By Susan Schmidt and Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, January 27, 1998; Page A01
Monica S. Lewinsky's lawyer yesterday said he has given independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr a detailed account of what Lewinsky's testimony would be if she is granted immunity by Starr's office in its investigation of President Clinton.
Attorney William H. Ginsburg said he is awaiting a reply to what he described as a "complete proffer" to attorneys for Starr just as prosecutors prepare to bring their first witnesses and evidence before a federal grand jury here today. Ginsburg said in an interview he made an oral presentation of Lewinsky's proposed testimony to Starr's staff but declined to say what it would be. Starr's office declined to discuss the talks with Ginsburg.
"We have made a complete proffer and we are waiting for Judge Starr to decide what to do," Ginsburg said. "We have given him everything that Ms. Lewinsky would say if she is debriefed."
Starr's office has been searching aggressively for other witnesses or evidence that could establish that Clinton and Lewinsky had a sexual relationship, though it was unclear what progress it has made.
Investigators are seeking to interview Secret Service agents to determine if they may have observed any intimate encounters between Clinton and Lewinsky, according to sources familiar with the investigation, but it was not known if any interviews took place yesterday.
Ginsburg said he knows of no other witnesses with first-hand knowledge of any sexual encounters between the two.
"In my opinion, this is a one-witness case," he said. "Judge Starr has one witness and that witness is Monica Lewinsky. She is still, I believe, critical to Judge Starr's position."
Lewinsky, a 24-year-old former White House intern, yesterday made her first appearance in public since the scandal erupted into public view last Wednesday, as Ginsburg drove her from her Watergate apartment to a downtown law office, where they huddled all day. "She is getting stronger," Ginsburg told reporters gathered outside the building. "She does not like being isolated. We kept her under wraps at the Watergate as you all know. We intend to continue keeping her under wraps."
Ginsburg and Starr have been at loggerheads over a cooperation agreement for more than a week as the Los Angeles attorney demanded full immunity for his client and the independent counsel insisted first on a full accounting of what she would testify to. Until yesterday, Ginsburg had promised that Lewinsky would tell the full truth if protected from prosecution, but Starr's lawyers were unsure of what precisely she would say.
Ginsburg has declined to give Starr a written proffer, which is a standard prosecution tool for allowing potential targets to describe what information they could provide in exchange for leniency.
Attorneys for Clinton, meanwhile, asked a federal judge yesterday to move up the Paula Jones sexual harassment trial, now scheduled to begin May 27, because the case is being used "to destroy the President" and has mushroomed into such a media maelstrom that it distracts from important domestic and foreign issues.
"We ask for this relief because it is important not only to the President, but to the institution of the Presidency," wrote Clinton's lawyer, Robert S. Bennett.
With Clinton scheduled to give the State of the Union address to Congress tonight, Starr's office plans to put off for at least a day grand jury testimony from some of the key witnesses in the investigation, including Lewinsky's onetime friend Linda R. Tripp, who recorded conversations with Lewinsky and gave the audiotapes to Starr, and Clinton friend Vernon E. Jordan Jr., who is alleged to have urged Lewinsky to lie about an affair with the president.
Prosecutors and FBI agents are likely to present the grand jury with some of the physical and documentary evidence they have gathered, including some of the more than 20 hours of tape recordings of conversations between Tripp and Lewinsky.
The White House plans to turn over today many -- but not all -- of the documents sought by a Starr subpoena, a senior administration official said. Starr has sought entry logs, videotapes, message slips and other records that prosecutors believe could establish that Clinton and Lewinsky had an intimate relationship. The official said that the rest of the materials will be turned over when they are collected and that Clinton does not plan to assert executive privilege over any of the records.
Starr is also seeking a copy of Clinton's Jan. 17 sworn deposition in the Jones case, in which sources have said he denied having a sexual relationship with Lewinsky. However, Jones's lawyers had not received a subpoena by late afternoon.
In a Jan. 7 sworn affidavit that she gave in the Jones case, Lewinsky said she had never had a sexual relationship with Clinton. But on the tape recordings made surreptitiously by Tripp, Lewinsky purportedly described a sexual affair with Clinton that began in late 1995, months after she began work as a White House intern, and lasted until he began to distance himself from her last August.
In the Tripp tapes and a recording the FBI made with Tripp's help Jan. 13, sources said, Lewinsky talked about being pressed by Clinton and Jordan to conceal the truth about the relationship when questioned in the Jones suit.
Jones's lawyers have subpoenaed and interviewed women they think may have had sexual encounters with Clinton as part of an effort to show his behavior toward Jones fit a pattern. They sought out Lewinsky after receiving anonymous calls about her.