Monica Lewinsky

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Person.png Monica Lewinsky  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky on February 28, 1997 A3e06420664168d9466c84c3e31ccc2f.jpg
BornJuly 23, 1973
San Francisco
Her affair with Bill Clinton and its repercussions (which included Clinton's impeachment) became known later as the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal.

Monica Samille Lewinsky[1] is an American activist, television personality, fashion designer, and former White House intern. President Bill Clinton admitted to having had an affair with Lewinsky while she worked at the White House in 1995–1996. The affair and its repercussions (which included Clinton's impeachment) became known later as the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal.

Sexual encounters

Lewinsky said she had sexual encounters with Bill Clinton on nine occasions from November 1995 to March 1997.[2]

Early life

Lewinsky was born in and grew up in an affluent family in Southern California in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles and in Beverly Hills.[3][4] Her father is Bernard Lewinsky, an oncologist, who is the son of German Jews who escaped from Nazi Germany and moved to El Salvador and then to the United States when he was 14.[5] Her mother, born Marcia Kay Vilensky, is an author who uses the name Marcia Lewis, and, after the divorce, later married R. Peter Straus, a media executive and former director of the Voice of America under President Jimmy Carter.[6]

In 1993, she enrolled at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, graduating with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1995. With the assistance of a family connection[Who?], Lewinsky got an unpaid summer White House internship in the office of White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta. Lewinsky moved to Washington, D.C. and took up the position in July 1995. She moved to a paid position in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs in December 1995.[7]

White House

In April 1996, Lewinsky's superiors transferred her from the White House to the Pentagon because they felt that she was spending too much time around Clinton. At the Pentagon, she worked as an assistant to chief Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon. Lewinsky told co-worker Linda Tripp about her relationship with Clinton, and Tripp began secretly recording their telephone conversations beginning in September 1997. Lewinsky left the Pentagon position in December 1997.[8] Lewinsky submitted an affidavit in the Paula Jones case in January 1998 denying any physical relationship with Clinton, and she attempted to persuade Tripp to lie under oath in that case. Tripp gave the tapes to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, adding to his on-going investigation into the Whitewater controversy. Starr then broadened his investigation beyond the Arkansas land use deal to include Lewinsky, Clinton, and others for possible perjury and subornation of perjury in the Jones case. Tripp reported the taped conversations to literary agent Lucianne Goldberg. She also convinced Lewinsky to save the gifts that Clinton had given her during their relationship and not to dry clean a blue dress that was stained with Clinton's semen. Under oath, Clinton denied having had "a sexual affair", "sexual relations", or "a sexual relationship" with Lewinsky.[9]

News of the Clinton–Lewinsky relationship broke in January 1998. On January 26, 1998, Clinton stated, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" in a nationally televised White House news conference. The matter instantly occupied the news media, and Lewinsky spent the next weeks hiding from public attention in her mother's residence at the Watergate complex. News of Lewinsky's affair with Andy Bleiler, her former high school drama instructor, also came to light, and he turned over to Starr various souvenirs, photographs, and documents that Lewinsky had sent him and his wife during the time that she was in the White House.

Clinton had also said, "There is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual relationship or any other kind of improper relationship"[10][11] which he defended as truthful on August 17, 1998 because of his use of the present tense, arguing "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is".[12] Starr obtained a blue dress from Lewinsky with Clinton's semen stained on it, as well as testimony from her that the President had inserted a cigar into her vagina. Clinton stated, "I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate", but he denied committing perjury because, according to Clinton, the legal definition of oral sex was not encompassed by "sex" per se.[13] In addition, he relied on the definition of "sexual relations" as proposed by the prosecution and agreed by the defense and by Judge Susan Webber Wright, who was hearing the Paula Jones case. Clinton claimed that certain acts were performed on him, not by him, and therefore he did not engage in sexual relations. Lewinsky's testimony to the Starr Commission, however, contradicted Clinton's claim of being totally passive in their encounters.[14]

Clinton and Lewinsky were both called before a grand jury; he testified via closed-circuit television, she in person. She was granted transactional immunity by the Office of the Independent Counsel in exchange for her testimony.[15]

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