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White House Accuses Starr of Leaks

February 1, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ As House prosecutors prepared to question Monica Lewinsky under oath, White House lawyers headed for court today to accuse Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr of violating grand jury secrecy laws.

Starr’s office has engaged in illegal, partisan leaking of secret information, President Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, told reporters. He apparently referred to a weekend story in The New York Times saying Starr has concluded that Clinton can be indicted while in office.

``We are filing today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia a motion to show cause why ... Starr and members of is staff should not be held in contempt for improper violations of grand jury secrecy,″ Kendall said.

The story, coming at the time the Senate is trying to find a way to end Clinton’s impeachment trial, drew criticism from senators from both parties.

``I thought that the timing was extremely unfortunate and that it was inappropriate to come out while the Senate is concluding the president’s trial,″ said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Starr spokesman Charles Bakaly today denied Starr’s office was the source of the story. ``We have no interest in interposing ourselves in the Senate’s business,″ he said on ABC’s ``Good Morning America.″

Kendall issued his statement at the White House before driving a few blocks north to the Mayflower hotel, where Ms. Lewinsky was to respond to questions from Rep. Ed Bryant, R-Tenn., one of the House prosecutors at the impeachment trial.

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