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Clinton–Lewinsky scandal

1998 American political sex scandal / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Clinton–Lewinsky scandal was a sex scandal involving Bill Clinton, the president of the United States, and Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern. Their sexual relationship began in 1995when Clinton was 49 years old and Lewinsky was 22 years oldand lasted 18 months, ending in 1997.[1] Clinton ended a televised speech in late January 1998 with the later infamous statement: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky." Further investigation led to charges of perjury and to the impeachment of Clinton in 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives. He was subsequently acquitted on all impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in a 21-day U.S. Senate trial.[2]

Clinton with Lewinsky in February 1997

Clinton was held in civil contempt of court by Judge Susan Webber Wright for giving misleading testimony in the Paula Jones case regarding Lewinsky,[3] and was also fined $90,000 by Wright.[4] His license to practice law was suspended in Arkansas for five years; shortly thereafter, he was disbarred from presenting cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.[5]

Lewinsky was a graduate of Lewis & Clark College. She was hired during Clinton's first term in 1995 as an intern at the White House through the White House Internship Program and was later an employee of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. It is believed that Clinton began a personal relationship with her while she worked at the White House, the details of which she later confided to Linda Tripp, her Defense Department co-worker who secretly recorded their telephone conversations.[6]

In January 1998, Tripp discovered that Lewinsky had sworn an affidavit in the Paula Jones case, denying a relationship with Clinton. She delivered tapes to Ken Starr, the independent counsel who was investigating Clinton on other matters, including the Whitewater scandal, the White House FBI files controversy, and the White House travel office controversy. During the grand jury testimony, Clinton's responses were carefully worded, and he argued "it depends on what the meaning of the word is is",[7] with regard to the truthfulness of his statement that "there is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual relationship or any other kind of improper relationship".[8]

This scandal is sometimes referred to as "Monicagate",[9] "Lewinskygate",[10] "Tailgate,"[11] "Sexgate",[12] and "Zippergate",[12] following the "-gate" construction that has been used since Watergate.