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Friday, August 14, 1998 Published at 21:11 GMT 22:11 UK

Clinton 'could admit sexual encounter'

President Clinton: insisted he did not have 'sexual relations'

Stephen Sackur: Clinton may choose narrow form of words
President Clinton is reported to be considering admitting that he did have a sexual encounter with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The report, in the New York Times, comes as Mr Clinton prepares to testify before a grand jury on Monday.

It is believed that the president may acknowledge having sexual contact with Miss Lewinsky. based on a narrow definition of sexual relations.

The newspaper said the president would still maintain he was truthful in saying he had no "sexual relations" with her.

BBC Washington Correspondent Tom Carver: A grey area surrounded by speculation
According to this strategy, he would acknowledge having sexual contact with Miss Lewinsky but of a type which would enable him to say that he did not lie when he denied having sexual relations with her.

The White House has refused to comment on the report.

New definition

Stephen Sackur: Clinton team testing waters on strategy
Quoting senior presidential advisers, the Times said Mr Clinton has made no final decision on what he will say in sworn testimony on Monday but the focus on a new definition of sex was being discussed.

Mr Clinton has said that he will testify completely and truthfully to the grand jury.

[ image: Prosecutor Kenneth Starr: to hear Clinton's evidence on Monday]
Prosecutor Kenneth Starr: to hear Clinton's evidence on Monday
BBC Washington Correspondent, Paul Reynolds says the thinking is that if Mr Clinton had something to admit he would be better off making some kind of statement rather than lying to the grand jury.

According to the report Mr Clinton is considering saying that he based his earlier sworn denial on a definition of sex approved by the judge in the earlier Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit.

In the Jones case, US District Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled that "for the purposes of this deposition, a person engages in 'sexual relations' when the person knowingly engages in or causes contact with the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person."

The Times said Mr Clinton's advisers believe this definition does not cover certain activities, including oral sex.

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