As her book is released, Monica Lewinsky is interviewed on TV

Lewinsky rails against Starr, Clinton - Ex-intern was treated like abused child, biographer tells.

-- Combined News Reports --

March 4 - After Monica Lewinsky leaped into the limelight Wednesday with a tell-all TV interview of her affair with President Bill Clinton, her biographer spoke with NBC "Today" show Thursday, describing her as "a smart girl who's made foolish choices" and claiming that her hatred of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr is well-founded. Much like a child abused by her father, Lewinsky still lives in fear of the prosecutor, the author said.

DISCLOSING AN ABORTION and thoughts of suicide, Monica Lewinsky gave the world an unabashed account of her life Wednesday. In both the television interview and a separate book, the 25-year-old former White House intern spoke openly of sexual encounters with the president and several other men.
Monica Lewinsky on TV

In a much anticipated television interview with Barbara Walters of ABC's 20/20, Lewinsky said she was devastated that Clinton did not mention her when he apologized to the nation.

Asked whether Clinton gave the impression that she simply serviced him, Lewinsky replied: That was the impression he gave.

Lewinsky broke down and cried when she described how the revelations of her affair had hurt those close to her. People have no idea what this has done ... that behind the name Monica Lewinsky there is a person, there is a family. ... It was so destructive. She indicated that she no longer was in love with Clinton, saying the turning point was when she learned that Clinton had described her as a stalker who had demanded sex. That was the defining moment when I really knew I fell out of love with him. I knew at that moment that he was definitely not the person I thought he was.

She also said she now regards the president to be a much bigger liar than I ever thought.

While Lewinsky said in the interview that she was too afraid to talk about Starr, she was intensely critical of him in Andrew Morton's Monica's Story, which was officially released Thursday.

Morton, who was also Princess Diana's biographer, told Today that Lewinsky is a smart girl who's made foolish choices.

Lewinsky detests Starr because of how he intimidated her parents — reaching a point where even they thought about suicide, Morton claimed.

Starr's team and FBI agents essentially terrorized Lewinsky when they kept her in a hotel room for questioning on Jan. 16, 1998, Morton added, she felt like committing suicide, within three hours she was actively considering whether to throw herself out of the 10th floor window.

Morton said Lewinsky's relationship with Starr's team is like an abused child with an abusive parent.

As for the 20/20 interview, Morton said Lewinsky had smiled too much but attributed that to her nervousness.

Lewinsky said that Starr's office was sick for asking so many detailed questions about her sexual encounters with the president and said when Starr's impeachment report came out on Capitol Hill, I really felt raped and physically ill with myself. ... I just felt that the world looked at me as a whore, she said. I was just a pawn used to get the president, she added.

In the book, she also accused Starr of engaging in dubious tactics by trying to coerce her cooperation during a first confrontation in January 1998.

She said that first meeting made her so distraught that she considered hurling herself from the 10th floor window of the hotel room where prosecutors interviewed her, and later weighed fleeing the country with her mother.


Lewinsky told Walters that, even now with a promise from prosecutors that she won't be charged, she is afraid of doing something to lose my immunity. Showing Americans a far different personality than the stern witness forced to testify before a grand jury and by videotape at the impeachment trial, Lewinsky was animated and smiled frequently during the TV interview. At other times she was blushing and professing embarrassment.

Both the Clintons left Washington during a day their friends and aides admitted would be painful, the president went to a fund-raiser in New Jersey the first lady tested the political waters in New York where she's considering a bid for U.S. Senate.


Lewinsky's book, written by Princess Diana's biographer with the former intern's cooperation, criticized Starr for obtaining a copy of her false affidavit denying an affair with Clinton before it was filed in court.

The book accuses the prosecutor of colluding with Paula Jones in obtaining the affidavit. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show Starr recently told Congress that he had gotten an early copy from a lawyer for Linda Tripp and not from Mrs. Jones' camp.

Her book spared no words for Starr's prosecutors, deriding one as a revolting specimen of humanity and another as pit-bull terrier. Jones' lawyers had been given a copy of the affidavit four days before the Starr episode. Asked Wednesday about the affidavit, Tripp's spokesman, Philip Coughter, said his client has no comment on the matter at this time.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Starr's prosecutors improperly discussed a possible immunity agreement with Lewinsky without her attorney present and failed to disclose contacts with Jones' lawyers to the department before it gave Starr permission to investigate.

