For immediate release
March 24, 1999
New Information May Raise Questions
About Next Starr Prosecution
Kathleen Willey Fails Lie Detector Test -
Witnesses, Including Linda Tripp, Contradict Her Story
WASHINGTON, DC - National Public Radio® has obtained new information that may raise questions about another case being prosecuted by Kenneth Starr - the case set to go to trial this spring against Julie Hiatt Steele. Steele faces obstruction of justice charges in connection with the Kathleen Willey investigation. This story was reported on NPR's® Morning Edition® today by Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg.
More than a year ago, Steele told a Newsweek reporter that Willey had confided in her about an unwanted sexual advance made by President Clinton. However, Steele called the reporter back, told him that she knew nothing of the encounter and claimed that Willey had asked her to lie as a corroborative witness. Steele repeated this story, a lie according to Starr, during testimony before two federal grand juries.
While there is some evidence to support Starr's allegation, there is also evidence that suggests Steele is telling the truth and Willey is lying. According to sources, Willey has flunked at least one lie detector test given to her by prosecutors.
In addition, it now appears that two other witnesses - including Linda Tripp - have directly contradicted Willey's story. Tripp has always said that Willey seemed pleased at the pass she said the President made at her. But in interviews with FBI agents, Tripp said that as early as the spring of 1993 Willey was bragging that she was flirting with the President, seeking to ensnare him into an affair. Even after the alleged encounter in November of 1993, Tripp told the FBI that she and Willey talked about the potential for Willey having an affair with the President. Another friend of Willey, Harolyn Cardozo, has supported this version of the encounter, claiming that Willey called her on the day of the alleged advance to say that she planned to be the Judith Exner of the Clinton White House - a reference to President Kennedy's affair with a gangster moll.
Tripp later told the FBI that Willey's story changed at about the time that the Paula Jones sexual harassment case gained momentum. Willey then said that the President sexually harassed her.
Sources close to the prosecution say that Starr believes Willey. He has given her an immunity deal, a copy of which was obtained by NPR. On its face it is better than the one given to Tripp and Monica Lewinsky.
Tapes and transcripts are available upon request.
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