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First JFK intern affair, now Clinton-Lewinsky scandal returns to spotlight

clintonbill021512_optBY ADELE SAMMARCO
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

It has been 14 years since news broke about a young intern with the blue dress that was involved in a scandalous affair with the 42nd President of the United States.

Her name was Monica Lewinsky and then President Bill Clinton, at first, denied ever being intimate with the young woman by famously stating, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." in a nationally televised White House news conference.

Now, documentarians want to bring that affair back to life with in-depth interviews from White House staffers and confidantes who were around Clinton in the darkest days of his Presidency.

One such trusted aide, Betsey Wright, begged Clinton not to run for President because of all his past affairs.

Writer Gail Sheely said Wright had serious concerns stating, “The day before the press conference he was going to announce that he was going to run, Betsey Wright, his ferociously protective campaign manager, sat him down with a list of names of women and went through one after the other. ‘How many times? Where did you meet her? How likely is she to talk?” Clinton said for each name that ‘she’ll never say anything’, but Miss Wright replied, ‘But you don’t know that!’ Miss Wright supposedly told Clinton, ‘The problem is we’re not just talking about you, we’re talking about your wife, we’re talking about your child.’ She said I don’t think you can run.’”

Clinton eventually won the presidency in 1992, but six years later, his risky infidelities caught up to him as he became embroiled in a sex scandal with the 25 year old intern that would scar his Presidency for life.

Lewinsky alleged that between November, 1995 and March, 1997, she had nine sexual encounters with President Clinton that, according to her testimony, involved fellatio, anilingus, and other sexual acts which included the use of a cigar in the Oval Office, but that did not involve sexual intercourse.

This was not Clinton’s first indiscretion. He was confronted with allegations of sexual misconduct during his tenure as Governor of Arkansas, which included a civil lawsuit against him by former Arkansas state employee, Paula Jones, who alleged he had sexually harassed her.

Lewinsky's name surfaced during the discovery phase of the Jones case, when lawyers sought to show a pattern of behavior by Clinton that involved sexual relationships with other government employees.

In 1996, Lewinsky's bosses transferred her from the White House to the Pentagon because they felt she was spending too much time near the President.


Lewinsky then confided in co-worker, Linda Tripp, about her relationship with Clinton.

In 1997, Tripp began secretly recording their telephone conversations and that following year, after Lewinsky submitted an affidavit in the Paula Jones case denying any physical relationship with Clinton, she attempted to persuade Tripp to lie under oath. Tripp gave the tapes to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Starr then expanded his investigation to include investigating Lewinsky and Clinton for possible perjury in the Jones case.

Tripp convinced Lewinsky to save the gifts Clinton had given her during their affair, and not to dry clean what would later become known as "the blue dress" that had a semen stain from the President.

The investigation eventually led to Clinton's impeachment in 1998 by the House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal on all impeachment perjury and obstruction of justice charges in a three week senate trial.

According to the Daily Mail, when the Lewinsky scandal broke, Dick Morris, another of Clinton’s closest advisers, urged the President to tell the truth.

Morris said, “I said to him that the problem that presidents have is not the sin, it’s the cover-up and you should explore just telling the American people the truth. I said let me test it, let me run a poll, so I took a poll and I called him back and I said they will forgive the adultery, but they won’t easily forget you lied.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband were not interviewed for the documentary, however more than 70 other interviews were conducted, including former aides of the President.

Producer Barak Goodman said they also did not include interviews from Monica Lewinsky or Linda Tripp saying, "We felt it would tilt (the project) towards sensationalism," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The two-part, four hour documentary is set to air February 20th on PBS in the United States and England.

 

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