- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2002

President Clinton cut a deal on his last day in office to surrender his law license and avoid perjury charges on which federal prosecutors believed they could obtain a criminal conviction, according to a final report yesterday on the Monica Lewinsky investigation.
Independent counsel Robert W. Ray, in a report released by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, said prosecutors had concluded that "sufficient evidence existed to prosecute and that such evidence would probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction" on criminal charges that Mr. Clinton falsely denied having sex with Miss Lewinsky.
The report said the evidence included admissions by Mr. Clinton, who was impeached over the Lewinsky accusations but acquitted during a Senate trial, that he gave false answers under oath concerning his relationship with Miss Lewinsky, then a 22-year-old intern.
Mr. Clinton, according to the report, admitted to intentional misconduct and entered into an "Agreed Order of Discipline," acknowledging to a court in Arkansas, where he obtained his law license, that he did not tell the truth about his relationship with Miss Lewinsky.
The report said Mr. Clinton lied in a deposition presided over by U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright in a sexual-misconduct lawsuit filed by former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones. It was Judge Wright who administered the oath to Mr. Clinton.
"Three years after President Clinton testified in that deposition, he admitted that his knowingly evasive and misleading answers were prejudicial to the administration of justice and expressly acknowledged that some of his responses to deposition questions about Lewinsky were false," the report said.
According to the report, Mr. Ray's office determined that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute Mr. Clinton on criminal charges and to win a conviction but concluded that further proceedings against the president for his misconduct "should not be initiated."
That decision, the report said, was based on Mr. Clinton's admission of false testimony in the Jones suit, his acknowledgment that his conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Arkansas Supreme Court, the five-year suspension of his law license and the payment of a $25,000 fine to the Pulaski County Circuit Court in Arkansas.
Also, the report said, prosecutors considered the facts that Mr. Clinton paid a $90,000 civil contempt penalty ordered by Judge Wright, that he paid $850,000 in settlement to Mrs. Jones, that a federal court found he had engaged in "contemptuous conduct" and "the substantial public condemnation of President Clinton arising from his impeachment."
The report said Mr. Clinton, through his Washington attorney David Kendall, avoided prosecution with less than 24 hours remaining in his second term by admitting to his false testimony and agreeing to surrender his law license.
"President Clinton engaged in conduct that impeded the due administration of justice by testifying falsely under oath … that he could not recall ever being alone with Monica Lewinsky; and he had not had a sexual affair or engaged in sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky," the report said.
During his deposition in the Jones suit, Mr. Clinton swore that he could not recall ever being alone with Miss Lewinsky and that he had not had sexual relations with the young intern.
Mr. Clinton, whose testimony in the Jones case came just days after the tapes became public, vigorously denied the accusations, accusing the independent counsel's office and others of trying to smear him.
Eventually, Miss Lewinsky agreed to cooperate in the probe and gave prosecutors a stained blue dress from an encounter she had with Mr. Clinton in the Oval Office. The DNA on the dress matched Mr. Clinton's.
The Lewinsky investigation began in January 1998 when Pentagon employee Linda Tripp gave the independent counsel's office tapes of conversations she had with Miss Lewinsky about her affair with the president.
"It's not clear what the purpose of the report is other than to promote Robert Ray's Senate campaign, Monica Lewinsky's HBO special and the Paula Jones vs. Tonya Harding boxing match," Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said. "The release of the report is a nonevent. This investigation started as a political process, and it ends as a political process."
Mr. Kendall described the investigation of his client as "intense, expensive, partisan and long," adding that there was "nothing new in this report."
"It's time to move on," he said.
Mr. Ray, who has acknowledged a potential run against Democratic Sen. Robert G. Torricelli of New Jersey but has not announced his candidacy, was required under the Independent Counsel Statute to file a report with the three-judge panel in the Lewinsky probe.
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which brought impeachment charges against Mr. Clinton, called the release of the report a "welcome event."
"This report provides the public with a full explanation of the independent counsel's work and will permit the public to evaluate fully President Clinton's misconduct and the independent counsel's investigation," he said. "I am satisfied the independent counsel conducted a full, fair and nonpartisan investigation."
Mr. Clinton was impeached by the House, but the Senate later acquitted him deadlocking 50-50 on an obstruction of justice charge and voting 55-45 to clear him of perjury. The Senate trial followed a report by former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr that said there was "substantial and credible information" that justified impeachment.
The report also disclosed for the first time that a final report in the investigation of Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan Association known as the Whitewater probe was filed with the court in March 2001. Under the Independent Counsel Statute, reports filed with the court remain under seal until the panel orders them released.
The Whitewater probe centered on suspected fraud involving Mr. Clinton; first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat; and Madison owners James and Susan McDougal in an Arkansas land development. The McDougals were convicted in 1996 on fraud charges involving $3 million in bogus Madison loans. Mr. McDougal died in prison. Mrs. McDougal served 18 months for contempt for refusing to testify against the Clintons before the Whitewater grand jury.


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