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Friday, September 11, 1998 Published at 21:14 GMT


Monica: Gifts 'meant a lot to me'



The following are excerpts from the Starr report on gifts exchanged by Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton.

The president's tie

Ms Lewinsky and the President exchanged numerous gifts. By her estimate, she gave him about 30 items, and he gave her about 18.

Ms Lewinsky's first gift to him was a matted poem given by her and other White House interns to commemorate "National Boss Day," October 24, 1995.

This was the only item reflected in White House records that Ms Lewinsky gave the President before (in her account) the sexual relationship began, and the only item that he sent to the archives instead of keeping.

On November 20 - five days after the intimate relationship began, according to Ms Lewinsky - she gave him a necktie, which he chose to keep rather than send to the archives.

According to Ms Lewinsky, the President telephoned the night she gave him the tie, then sent her a photo of himself wearing it.

The tie was logged pursuant to White House procedures for gifts to the President.

In a draft note to the President in December 1997, Ms Lewinsky wrote that she was "very particular about presents and could never give them to anyone else - they were all bought with you in mind."

Many of the 30 or so gifts that she gave the President reflected his interests in history, antiques, cigars, and frogs.

Ms Lewinsky gave him, among other things, six neckties, an antique paperweight showing the White House, a silver tabletop holder for cigars or cigarettes, a pair of sunglasses, a casual shirt, a mug emblazoned "Santa Monica," a frog figurine, a letter opener depicting a frog, several novels, a humorous book of quotations, and several antique books.

He gave her, among other things, a hat pin, two brooches, a blanket, a marble bear figurine, and a special edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

Monica: 'I know I'm close to your heart.'

Ms Lewinsky construed it as a sign of affection when the President wore a necktie or other item of clothing she had given him.

She testified: "I used to say to him that 'I like it when you wear my ties because then I know I'm close to your heart.' So - literally and figuratively."

The President would sometimes say to her, "Did you see I wore your tie the other day?"

In his grand jury testimony, the President acknowledged that he had exchanged a number of gifts with Ms Lewinsky.

After their intimate relationship ended in 1997, he testified, "[S]he continued to give me gifts. And I felt that it was a right thing to do to give her gifts back."

According to Ms Lewinsky, she sent the President a number of cards and letters. In some, she expressed anger that he was "not paying enough attention to me"; in others, she said she missed him; in still others, she just sent "a funny card that I saw."

In early January 1998, she sent him, along with an antique book about American presidents, "[a]n embarrassing mushy note." She testified that the President never sent her any cards or notes other than formal thank-you letters.

Holiday gifts

Before the President had left for vacation, Ms Lewinsky had sent a note asking if he could bring her a T-shirt from the Black Dog, a popular Vineyard restaurant.

In early September, Ms Currie gave several Black Dog items to Ms Lewinsky. In an email message to Catherine Davis, Ms Lewinsky wrote: "Well, I found out from Betty yesterday that he not only brought me a t-shirt, he got me 2 t-shirts, a hat and a dress!!!! Even though he's a big schmuck, that is surprisingly sweet - even that he remembered!"

Gifts 'hidden'

MsLewinsky testified that she spoke to the President on December 28 about the gifts called for by the subpoena - in particular, the hat pin.

The President testified that he told MsLewinsky that "you have to give them whatever you have."

According to MsLewinsky, she raised the possibility of hiding the gifts, and the President offered a somewhat neutral response.

The central factual question is whether the President orchestrated or approved the concealment of the gifts. The reasonable inference from the evidence is that he did.

In the afternoon of December 28, a few hours after Ms Lewinsky's White House visit, Ms Currie drove to Ms Lewinsky's Watergate apartment and collected a box containing the President's gifts.

Ms Currie then took the box home and hid it under her bed.

Ms Lewinsky testified that she put many, but not all, of her gifts from the President into a box.

Ms Lewinsky was concerned because the gifts were under subpoena; she did not throw them away, however, because "they meant a lot to [her]."

The reason she gave the gifts to Ms Currie, and not to one of her friends or her mother, was "a little bit of an assurance to the President . . . that everything was okay."

Click here to access the BBC's mirror site of the Starr Report





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In this section

Highlights: The Starr report

Ten encounters of a sexual kind

Keeping it quiet

He called her 'Sweetie'

Monica wants a job

Monica: Gifts 'meant a lot to me'