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Clinton Denies Willey Accusation

September 21, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton, faced with fresh questions about a 1993 encounter with ex-White House volunteer Kathleen Willey, denied he made an unwanted sexual advance towards her but suggested that she pursued him, according to his grand jury testimony.

``She was not telling the truth,″ Clinton said in response to questions about Willey’s much-publicized account on ``60 Minutes.″

Willey, who was having financial difficulties in 1993, spoke to Clinton in the Oval Office about getting a paid job in the White House.

``She asked for the appointment with me. She asked for it repeatedly,″ the president said.

Deputy independent counsel Jackie Bennett asked Clinton if Willey made a sexual advance towards him.

Clinton said, ``On that day, no, she did not.″ Asked whether she did on some other day, Clinton said, ``I wouldn’t call it a sexual advance. She was always very friendly. But I never took it seriously.″

Clinton bristled at Bennett’s questions regarding Willey’s account, saying they ``betray the bias of this operation.″ He said information that came out after Willey’s appearance on ``60 Minutes″ showed she was not credible.

``You know what evidence was released after the `60 Minutes’ broadcast that I think pretty well shattered Kathleen Willey’s credibility. You know what people down in Richmond said about her,″ Clinton said.

The day after the 60 Minutes broadcast, the White House released letters Willey had written to Clinton after the encounter that were friendly and supportive of the president.

Bennett asked Clinton why the White House didn’t release the letters to the lawyers for Paula Jones, who’d requested various documents from Clinton about Willey.

Clinton said the letters were in White House files, so they were not covered by the Jones lawyers’ request for documents in his personal files.

``Eventually we did make, of course, all this public. And it was damaging to Ms. Willey and her credibility. ...It turned out that she tried to sell this story and make all this money,″ he said. ``When I saw how many letters and phone calls and messages there were that totally undercut her account, I was surprised.″

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