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Monday, 20 March, 2000, 13:19 GMT
Clinton could still be charged
ray
Robert Ray: Took over from Kenneth Starr
The independent counsel investigating the Clinton White House says Bill Clinton could still face criminal charges in connection with the Monica Lewinsky affair.

It has been reported that Robert Ray's investigations will include whether Mr Clinton urged Ms Lewinsky to lie about their affair during her statement in the sexual misconduct civil lawsuit by Paula Jones.



The issue to be vindicated is that no person, including the president of the United States, is above the law

Independent Counsel Robert Ray
Speaking for the first time about the matter, Mr Ray told ABC's This Week: "The country went through the matter of impeachment. The judgement was made by the country that it was not appropriate to remove the president from office.

Monica Lewinsky
Monica Lewinsky: Scandal of affair arose out of Whitewater inquiry
"It is now my task as a prosecutor, with a very limited and narrow focus, to determine again whether crimes have been committed and whether ... it is appropriate to bring charges."

Mr Ray took over last year from Kenneth Starr, who pursued Mr Clinton over his relationship with Ms Lewinsky in a five-year, $50m investigation that began with Mr Clinton and wife Hillary's Whitewater property dealings.

A decision on whether to indict the president could be made shortly after he leaves office in January 2001.

The Office of Independent Counsel has already said it would not seek an indictment of a sitting president.
The trial of the president

Mr Ray promised his investigation would be non-partisan.

"There is a bigger issue here, and the bigger issue is yet to be vindicated. And the issue to be vindicated is that no person, including the president of the United States, is above the law."

Mr Ray has sworn in two new attorneys, will be hiring others and is bringing in investigators from the FBI and other agencies.

Filegate closed


clinton
President Clinton in Bangladesh: A decision on prosecution is expected after he leaves office
Mr Ray announced last week that he found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by White House officials or the first lady in the 1996 Filegate episode.

The case centred on whether Mrs Clinton or the officials were involved in seeking the FBI background files of Republicans.

Also on ABC, Democrat Senator Charles Schumer said many Americans felt enough was enough regarding the Clinton investigations.

He said: "My basic view is that the common-sense view of the American people is the right view, which is the president has been punished.

"He has the mark of Cain on his forehead he could never erase. We ought to ... go on to other things."

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See also:

19 Mar 00 | South Asia
Clinton begins historic tour
19 Oct 99 | Americas
Starr hands over Clinton probe
01 Jul 99 | Americas
End of the special prosecutor
17 Mar 00 | Americas
Filegate: Case closed
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