WASHINGTON: Today a federal judge has announced that eleven court cases associated with independent counsel Ken Starr’s investigation into President Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky will, in part, be made public. This action is in response to a request from CNN. It appears, in reading the decision, that CNN is seeking parallels between the Kenneth Starr – Monica Lewinsky and Mueller – Russian investigations.
In particular how the proceedings treated the attorney-client privilege.
The judge’s opinion
Chief Judge Beryl Howell’s opinion opens part of the 20-year-old legal proceedings around President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, a young White House Intern.
Howell’s decision, in part, reads:
“While the continued secrecy of judicial opinions regarding grand jury matters is necessary to protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation, that need for secrecy decreases once the investigation ends and continues to diminish over time. The public has an overarching interest in the accessibility of judicial opinions.”
The Freedom of Information request filed by CNN seeks records of testimony from former Clinton aides and advisers Bruce Lindsey, Sidney Blumenthal, Nancy Hernreich, Lanny Breuer, and Clinton attorney and private investigation Terry Lenzner, It also seeks records of the testimony from the Secret Service, White House documents, and the presidential subpoena.
The documents may be relevant to procedures for obtaining testimony in special counsel Robert Mueller’s current Russia probe.
The Starr investigation of President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky
The Starr investigation led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States. Charges included one perjury and one for obstruction of justice charge.
The charges were the result of a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment against Clinton in 1994. Clinton’s presidential term ran from January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001, sought to postpone the trial until after he left office.
In May 1997 the Supreme Court unanimously ordered the case to proceed. Jones’ lawyers supported her claims that Clinton exposed himself to her by proving the behavior pattern Bill had with women.
Monica Lewinsky, former intern and Department of Defense employee, shared information with former U.S. civil servant, Linda Tripp. It alleged that she was having a sexual relationship with the President. Tripp shared this information with Jones’ lawyers. This led to the addition of Lewinsky to their witness list in their action against the President, in December 1997.
The Starr report says that after Lewinsky appeared on the witness list, Clinton began taking steps to conceal their relationship. Lewinsky was encouraged to file a false affidavit, use cover stories and conceal gifts she had received from the President.
Bill Clinton: I did not have sex with that woman
In a sworn deposition on January 17, 1998, Clinton vehemently denied that he was ever alone with the intern, much less that he had or was having a “sexual relationship,” “sexual affair,” or “sexual relations” with Lewinsky. As proof, Clinton Lawyer, Robert Bennett, offered the false affidavit as proof that there was no sex between Clinton and Lewinsky.
Once news media confirmed the affair, Clinton publicly stated, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
Months later, Clinton admitted that his relationship with Lewinsky was “wrong” and “not appropriate.”
CNN’s End Game
With the Mueller – Russia probe lacking results that lead to Trump’s impeachment, CNN’s request for Starr’s documents is questionable. It genuinely looks as they are fishing for precedence for the Robert Mueller – Russia investigation that dogs President Trump.
The report seems to imply that CNN may be considering how Starr was able to compel a sitting president to testify.
The Starr-Clinton investigation also dealt with the attorney-client privilege enjoyed by the President and attorney and private investigator Terry Lenzer. Lenzer, as Cohen is now, claiming attorney-client privilege.