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Willey Passed Polygraph on Clinton Encounter

By Leef Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 13, 1999; Page A11

Former White House volunteer Kathleen Willey passed a polygraph examination in September 1998 in which she said President Clinton had touched her breasts and placed her hand on his groin, according to documents unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

However, Willey was asked only if the touching occurred, not whether the alleged Nov. 29, 1993, encounter with the president was consensual or, as she alleges, against her will.

The Sept. 15 test was Willey's second polygraph. The first exam, administered six days earlier, was ruled "inconclusive" by federal agents, who said Willey demonstrated a "lack of consistent, specific and significant physiological responses."

In that test, Willey was asked whether she was "making up" any of the information she provided about Clinton allegedly touching her and whether she was "lying" about the president placing her hand on his groin. Clinton has adamantly denied Willey's charges.

Willey answered "no" to both questions, but in their final report, test administrators said that "no determination as to Ms. Willey's truthfulness can be made."

Former White House employee Linda R. Tripp spoke with Willey just as she emerged from the Oval Office meeting with Clinton and later testified before a grand jury that Willey did not appear to be a victim of sexual harassment, but rather a willing partner in the encounter.

The polygraph results were made public yesterday along with several other documents pertaining to Willey's role in the White House sex scandal. Among them were her March 10, 1998, testimony before a federal grand jury in the District, her affidavit filed in connection with Paula Jones's sexual harassment suit against Clinton, and Willey's March 6, 1998, immunity agreement with independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's office.

Willey testified last week in federal court in Alexandria against her former friend Julie Hiatt Steele, who was charged with lying under oath about conversations the two women had about Willey's encounter with the president. The case ended in mistrial Friday when jurors declared they were "hopelessly deadlocked" over whether Steele had obstructed justice and made false statements.

Steele contends that she first heard about Willey's alleged White House encounter in 1997, when Willey asked for corroboration of her story to a Newsweek reporter. Steele backed Willey on her story but later recanted and said Willey had asked her to lie.

Prosecutors maintained that Willey told Steele about the incident the day it allegedly happened and based their charges against Steele on that belief.

In both polygraph exams, according to court documents, Willey said she told Steele about her alleged encounter with the president shortly after it occurred. However, in the first exam, the documents said, Willey showed "deception" in her answer about subsequent conversations she says she had with Steele about the White House incident.

Investigators administering the second test found Willey's answers to be truthful.

Officials with Starr's office said yesterday that no decision has been made about whether to retry Steele.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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