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Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.
Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.
Tue, 23 Nov 2021 08:30
Monica Lewinsky suffers a terrible betrayal. As she tries to protect the president, a national scandal erupts.
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To listen to American scandal one week early and add free, join Wondry Plus in the Wondri app. Download the Wondri app in your Apple or Google Play mobile app store today. A listener note, this episode contains adult content and references to suicide and may not be suitable for a younger audience. It's December 17, 1997 in Washington, D.C. Inside her bedroom, Monica Lewinsky pulls her comforter tight around her shoulders. The night has gotten late and outside her windows, a light wind has begun to blow. Lewinsky glances at her clock in size. It's almost 2.30 am and still, she can't manage to fall asleep. She's been tossing and turning for hours her mind racing. And it's no surprise why. Lewinsky just learned some devastating news from her friend Linda Trip. An Arkansas civil servant named Paula Jones has sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment and Trip was subpoenaed to testify. That testimony will be under oath. And if Trip is asked about Lewinsky's relationship with the president, she says she'll have to tell them everything she knows. As Lewinsky lies wide awake, she tries to reassure herself that she's worrying about nothing. There's no way Jones's lawyers know about her affair with the president. The issue couldn't come up during Trip's questioning. How could it? No, Lewinsky thinks. There's no reason to fret. Soon she's going to move to New York. She still has to find a job, but one of Clinton's friends gave her some promising leads. So if all goes according to plan, soon she'll put this whole Washington chapter behind her. Startle, Lewinsky grabs the phone. Hello? Monica, it's Bill. Lewinsky's heart slows down when she hears the voice of the president. Oh, hi. Listen, Monica, I have some bad news. Betty's brother. He was killed in a car accident today. Oh, that's terrible. Lewinsky sits up in bed as she processes the news. Betty Curry is Clinton's personal secretary. She passes messages between Lewinsky and the president, and she's arranged Lewinsky's visits to the White House. Lewinsky cares about her deeply. Poor Betty. She already lost a sister this year. That's too much. It's awful. Monica, you might want to send her a card or something. Let her know you're thinking of her. Oh, I will. Yeah, thanks for letting me know. There's something else too. I saw a list of witnesses for the Paula Jones case. Brace my heart, but your name was on it. What? How's that possible? I don't know. They're calling in all sorts of women grasping at straws. But don't panic. Just because your name is on the list, it doesn't guarantee they'll subpoena you. Lewinsky is stunned. Just moments earlier, she convinced herself that everything would be fine. But now it seems that Lewinsky herself is getting dragged into the mess with Paula Jones. Okay, but what if they do subpoena me? I've never gotten a subpoena before. What would I do? Well, Monica, you know there are ways of telling the truth without telling everything. You could file a written affidavit instead of giving an oral deposition. And if you do that, it's a lot easier to control the narrative. Okay. But why do they want to talk to me? Paula Jones is accusing you of her ass, but you never her asked me. Ah, they're just looking for ways to embarrass and discredit me. But listen, Monica, we're gonna get through this. Just send word if you get a subpoena, okay? Okay. As Lewinsky hangs up, her hands start shaking. It was good to hear from Clinton. He always makes her feel like everything is going to be fine. But still, she can't believe she's being dragged into a legal battle. One that has nothing to do with her. She can't imagine having to spill details about her consensual relationship with the president. Those are their private moments. Lewinsky sinks into bed, thinking. She and Clinton never had sexual intercourse. So if she has to face Paula Jones's lawyers, it wouldn't really be lying if she said she never had sex with the president. It's technically true. Lewinsky's mind continues to race as she considers the options in front of her. She doesn't know how exactly this situation is going to play out. But one thing's clear. Her affair with the president could soon be out in the open. American scandal sponsored by Sachi Art. I'm lucky. Not only is my wife beautiful, funny, and smart, she also has great taste that matches mine, which has made decorating our home together a delight. But how do we go about finding the art for our home? When we agree on that too, Sachi Art. They have artworks from thousands of emerging artists around the globe in all styles. So you're guaranteed to find art that fits your style, space, and budget. Their view your room feature lets you visualize the art on your walls. And my advisor, Siting, was instrumental in finding our newest piece. Get 15% off your first order with promo code podcast. Just go to SachiArt.com and enter code podcast at checkout. Find art you love today. Officially one hour until your favorite show premieres. Time to get some snacks delivered through InstaCart. Okay, let's get some popcorn, seltzer, chocolate covered almonds, and wait, did they release the whole season? Better cart some ice cream for the two part finale. When your day should be ending, but a new