Friday, July 17, 1998 Published at 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK
Clinton's bodyguards forced to talk
Cockell (centre) may have sensitive information
Three of President Bill Clinton's bodyguards have been forced to testify about his contact with former White House worker Monica Lewinsky.
Mr Clinton's lawyers had argued that if the guards were made to testify, future presidents would be reluctant to have security officers present when they held confidential discussions in case they were later repeated.
He said the Clinton administration had failed to show that "irreparable harm" would result if the officers testified about what they saw or heard while protecting Mr Clinton.
A fourth secret service agent, Larry Cockell, the former head of Mr Clinton's security detail, also turned up to give evidence to the grand jury on Friday. But there was not enough time for him to be questioned.
The investigation into the allegations against the president is being led by Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr.
Both Mr Clinton and Miss Lewinsky have denied any wrongdoing.
The Supreme Court ruling came just minutes before the deadline for several secret service employees to give evidence before the grand jury.
The grand jury has been hearing evidence for nearly six months about the sex-and-perjury allegations.
The BBC Washington correspondent says that most Americans find the persistent probing of the president's private life distasteful, and a clear majority in the polls want the investigation to be wound up.