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Lewinsky’s New Legal Team Huddles With Starr’s Office

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Less than a week after taking over the defense of their high-profile client, lawyers for former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky conferred for several hours on Tuesday with top deputies of independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.

The session indicates that both Starr’s office and Lewinsky’s newly hired lawyers--Jacob A. Stein and Plato Cacheris--are quickly identifying what it will take to complete an immunity deal, according to lawyers familiar with the matter.

While saying that significant progress can be made, they cautioned against speculating that a deal is close to fruition.

Starr’s prosecutors have said that they want “complete, truthful and accurate information” from Lewinsky. Translated, this would amount to testimony from Lewinsky about both the nature of her relationship with President Clinton and whether she was enlisted to help in a cover-up.

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In particular, prosecutors want to know how she came to possess a list of “talking points” that appear to encourage false testimony.

Also Tuesday, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., the former golfing partner of Clinton who took extraordinary steps to help Lewinsky, completed his fifth appearance before the Washington grand jury that is hearing evidence in the investigation.

Jordan has been a central witness because he lined up Lewinsky’s first lawyer in Washington and helped arrange a job offer for her. Jordan did this in December and January, when lawyers representing Paula Corbin Jones, a former Arkansas government employee suing Clinton for sexual harassment, were seeking to question Lewinsky.

Jordan said Tuesday that an aide to Starr told him he probably would not be recalled for further testimony. After testifying, Jordan spoke briefly to reporters but fielded no questions.

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“When I came here in . . . early March,” Jordan said, “I said that I helped Miss Lewinsky get a lawyer. I helped her get a job. I had assurances that there was no sexual relationship. And I did not tell her to lie. That was the truth then and that is the truth today.”

Lewinsky denied in a sworn statement dated Jan. 7 that she ever engaged in sex with Clinton. The president, in a deposition given in a civil lawsuit on Jan. 17, also denied having sex with Lewinsky.

However, when negotiations on her behalf with Starr’s office were led by another lawyer, William H. Ginsburg of Los Angeles, Lewinsky indicated that she would acknowledge, in exchange for immunity from prosecution, engaging in oral sex with the president.

Lewinsky, who worked at the White House as an intern and then as a staff member in the legislative affairs office from June 1995 to April 1996, dismissed Ginsburg last week and hired Stein and Cacheris. She also continues to be served by Washington criminal lawyer Nathaniel H. Speights III.

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It also was learned Tuesday that Harold M. Ickes, Clinton’s former deputy White House chief of staff, has been summoned by Starr’s office to testify today before a grand jury in Alexandria, Va.

Ickes since January has assisted Clinton’s defense and public relations effort. In an interview, he said that he expects to be questioned about any knowledge he may have of whether a Clinton appointee improperly leaked information from the personnel file of Linda Tripp, a Pentagon worker and former friend of Lewinsky’s.

It was Tripp who alerted Starr’s office in early January of a possible Lewinsky-Clinton relationship.

One of Clinton’s personal lawyers, Robert S. Bennett, criticized Starr’s Whitewater investigation in remarks prepared for a speech Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

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“When you cut through it all, Mr. Starr is examining 15-year-old land deals and the sex life of a sitting president, which is absolutely nonsensical,” Bennett said. “Other countries think we’re devoid of our senses.”

Times staff writers Robert L. Jackson and Dennis Freeman contributed to this story.


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