season is starting, the world is your cart. Visit InstaCart.com or download the app and get free delivery on your first order. Offer valid for a limited time minimum order $10 additional terms apply. From Wondery, I'm Lindsey Graham and this is American Scan. In 1995 Monica Lewinsky, a White House staffer, began having a secret affair with President Bill Clinton. But when a senior White House official grew suspicious, Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon and her six month affair with the president was effectively over. But a new friendship was beginning. While working at the Pentagon, Lewinsky grew close with her colleague Linda Trip. In her, Lewinsky confided the truth about her affair with the president, believing that she could trust Trip. But what Lewinsky didn't know was that Trip had begun secretly recording their conversations in an effort to expose Clinton. And behind her back, Trip also revealed the truth about the affair to lawyers representing Paula Jones, and Arkansas civil servant who was suing Clinton for sexual harassment. Lewinsky was horrified to get involved in lawsuit. She tried to protect the president however she could. But in doing so, Lewinsky earned the scrutiny of federal prosecutors. And soon her relationship with the president became a national scandal. This is episode three under Pendility of Purchery. It's January 9, 1998 in Washington, D.C. Jackie Bennett kicks up his feet on his desk as he rereads a document from the investigation of President Bill Clinton. Bennett is an attorney with the Office of Independent Council, the special prosecution being led by Kenneth Starr. For the past three years, their office has been leading a politically charged investigation of the president. They've been looking at Clinton's past involvement with a failed real estate deal known as Whitewater, which Clinton was involved in back when he was a politician in Arkansas. In their investigation, the independent council is trying to figure out whether Clinton broke any laws. As he surveys the mounds of documents that sit in front of him, Bennett runs a hand through his salt and pepper hair. The independent council has had a couple of small victories. They convicted two of Clinton's associates on charges of fraud and conspiracy. But so far, the president himself has proved slippery. That's something Bennett aims to change. As an attorney, he spent his career fighting corruption and going after crooked Democrats. Every fiber of his being tells him that Clinton is as crooked as they come. But he still needs to find the proof, and that means sifting through an endless sea of documents. Bennett begins diving into another transcript when there's a knock on the door. Bennett looks up and finds his colleague, Paul Rosen's wife, standing in the doorway. Rosen's wife, Andrews, and tells Bennett that he just learned some interesting news. He was having dinner with a friend who's consulting on the Paula Jones case, and apparently it's going to reveal some pretty damaging information about Bill Clinton. Bennett shakes it, said. It's always fun to gossip about politicians and their misdeeds. But the Paula Jones cases outside the scope of their investigation. Even if Clinton's sexually harassed her, legally it's none of their concern. But Rosen's wife stepped forward with a twinkle in his eyes. He says that there's more to the story. Apparently Paula Jones's lawyers subpoenaed a young White House staffer. The woman had an affair with Clinton, and now one of the president's friends is helping her find a job. But that favor comes with strings attached. In exchange, when the woman speaks under oath for the Paula Jones case, she's going to lie about her affair with Clinton. It's a quid pro quo, intending to protect Clinton. Bennett swings his legs off the desk and sits up. This is interesting. And if it's true, the president is using his connections to buy the woman's silence. He's asking her to lie under oath in order to preserve his own image. That's obstruction of justice, a serious crime. But to prosecute that kind of crime, they'll also need proof. So Bennett asks Rosen's wife if there's any evidence of this quid pro quo deal. Rosen's wife nods in excitement. There are recordings in which the woman discusses both the affair and the job search. Her colleague recorded her. Bennett rises from his desk, adrenaline surging through him. This is it. This is the break they've been waiting for. Proof that Bill Clinton broke the law. They need to speak with this woman's colleague, the one who has the recordings. Her work could change everything. Still, before he moves ahead with this new angle, Bennett needs to get permission from his boss Kenneth Star. Legally, the Paula Jones case still has no connection to Whitewater. It's outside their jurisdiction. But if Star agrees to expand the scope of their investigation, they might be able to prove that Clinton committed a serious crime. And they may even be able to bring him down. It's near midnight on January 12, 1998, three days later. In her home in Columbia, Maryland, Linda Tripp plumps the cushions of her couch, straightens a picture on the wall, then stops the survey the living room. Even though it's late at night, Tripp wants everything to look neat and perfect. She's about to host a meeting that could change her life. Any minute now, lawyers from the Office of Independent Council will arrive at her house. Jackie Bennett and his team of prosecutors are investigating whether President Clinton broke the law in a real estate deal known as Whitewater. Tripp