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Law Prof Writes ‘Explosive’ New Book on Whitewater, Lewinsky Probes

Posted Dec 21, 2009 11:36 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Duquesne University law professor Ken Gormley has written a new book about the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations that alleges near-indictments, prosecutorial mishaps and another affair by former President Bill Clinton.

The “explosive" book says prosecutors considered indicting Hillary Clinton and her former law partner Webster Lee Hubbell, allegedly for lying about business dealings with a failed savings and loan connected to James and Susan McDougal, the Associated Press reports. But prosecutors working for independent counsel Kenneth Starr suspected getting an indictment would be difficult, and decided instead to concentrate on charges relating to Bill Clinton.

The book also claims that Starr’s successor, Robert Ray, was prepared to indict Bill Clinton if he did not admit lying under oath, according to the New York Times, AP and Politico. On his last day in office, Clinton admitted giving false testimony about Lewinsky. “President Clinton would never fully grasp how close he came to being indicted,” Gormley writes.

Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice in 1998, but he was acquitted by the Senate the following year.

Politico was the first to review the book, due out in February, called The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr. According to Politico, the book concludes that Bill Clinton had an affair with McDougal, who went to jail rather than testify against him, according to accounts in the New York Times and Politico. McDougal has denied the allegation.

The book also alleged that the FBI pressured the former head of Bill Clinton’s protective detail to give up the president, the Times says.

Politico says the book “offers a harsh portrait of Starr as a man out of his depth and who lost all sense of proportion. His interviews offer new ammunition to critics who contend the Lewinsky investigation was marred at its outset by improper questioning of Lewinsky in January 1998 by Starr’s lieutenants, who continued to grill her even after she asked for a lawyer.”

The New York Times, on the other hand, says the book “rejects the image of Mr. Starr as a rabid zealot out to get Mr. Clinton.”

Starr, now the dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law, is a former member of the ABA Journal Board of Editors.

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