Former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson doesn’t deny he offered Monica Lewinsky a job. But his testimony to Kenneth Starr’s prosecutors raises questions about whether he told the whole truth.
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In addition, transcripts of phone calls between Lewinsky and Tripp support the idea that Lewinsky talked directly to Richardson. In one conversation, Tripp commiserated with an obviously tearful Lewinsky. The president simply didn’t understand the suffering Lewinsky was enduring, both women said. He didn’t know what she was going through, Tripp told Lewinsky. For example, “He doesn’t know that you received a personal [censored] phone call from the ambassador to the U.N.,” Tripp said — while Lewinsky sobbed in agreement.
Phone records subpoenaed from Richardson’s office appear to support Lewinsky’s contention that she talked to Richardson. Richardson’s extension was 4404; Isabelle Watkins’ line was 4402. The call to Lewinsky’s apartment was made from the 4404 extension.
Richardson and Watkins both maintained that Watkins occasionally made calls from Richardson’s extension, which they said must have happened in this case. But Starr’s prosecutors were skeptical.
“Do you believe, sir,” Bienert asked Richardson, “that you would have called Ms. Lewinsky at some point in the time frame of, after receiving the résumé on the 21st …?”
“You mean me calling her?”
“No, I don’t think so. I mean, Isabelle would set up the meeting.”
“If Monica Lewinsky represented to other persons at the time that you personally called her on or about the 21st of October, do you believe that might be true, is absolutely not true, or that it is true?”
“I don’t think it’s the case, because Isabelle sets up my meetings.”
But why, Bienert wanted to know, would she have called on 4404 as opposed to her own line?
“She does that frequently,” Richardson answered. “I mean, this happens. My, my extension is used intermittently by all kinds of people.”
Bienert produced more phone records from Richardson’s office. They were lists of all the calls placed between Watkins’ extension and Lewinsky’s home and office.
“Just for purposes of the record,” Bienert said, “[the document] contains eleven different phone calls. Do you see that, sir?”
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