Understandably, Starr's tactics have been a matter for grave public concern, Lewinsky's book said. The whole exchange about immunity was a waste of time except insofar as it exposed the dubious methods employed by Starr's investigators.

Her book spared no words for Starr's prosecutors, deriding one as a revolting specimen of humanity and another as pit-bull terrier.

Deputy Independent Counsel Jackie Bennett said Wednesday he could not comment on the book because his office hadn't seen it.

But in the document sent to Congress two months ago, Starr disputed claims his office had mistreated Lewinsky, saying that while she was understandably upset and distraught by her first encounter with prosecutors, it was due to the gravity of the situation.

Lewinsky also discloses in the book that she and her mother briefly considered fleeing across the border to Canada to escape Starr's investigation but that idea was discarded as soon as it was mentioned, because they believed that the FBI would have every airport and border post staked out.


Tripp, the friend who betrayed Lewinsky by secretly taping her talking about the Clinton affair and then taking the tapes to Starr, came in for her own sharp criticism.

When she poured out her story to Tripp, Monica thought she was confiding in a friend. Instead, she was gently being lured into a trap, the unwitting bait with which to catch a president, the book said.

Nor does the president, whom Lewinsky said she instantly fell in love with when meeting him along a rope line at a 1995 event, escape tough words.

Now I see him as a selfish man who lies all the time. That makes me very angry and resentful, she said in the book.

In a two-hour interview with Walters, Lewinsky questioned the sincerity of the president's apology for the entire episode, saying that as a politician, I think he's sorry he got caught.

Lewinsky said in the interview, an event that ABC hoped would draw such a huge audience that it raised its ad rates, that she felt like a piece of trash the day Clinton was forced to admit their affair on national television and apologized to the nation, but not to her.

I felt dirty and I felt used and I was disappointed, Lewinsky said.

She also acknowledged the falsity of her first affidavit. I think I knew I was lying but ... I had no idea what all the different elements of perjury were at the time, she said.

As for the stained dress that became key evidence in the case against Clinton, Lewinsky insisted she kept it, not as a trophy or incriminating evidence, but rather to save money on dry cleaning. She said the dress was a joke among her friends.

We even laughed about it, Lewinsky told Walters. With one I even joked, gee, maybe he'll pay for the dry cleaning. She said now, however, she would burn the dress if she ever gets it back.


Lewinsky apologized to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and the nation for my part in this past year's ordeal.

I wouldn't dream of asking Chelsea and Mrs. Clinton to forgive me, Lewinsky said. But I would ask them to know that I am very sorry for what happened and for what they've been through.

She told Walters that she didn't feel cheap. From the beginning there was a very intense sexual attraction, and I don't necessarily think a sexual attraction is a bad thing, she says. I didn't feel that way — and I still don't.

She called the president her sexual soul mate. Lewinsky said her relationship with Clinton was about a man and a woman, and not a president and an intern.


A year and a half later, Clinton told Lewinsky the affair was over on May 24, 1997, a day she called D-day, or dump day.

I was heartbroken, she said. I didn't want the relationship to end. You want so badly to hold onto this thing that you want.

Lewinsky said that at that time, he confided in her as he had not before, about difficulties in his life.

She said he told her he had led a life of lies and deception since he was a small boy, and had had hundreds of affairs. Clinton told her they had to end their affair because it wasn't right in the eyes of God, she said.

When Lewinsky learned that her affair was soon to be investigated, she said she was filled with fear that the world would learn about the affair.

After months of getting Lewinsky's story from cold grand jury transcripts, Americans got to hear her version in two venues: ABC aired the interview it recorded 11 days ago while her publisher provided the news media its first copies of the book.

In both, Lewinsky volunteered detail about intensely personal matters in her life.

She acknowledged she had an abortion after becoming pregnant during a three-month affair with a fellow Pentagon worker. The abortion occurred in the latter part of 1996, while she was still seeing Clinton in secret meetings at the White House.

She also detailed another affair she had with a married man in Oregon while still in college, disclosing that when the romance was ending she had a fling with his younger brother to spite him.

The details may be too much for a public already weary of the story. Nine out of 10 people said in a Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday that they would not be interested in reading her book. And almost two-thirds said they were not interested in watching her TV interview.

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