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N.Y. Job Offer Coincides With Lewinsky Affidavit

By Amy Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 31, 1998; Page A13

On Jan. 7, former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky signed an affidavit denying she had a sexual relationship with President Clinton. It was a document of great legal and political value to the president, but for the next nine days, it would remain locked away in her lawyer's office.

In the meantime, Lewinsky on Jan. 13 received a letter of great value to her own future: Revlon, which had granted her a job interview at the urging of Clinton's friend Vernon E. Jordan Jr., was offering her just the kind of corporate job in New York she had been trying to land for months.

Only when the offer was in hand did Lewinsky's lawyer -- whom Lewinsky had hired in December, also under Jordan's guidance -- dispatch the affidavit on Jan. 16 to a courthouse in Little Rock, where she was being asked to testify in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case against the president.

Were these events connected? As new information emerges about Lewinsky's activities in the days before she became the unexpected focus of independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's investigation, the intersection of her New York job search and her struggle to avoid testifying in the sexual harassment lawsuit is striking.

But even careful scrutiny of what is known about the recent chronology of Lewinsky's life offers no definitive evidence. For example, sources said yesterday that while Lewinsky's lawyer Francis D. Carter waited until Jan. 16 to submit her affidavit, he did notify Jones's lawyers of what it would say on Jan. 12 -- before Revlon's formal job offer but two or three days after Revlon extended a verbal offer, sources said.

If Lewinsky and her lawyer had held back her affidavit from Jan. 7 to Jan. 16, in hopes of maximizing her leverage in securing a job, it seems unlikely that they would have disclosed the statement's contents to Jones's lawyers.

In the current climate -- with subpoenas flying and Clinton's presidency at stake -- the principal characters in this drama are not discussing publicly what they know.

One of Starr's many tasks will be to determine whether Lewinsky, 24, received a career boost from high places in an attempt to influence her testimony in the Jones case. Investigators will have to sort through many intriguing questions. Among them: Was Lewinsky, or someone acting on her behalf, refusing to hand in her affidavit until a job she had been promised came through?

Or, was the timing of Revlon's offer and her effort to defend the president -- in spite of her earlier descriptions of an 18-month relationship with him in conversations a friend had secretly taped -- simply an uncanny coincidence?

And, why did Revlon offer her the job, a low-ranking position in its public relations department, while two other companies with which Jordan had arranged interviews for Lewinsky did not consider her a serious candidate?

Regardless of cause and effect, it is clear that for a window of nine days earlier this month, Lewinsky was at the heart of a rapid chain of events, culminating in an FBI sting the same day Carter filed her affidavit. Some of these events took place with her knowledge and involvement. Others, which would prove highly damaging to Lewinsky, were happening beyond her control -- or her awareness -- as one of her closest friends secretly began cooperating with Starr.

These events were the finale of a Washington adventure for Lewinsky that began when she arrived as a White House intern in the chief of staff's office in 1995. By October 1997, more than a year after she had been transferred to a Pentagon job, she was being drawn more closely into the Jones case and was beginning to receive help from Jordan and presidential aides in her New York job search.

Early in November, Lewinsky told her bosses in the Pentagon's public affairs office that she planned to resign, citing a desire to spend more time with her mother, with whom she had shared a Watergate apartment. Increasingly, her mother had been spending time in New York, since she had begun to date Peter Strauss, a communications company executive, early in 1997. By December, Jordan's efforts to secure Lewinsky a job in Manhattan had swung into high gear. But his first two attempts on her behalf proved unproductive.

Thomas Schick, executive vice president for corporate affairs and communications at American Express, where Jordan sits on the board of directors, interviewed her in Washington on Dec. 23. He told her during the interview that the company had no suitable openings.

An American Express spokesman said the company had no jobs in New York that matched Lewinsky's relatively low level of job experience, and its openings for more junior positions were in other cities.

The second corporate opportunity arranged by Jordan was at Burson-Marsteller, a large public relations firm, where she was interviewed twice in December but was not seriously considered, sources said. One source said yesterday he was uncertain whether the firm had an opening at the time, but added that "there is always an opening" for candidates the company likes. With Revlon, where Jordan also is a board member, the outcome proved different. Lewinsky was interviewed on Dec. 30 and again on Jan. 8 or 9. Within a day of the second interview, according to a source close to Revlon, she had her offer. A Jan. 13 letter confirmed it.

