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Clinton Set To Take Starr To Court

February 7, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Stung by Clinton camp charges about damaging leaks, Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr pledged today he will ``find out the facts″ but insisted he is running his investigation of the president in a professional manner.

Clinton said Friday that secret information from the investigation was ``leaking unlawfully,″ and his personal attorney, David Kendall, pledged to go to court to punish prosecutors. The leaks have described grand jury testimony about Starr’s investigation into whether Clinton had an affair with a young intern, Monica Lewinsky, and sought to cover it up.

``The leaking by your office has reached an intolerable point,″ Kendall said in a 15-page letter to Starr, eight of which detailed alleged leaks. Kendall said the leaks were part of a pattern of ``selectively releasing both information and falsehoods in an attempt to pressure, manipulate and intimidate witnesses and possible witnesses.″

He said he would seek legal relief as early as Monday.

Starr returned to his Washington office on Saturday, and elaborated on his Friday night letter which said the leak allegations have ``no factual basis″ and are reckless.

``We try to carry on this investigation in the most professional way,″ Starr told reporters. ``Charges have been made. We’ll look into those charges but let’s find out the facts _ let’s find out the facts.″

He declined comment on the status of his negotiations with Ms. Lewinsky’s lawyer _ ``I can’t comment. There may be litigation involved,″ he said.

Meanwhile, Starr’s investigators pressed ahead, reportedly sending FBI agents to Pittsburgh to interview Ms. Lewinsky’s teen-age brother at college. Their purpose was not immediately clear.

In California, Ms. Lewinsky’s legal team was working on a legal motion to force Starr to abide by the terms of a signed immunity offer that prosecutors later rescinded.

Attorney William Ginsburg said he was ``moving appropriately″ to enforce the deal. Asked whether he was going to court, he said: ``That’s where you would enforce it is in a courtroom.″

Both Ms. Lewinsky and Clinton have denied in legal proceedings connected with the Paula Jones sexual harassment case that they had a sexual relationship.

But prosecutors have secretly recorded conversations in which Ms. Lewinsky, sources have said, told a friend that she had oral sex several times with Clinton. She also was taped saying that the president and his close friend, Vernon Jordan, encouraged her to lie about it under oath.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Ms. Lewinsky, Jordan and Clinton conspired to commit perjury and tried to get others to lie as well.

The president, for his part, stopped short of pinning the leak on Starr’s office Friday during a joint news conference with visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Nonetheless, he complained about those ``leaking unlawfully out of the grand jury proceeding.″

Clinton declined to provide any new detail about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky or to describe a conversation with secretary Betty Currie. But he strongly rejected any suggestion the latter was designed to influence Mrs. Currie’s testimony.

``I never asked anybody to do anything but tell the truth,″ Clinton said.

He replied with a resolute ``Never″ when a reporter asked whether the wave of allegations would ever lead him to consider resigning.

The statements by Clinton and Kendall were part of a broad Democratic offensive after days of general silence, a change in strategy that comes amid signs that Starr’s investigation is making progress.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, asked Attorney General Janet Reno to investigate whether Starr should be removed or disciplined for ``repeated instances of alleged misconduct and abuses of power.″

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