21st September

It was on this day...
1998 Bill Clinton's Grand Jury Testimony Is Broadcast

This was the latest stage of the attempted humiliation of US President, Bill Clinton, by his political opponents. Grand Jury testimony is always in private and rarely released.

The trick that Clinton's opponents used was that a juror was unable to attend the testimony in person, so the proceedings were video taped. It was this tape that was screened after the House of Representatives judged that the public had a right to see all of the evidence in the Starr Report (it was Ken Starr who headed the team investigating Clinton).

At 9:10 am, on this day, there was blanket television coverage of the tapes being handed over to the networks, and then the networks broadcast the testimony itself.

Clinton sought to defend charges that he had lied about an affair with Monica Lewinsky in depositions made in a sexual harassment case made against him by Paula Jones.

One of the well publicized instances in the Grand Jury testimony exchange was when Clinton was asked to comment on a statement his lawyer had made in the Paula Jones case.

Clinton's lawyer, Mr. Bennett, had said, during the Paula Jones case:

"Counsel is fully aware that Ms. Lewinsky has filed, has an affidavit which they are in possession of saying that there is absolutely no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form, with President Clinton".

Clinton was asked during the Grand Jury testimony, by Solomon L. Wisenberg:

"That statement is a completely false statement. Whether or not Mr. Bennett knew of your relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, the statement that there was "no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form, with President Clinton," was an utterly false statement. Is that correct?"

Clinton replied (words uttered mid-thought have been grayed out):

"It depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is. If the – if he – if "is" means is and never has been that is not – that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement."

So, Clinton seems to be saying that the statement was true because, at that precise moment the statement was made by his lawyer, Clinton was not actually having sex with Lewinsky (which would be noticeable as presumably Clinton was sitting next to his lawyer at that precise moment)...

This lawyer-talk added a level of humor to what was a horribly sordid affair, which ruined the lives of many of the ordinary people it enveloped.

President Bill Clinton, however, remained one of the most popular presidents ever.

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Birthdays
1950
Bill Murray
1947
Stephen King
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Other News

1897 A child wrote a letter to the New York Sun. In it's response, the paper's editorial began: "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

1937 J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is published.

1938 Long Island and southern New England are devastated by a surprise Category 3 hurricane. 600 were killed.

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