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CLINTON UNDER FIRE

Phone Sex by Clinton Alleged

January 24, 1998|RICHARD A. SERRANO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Monica S. Lewinsky claims that President Clinton frequently telephoned her at home late at night, engaged in telephone sex with her and eventually devastated her emotionally by becoming involved with several other women, a person close to the matter said Friday after hearing portions of Lewinsky's secretly tape-recorded conversations.

The source, who listened to about 10% of the nearly 20 hours of tapes turned over to the independent counsel's office, said Lewinsky is heard saying that she engaged only in oral sex with the president, and that Clinton told her he did not consider such an act to constitute a sexual affair.

"Monica never claims it was intercourse," the source said. Clinton has denied he had a "sexual relationship" with the former White House intern.

Also Friday, the attorney for Linda Tripp, who made the secret recordings while conversing with Lewinsky, described a three-page, typewritten "talking points" summary he said Lewinsky gave his client last week to lay out how Tripp could safely deny that Clinton was participating in extramarital affairs.

The attorney, James Moody, said the summary is in two parts: one written in the third person with instructions on how to skirt the truth; the other is conveniently written in the first person so Tripp could sign or copy it as her own legal affidavit.

Moody said Lewinsky gave Tripp the three-page document during a ride home from the Pentagon, where Tripp works as a public affairs specialist and where Lewinsky also was employed at the time. He added, however, that Lewinsky did not specifically tell her to commit perjury when she gives a legal deposition in Paula Corbin Jones' sexual-harassment case against Clinton.

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"Monica gave them to her," Moody said of the talking points. "She did not explain them. But the reference was that this is what you should do."

The document, which, like the tapes has been turned over to the office of Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, appears to lie at the heart of the federal investigation into whether Clinton and his confidant, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., were coaching Lewinsky to commit perjury to shield the president from legal culpability in the Jones lawsuit.

Moody said the document is written in legalese. But he said that it appears to be too sophisticated to have been written by someone like 24-year-old Lewinsky, who has no background in the law, while at the same time seems too amateurish to have been penned by a lawyer.

"In my judgment, Monica did not write all of this," he said. "It's kind of mixed. They [the instructions] are not quite good enough for a lawyer and not quite bad enough for a 24-year-old."

The latest sexual misconduct allegations involving Clinton center on Lewinsky.

On Jan. 7, she gave an affidavit in the Jones case in which she denied having a sexual affair with the president.

But then this week sources revealed that Lewinsky was secretly tape-recorded by her friend, Tripp, and that on the tape, Lewinsky openly admitted the sexual relationship. Tripp has not spoken publicly about her role.

But the source who reviewed portions of the tapes told The Times on Friday that the taping began last August and continued into last week, when Tripp approached Starr's office. On Jan. 13 she was outfitted with a microphone for prosecutors to tape one last conversation with Lewinsky. In all, there are 17 tape cassettes.

"It's girl-talk, it's everything," the source said of the tapes he heard. "It's such a range.

"Monica is whining. She is whining that he won't spend enough time with her. Or how to get a package to him to the White House, or the excitement about a meeting they had.

"Or she is jealous about other girlfriends. Monica is jealous. She's jealous that they are spending time with him, and the assumption is that they are getting some special treatment that she's not.

"She comes off like a whining girlfriend. She feels moved out."

Those descriptions follow similar excerpts in Newsweek magazine, which reportedly has listened to some excerpts from the tapes. In one of those excerpts, the magazine reported Lewinsky referred to Clinton both as "the creep" and "schmucko."

The source also said that Lewinsky revealed on the tapes that Clinton frequently called her at home and liked to discuss sex with her.

"Monica said they had phone sex," the source said. "That there was a lot of phone sex."

The source said the tapes include at least three instances in which Lewinsky and Tripp discuss messages Clinton allegedly left on Lewinsky's home answering machine. "There are message machine tapes," the source said.

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On the Tripp recordings, Lewinsky recalls that Clinton said "things like I wish you were there at home so I could talk to you." But the source said the recordings he heard do not include any playback of the Clinton messages and it could not be determined whether Lewinsky has saved those messages.

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