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Jewish World Review / May 14, 1998 / 18 Iyar, 5758

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell Monica Lewinsky's choices

THE LEAST IMPORTANT thing about Monica Lewinsky is that she probably had sexual encounters with Bill Clinton. Not only does the public not care, it is very doubtful whether special prosecutor Kenneth Starr cares.

Despite much disinformation being spread by the White House spinmasters and their media allies, the issue is obstruction of justice, not hanky panky in the Oval Office.

While Kenneth Starr is gathering evidence that could be used to show that Miss Lewinsky's sworn denial of having an affair with Clinton was perjury, a perjury conviction of a former intern is not what his investigation is all about. However, that evidence may give him the leverage he needs to get what he does want.

What Monica Lewinsky needs most is what the special prosecutor could most easily grant -- in exchange for what the special prosecutor wants most. These are almost ideal circumstances for making a deal. Unfortunately, Lewinsky's media-hound lawyer has made a deal less likely by his wild charges against the special prosecutor -- charges that a court has now thrown out.

What Monica Lewinsky most needs is to avoid going to prison and having a felony conviction on her record for life. She would probably also not like to have the lurid details of her taped discussions of her affair with Bill Clinton printed up in every tabloid from coast to coast. That too could follow her the rest of her life.

What the special prosecutor would probably most like to know is who put her up to trying to get Linda Tripp to commit perjury and who gave her those lawyerly "talking points" for Ms. Tripp to use in evading questions that might be put to her in court. The classic way for a little fish to escape prosecution is by giving prosecutors the goods on the big fish.

This is not rocket science. But Miss Lewinsky's talkative lawyer, William Ginsburg, may have blown her chance for a deal.

One of the most incredible of Mr. Ginsburg's many incredible statements was that he and Monica Lewinsky were both Jews and that Bill Clinton has supported Israel, so presumably they look favorably on him. When your client is staring federal prison in the face, that is not the time to worry about anybody's politics, religion, ethnicity or foreign policy.

If Ginsburg or Lewinsky can't make up their minds whether their role is to save Bill Clinton or to get her out of legal danger, then either or both of them could make a mistake that will haunt them the rest of their lives.

The tragic irony is that Bill Clinton has never shown the slightest sign that he is concerned about anybody but Bill Clinton. Forget about the charge that he used this young intern sexually. That is the least of it.

Somebody put Monica in big-time legal trouble by using her to try to get Linda Tripp to commit perjury to save Clinton's hide. This girl is not Perry Mason and she didn't write those legalistic "talking points."

Monica Lewinsky was put in further legal jeopardy by signing an affidavit denying a sexual affair with Clinton. Whether the affidavit was true or false, it did absolutely nothing to benefit Monica Lewinsky.

Miss Lewinsky was already under subpoena to testify and the only thing an affidavit could do was create the possibility that her testimony might be construed as being inconsistent with the affidavit. No wonder Vernon Jordan drove her to a lawyer that he had picked out. If she had talked with any other lawyer before she got there, he would probably have told her that she was a fool to sign anything.

Nobody was going to prosecute this woman for having an affair with Bill Clinton. The jails would be overflowing if they did that. But, if she was part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice, that is another story -- and one that could have a tragic ending.

Some media pundits say that Kenneth Starr wouldn't dare do something so mean-looking as indicting poor little Monica. They forget that Judge Starr is not running for any political office and he doesn't have to worry about his media ratings. But he has a sworn duty to uphold the law -- and not everyone takes an oath of office lightly.

I wouldn't gamble this young woman's freedom on Kenneth Starr being the one to blink. Nor should she take the fall for people who led her into a legal quagmire for their own selfish reasons.

5/11/98: Random thoughts
5/7/98: Media obstruction of justice
5/4/98: Dangerous "safety"
5/1/98: Abolish Adolescence!
4/30/98: The naked truth
4/22/98: Playing fair and square
4/19/98: Bad teachers"
4/15/98: "Clinton in Africa "
4/13/98: "Bundling and unbundling "
4/9/98: "Rising or falling Starr "
4/6/98: "Was Clinton ‘vindicated'? "
3/26/98: "Diasters -- natural and political"
3/24/98: "A pattern of behavior"
3/22/98: Innocent explanations
3/19/98: Kathleen Willey and Anita Hill
3/17/98: Search and destroy
3/12/98: Media Circus versus Justice
3/6/98: Vindication
3/3/98: Cheap Shot Time
2/26/98: The Wrong Filter
2/24/98: Trial by Media
2/20/98: Dancing Around the Realities
2/19/98: A "Do Something" War?
2/12/98: Julian Simon, combatant in a 200-year war
2/6/98: A rush to rhetoric

©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.