"Without knowing the details of what Vernon Jordan did or did not do, a director asking a CEO to do him a favor and help someone you know get a job is not that unusual," said Harvard Business School professor Jay Lorsch.

But as Revlon's offer appeared, Lewinsky's fortunes were unraveling. The day before the written offer arrived, Lewinsky's friend from her Pentagon days, Linda R. Tripp, had given Starr tapes from a series of conversations in which Lewinsky had described the alleged relationship with the president.

According to people familiar with the case, Carter sent the lawyers a letter on Jan. 12, telling them his client had vowed that a sexual relationship with Clinton never took place. The sources said Carter shared the information in hopes of persuading Jones's lawyers not to depose her because she could not help them establish that Clinton had shown a pattern of sexual misconduct.

On Jan. 13, Tripp and Lewinsky met at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pentagon City; the FBI wired Tripp, and for the first time Starr's investigators heard firsthand Lewinsky discuss her alleged relationship with Clinton.

On Jan. 14, Tripp and Lewinsky saw each other again, and Lewinsky delivered a set of "talking points" to her confidante, urging Tripp to lie in testimony in the Jones case.

By the next day, Starr asked the Justice Department for permission for broaden his Whitewater investigation to include Lewinsky.

And the day after that, as Carter was sending Lewinsky's affidavit to Little Rock along with a motion to quash her subpoena, a three-judge panel approved Attorney General Janet Reno's request to allow Starr to expand his investigation. Within hours, Lewinsky was lured by Tripp into a sting at Pentagon City, where she was questioned for nearly nine hours by FBI agents and Starr's prosecutors about the tapes.By the end of the night, Carter no longer was Lewinsky's lawyer, and the question of the affidavit's truthfulness was about to become central in a national scandal. Once that scandal became public, the job offer Lewinsky had won was quickly rescinded.

Staff writers Peter Baker, Brett Fromson and Susan Schmidt contributed to this report.

Lewinsky's Job Search

Over the last two months, amid depositions and affidavits, President Clinton's friend Vernon E. Jordan Jr. helped arrange interviews for Monica Lewinsky with at least three firms.

Dec. 5: Paula Jones's attorneys send Clinton's attorney, Robert S. Bennett, a witness list with Lewinsky's name on it.

Dec. 10 or 11: Jordan calls American Express on behalf of Lewinsky, and her resume arrives at the company Dec. 11.

Dec. 17: Lewinsky is subpoenaed by Paula Jones's lawyers. The same day, she receives a call from Thomas Schick, American Express's vice president of corporate affairs and communi-cations, to set up a job interview.

Dec. 23: Schick interviews Lewinsky in Washington; he tells her there is no job for her.

Dec. 26: Lewinsky leaves Pentagon job.

Dec. 28: Lewinsky, cleared in by Clinton's secretary Betty Currie, visits the president at the White House.

Dec. 30: Lewinsky has interviews in New York, arranged by Jordan, with Revlon and Burson-Marsteller.

Jan. 7: Lewinsky signs an affidavit in the Jones case declaring she "never had a sexual relationship with the president." Her lawyer does not, however, submit the affidavit yet.

Jan. 8 or 9: Lewinsky has another interview with Revlon, and within a day or two they tell her they'd be interested in hiring her.

Jan. 12: Linda R. Tripp brings Kenneth W. Starr the tapes of her conversations with Lewinsky.

Jan. 13: At Starr's request, FBI agents wire Tripp and record her conversation with Lewinsky at the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The same day, Revlon sends Lewinsky a formal job offer.

Jan. 15: Starr requests permission from the Justice Department to expand his authority so he can investigate allegations that Lewinsky was involved in a sexual relationship with Clinton and the possibility that Clinton and Jordan suborned perjury and obstructed justice in the Jones case.

Jan. 16: A three-judge panel that oversees independent counsels approves Attorney General Janet Reno's request to expand Starr's mandate.

Starr's deputies have Tripp meet with Lewinsky again at the Ritz-Carlton. They intercept Lewinsky, and FBI agents and U.S. attorneys question her for eight or nine hours. She is offered an immunity deal, but it runs out at midnight.

Francis D. Carter, Lewinsky's lawyer, files a motion to quash the Jones subpoena with her affidavit. By the end of the day, Lewinsky fires Carter.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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