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Clinton Aides Ordered To Testify

May 27, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal judge formally ordered two presidential aides to tell a grand jury about their discussions with President Clinton about Monica Lewinsky, calling it ``some of the most relevant and important evidence″ in the investigation, according to a document released Wednesday.

In rejecting the president’s efforts to block the testimony with an executive privilege claim, U.S. District Judge Norma Hollaway Johnson did give the White House a partial victory.

The judge concluded that a president’s conversations with aides about such a matter can be covered by the privilege. But then she added that Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr had proven that the testimony of aides Bruce Lindsey and Sidney Blumenthal was so essential to his probe that it had to be furnished despite the claim of privilege.

The order compels Lindsey and Blumenthal to testify.

Prosecutors have ``provided a substantial factual showing to demonstrate its ‘specific need’ for the testimony,″ Johnson ruled in an order signed Tuesday but which lawyers had been told of more than a week ago.

Sources had confirmed the ruling more than a wek ago but the court formally released edited documents supporting it on Wednesday.

In her ruling, Johnson concluded that Starr was entitled to the evidence in part because it ``cannot feasibly be obtained elswhere.″ And she addressed the serious nature of what prosecutors are investigating _ whether Clinton encouraged Lewinsky to lie about an alleged presidential affair.

``If there were instructions from the president to obstruct justice or efforts to suborn perjury, such actions likely took the form of conversations involving the president’s closest advisers,″ she wrote.

``Additionally, if the president disclosed to a senior adviser that he committed perjury, or suborned perjury, such a disclosure not only was unlikely to be recorded on paper, but it also would constitute some of the most relevant and important evidence to the grand jury investigation,″ Johnson wrote.

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