from Lewinsky and Tripp in the Jones case.

Staff writer Peter Baker and staff researcher Ben White contributed to this report.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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