Lewinsky's Friend Takes Story Public

Article excerpt

A longtime friend of Monica Lewinsky's has told a federal grand jury the former White House intern informed her in May 1996 that she was "involved with the president" and described intimate touching in an Oval Office study and late-night phone sex.

The friend, Dale Young, a businesswoman from Scarsdale, N.Y., who says she was compelled to testify last week in independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's investigation of President Clinton, has gone public with her story in this week's Newsweek magazine, which hits newsstands today.

Mrs. Young's account generally supports what Miss Lewinsky told former Pentagon colleague Linda Tripp in secretly taped conversations. Mrs. Tripp will testify before the Starr grand jury tomorrow.

Mrs. Tripp turned over more than 20 hours of tapes to Mr. Starr, who is trying to determine whether Mr. Clinton lied about having a sexual relationship with Miss Lewinsky and whether he and confidant Vernon Jordan tried to get her and others to lie about it.

The Dale Young story sheds no light on whether anyone tried to obstruct justice.

But it provides more details about the nature of the physical relationship Miss Lewinsky purportedly had with Mr. Clinton, which she told Mrs. Tripp was limited to performing oral sex on the president.

"Nothing was ever taken to completion . . . he felt it really wasn't oral sex if it wasn't completed," Mrs. Young told Newsweek. She said she concluded their physical intimacy was "basically like foreplay."

Mrs. Young said Miss Lewinsky indicated the president wanted to put limits on his sexual involvement with her because he "didn't trust anybody" and feared he might someday be questioned about it.

Mrs. Young, who claims to be close to Miss Lewinsky and her mother, author Marcia Lewis, said she first learned of the affair when she and Miss Lewinsky hiked together along a trail in the Catskills over Memorial Day weekend in 1996. This was months before the former intern and Pentagon employee began talking about it with Mrs. Tripp.

By Labor Day weekend 1997, the affair was over, Mrs. Young said. She said Miss Lewinsky told her at that time the president had "just broken off the relationship" and tearfully explained why.

"He wanted Chelsea to be proud of him, and he wanted to be a good husband, and he didn't want to do anything like this anymore," Mrs. Young told Newsweek.

A few days later, she said, she received a note from Miss Lewinsky, which she still has and which she showed to the news magazine. The note reads in part: "I think the end of this whole trauma is over. I just wish my heart didn't have to be broken in all of this."

White House spokesman Jim Kennedy told Newsweek he "would not dignify this story with a comment." Judy Smith, a spokeswoman for Miss Lewinsky, also declined comment. Miss Lewinsky is currently in California, visiting her father, Dr. Bernard Lewinsky.

Both Mr. Clinton and Miss Lewinsky have denied under oath having had a sexual relationship. But in a recent round of immunity negotiations with Mr. Starr's office, Miss Lewinsky reportedly said she's willing to testify that she did have an affair with the president but denies that anyone pressured her to lie about it.

Mrs. Young - whose husband, James, is a home builder - could not be reached for comment yesterday. A woman who said she's married to another James Young of Scarsdale said she'd been taking "wrong number" calls all day from reporters.

According to phone records, the Dale Young subpoenaed by Mr. Starr's grand jury and interviewed by Newsweek made more than 100 phone calls between November 1995 and last February to the Watergate apartment Miss Lewinsky shares with her mother, Mrs. Lewis, Newsweek said.

She said she threw a party for Monica's mother in March 1996 to celebrate the publication of Mrs. Lewis' book, "The Private Lives of the Three Tenors. …