WSJ: Witness Says He Saw Clinton And Lewinsky Alone in Study
Maher, Steve (SD-MS)
SMAHER at GI.COM
Wed Feb 4 17:12:00 MST 1998
From: cas at majordomo.pobox.com
Date: Wednesday, February 04, 1998 3:22PM
Witness Says He Saw Clinton And Lewinsky Alone in Study
Wall Street Journal February 4, 1998
BRIAN DUFFY and GLENN SIMPSON
WASHINGTON -- A longtime White House steward told a federal grand jury
that he saw President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky alone together in a study
adjacent to the Oval Office, according to two individuals familiar with his
Bayani Nelvis, 50 years old, was among the first witnesses summoned
before the grand jury by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr after he
received court approval to expand his investigation of Mr. Clinton to
include allegations involving Ms. Lewinsky. Mr. Nelvis, who is assigned to
a small kitchen-pantry that has access to the Oval Office and adjacent
study, provided additional testimony to the grand jury on Wednesday.
Mr. Nelvis approached Secret Service personnel and described having seen
Mr. Clinton with Ms. Lewinsky in the Oval Office, according to one person
familiar with the event. This person would not characterize Mr. Nelvis's
description of exactly what he saw or when. Mr. Nelvis is particularly
valuable to Mr. Starr because unlike Secret Service agents, who are
responsible for the security of the president, there is no bar to his
Mr. Nelvis's testimony could be significant if it can be corroborated.
Among the questions Mr. Starr and his staff are attempting to answer is
whether Mr. Clinton testified falsely in a deposition or whether he
discussed a plan in which Ms. Lewinsky would provide false testimony in a
lawsuit. Should Mr. Starr develop sufficient evidence that that occurred,
he could bring criminal charges of perjury or obstruction of justice.
During a deposition Mr. Clinton gave last month in the sexual harassment
lawsuit filed against him by Paula Jones, Mr. Clinton was asked whether he
had ever met alone with Ms. Lewinsky. According to a person familiar with
Mr. Clinton's testimony, the president responded that Ms. Lewinsky had met
with Betty Currie, his personal secretary.
The two individuals familar with Mr. Nelvis's testimony said that he
reported recovering tissues with lipstick and other stains on them after
the alleged meeting between Mr. Clinton and Ms. Lewinsky and that he
disposed of them in the kitchen-pantry. The individuals said Mr. Nelvis,
who has served in the White House for more than 15 years, informed the
Secret Service of the meeting between Mr. Clinton and Ms. Lewinsky because
he "was personally offended" by it.
The fact that Mr. Nelvis has testified to the grand jury was first
reported by ABC News last night.
Mr. Nelvis did not respond to several calls to his residence Wednesday,
and his attorney did not reply to messages left at his office by a
Individuals familiar with Mr. Starr's inquiry said his staff attorneys
have spent hours this week and last questioning several current and former
White House aides in an effort to determine whether Mr. Nelvis would have
had the access he described in his testimony and could have witnessed a
meeting between Mr. Clinton and Ms. Lewinsky. In his testimony before the
grand jury on Tuesday, former White House aide George Stephanopoulos said,
he was questioned by Mr. Starr's attorneys for nearly an hour "about a
floor plan of the first floor of the West Wing" of the White House, where
the Oval Office, the study and the kitchen-pantry are located.
An individual familiar with Mr. Stephanopoulos's testimony said he
confirmed that Mr. Nelvis did have the access to the Oval Office and the
adjacent study that he described to the grand jury.
Ms. Currie was similarly questioned about Mr. Nelvis's testimony during
her grand jury appearance last week, and an individual familiar with the
matter said she confirmed the White House steward had access to the Oval
Office and study.
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