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Star Ethics In Government Star

Saturday, Febuary 7, 1998

Clinton's 'Counterattack' Fizzles
Accuses Government Prosecutor of
Leaking 'Facts' of Secret Tryst

By William Heartstone, Daily Republican Staff Writer

WASHINGTON DESK - It was a busy Friday for president William Clinton and a few other people. It all started early in the day when Clinton refused to explain his relationship with ex-intern Monica Lewinsky again. He did, however, take time to make a pointed attack on those he depicted as '...leaking unlawfully, grand jury testimony. I never asked anybody to do anything but tell the truth...' he said.

Clinton's emotional attempt to deny further wrongdoing came amid new allegations that he summoned his secretary, Betty Currie, to the White House the day after his deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case to practice pretended recollections of Lewinsky's contacts with Clinton at the White House to which Currie is a witness.

The president did not address other questions raised in the news stories about the circumstances under which Currie somehow retrieved Clinton's presents given to Lewinsky, sought under subpoena. The White House declined all comment Friday on the gift debacle. Clinton made another truth-challenged admission, when he told reporters '... I was pleased that Ms. Currie's attorney today stated that she was not aware of any unethical conduct.'

Lewinsky's attorney, William Ginsburg, said late Friday that he had not heard from Starr and had not changed the terms under which he would allow Lewinsky to tell the whole story.

On another front, president Clinton's private attorney threatened to take Whitewater government prosecutors to court, accusing them of leaking secret grand jury information obtained from White House witnesses about allegations of a secret sexual tryst between Clinton and a political intern, Monica Lewinsky.

Later in the day independent prosecutor, Kenneth W. Starr held a press conference to respond to the president's accusations. Starr described his legal and ethical obligations in the Monica Lewinsky case. He told reporters he could not respond concerning the status of '...someone who might be a witness...that goes to the heart of the grand jury process...Those are obligations of law... they're obligations of ethics...I am under a legal obligation not to talk about facts going before the grand jury ...centuries old. It was ordained at the founding of the American republic. Part of that is, guard the confidentiality of that process.'

Meanwhile, On Friday a federal judge reduced the prison sentence for president Clinton's original chief accuser in the Whitewater case to the time he has already served plus one month of home detention.

David Hale was to be released from a federal halfway house today after prosecutors said he should be rewarded for his assistance in Starr's 3 1/2-year, $30 million investigation of Clinton and his business associates.

The judge also waived a $10,000 fine and said he would consider forgiving a $2 million restitution order.

Hale, whose lending company made loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, declined to comment as he left the federal courthouse today.

Deputy independent counsel W. Hickman Ewing said Hale provided '...substantial and continuing cooperation' in a wide-reaching probe that in one trial netted two of Clinton's business partners and then Gov. Jim Guy Tucker(D), Clinton's successor as chief executive in Arkansas.

During the trial, Hale testified that he expected Clinton to help repay an illegal loan Hale made to Susan McDougal in 1986. Before the trial, Hale also had said that Clinton pressured him to make the loan, but on the witness stand he said only that Clinton was present at a meeting where the loan was discussed. Clinton has denied the accusations.

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