would do anything to help their cause, but she just learned that now she herself is in the crosshairs. It all started when she secretly recorded Monica Lewinsky talking about her affair with the president. Tripp's book agents had said the recordings were legal, but it turned out her agent only knew the law in New York. In Maryland, where Tripp created the tapes, it's a felony to record someone without their consent. Tripp had only been trying to expose Clinton, but now she's also in hot water. Tripp spoke with her lawyer and learned that she could face up to five years in prison for making the recordings. So her only option is to strike a deal with the Office of Independent Council to somehow get legal immunity for her mistake. Tripp paces around her living room when she hears a knock on the door. She takes a deep breath and opens it. Outside, our four men in suits. One of them, Jackie Bennett, introduces his colleagues to our fellow prosecutors. The other is an FBI agent. A chill runs through Tripp, and she stares at these law enforcement officials. Together, they could ruin her life, send her to prison, but she knows she has to keep calm and try to work with them. So Tripp smiles and welcomes them into her home. Inside the group takes a seat. Bennett asks Tripp the big question, why exactly did she make these tapes of Lewinsky? Tripp begins to falter. She can't tell them the truth. She did want to expose Clinton, but she was also trying to land a book deal. Admitting any kind of self interest will make her seem unsympathetic and greedy. What she needs is to sound like a victim. So Tripp tells the men that she was scared. She was trying to protect herself. Tripp used to work in the White House back in the beginning of the Whitewater investigation. Her boss was Vince Foster, a lawyer for the White House and Clinton's friend from Arkansas. Tripp knows that officially, Foster died by suicide. But like others Tripp always wondered, Foster, her boss, knew about Clinton's involvement in Whitewater. As a White House lawyer, he had documents about the failed real estate deal. Maybe that made him a liability. Maybe the Clinton didn't want him around. With her eyes cast downward, Tripp says that she recorded the tapes as an insurance policy. Protection in case anyone ever made threats against her. She had no idea she was breaking the law. Bennett nods in sympathy. And for Tripp, this is the moment. She asks Bennett about the possibility of legal immunity for her crimes. Bennett confirms that immunity is something they could offer. Her legal troubles could go away. But first, they'll need something from her. Tripp will have to wear a wire and record Monica Lewinsky, this time legally. They need to get her on tape saying that Bill Clinton asked her to lie under oath. Prosecutors need proof that Clinton broke the law. Tripp feels dizzy at the suggestion. A wire. That's what they use in drug busts. They're asking her to behave like some sort of criminal informant. Still, Tripp will do whatever it takes to stay out of jail. So she nods and says she'll do it. She and Lewinsky are scheduled to have lunch tomorrow. She can start wearing a wire right away. The next day, Monica Lewinsky walks towards the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, Virginia. It's a cold winter day. And when Lewinsky steps into the hotel, she feels welcome blast of warm heat. For Lewinsky, it feels proper to get lunch in a luxurious hotel. She has a new job in New York doing PR for Revlon, the cosmetics company. She's about to move to the big city and start a new life. It's a moment to celebrate new beginnings. But first, Lewinsky needs to wrap up this mess with the Paula Jones lawsuit. She's already written and signed her affidavit, swearing she did not have a sexual relationship with President Clinton. Now it's only a matter of convincing Linda Tripp to support her claims. Lewinsky strides across the hotel lobby, making her way to the restaurant. It's there, she spots Tripp sitting at a corner table. Lewinsky takes a deep breath. Tripp says she doesn't want to break the law and conceal Lewinsky's relationship with President. She keeps waffling on what she'll write in her affidavit. But Lewinsky is fairly certain that she can change her friend's mind. Lewinsky pulls out a chair, greets Tripp by blowing air kisses. Tripp smiles. Monica, so good to see you. You know, I've been thinking about you nonstop. Still can't believe we've been dragged into this Paula Jones thing. Like we're stuck in the middle of a John Grisham novel or something. We have to be truthful in these affidavits, don't we? Wow. We do. But if we both say the same thing, we'll be protecting each other. And the President, he and I never had any of course, it's not lying to say we didn't have a sexual relationship. Monica, why are you whispering? I can barely hear you. Oh, sorry. So you're denying the relationship? Are you getting pressure to do that? Did President Clinton ask you to lie? I mean, I wouldn't want to cross him or his people. So Clinton asked you to lie. And that this is my choice. It doesn't matter how he wronged me or how many other girlfriends he has. What we had was special. OK. OK, fine. So what's happening with your job offer? Lewinsky knows Trip is jealous that she's about to escape the drudgery of the Pentagon. So she plays down her job prospects. Well, it's looking pretty good with Revlon. But we'll see whether it works out. I'll tell you one thing though, Linda. I'm not signing that affidavit until the job is 100% settled. So Clinton's friends, they have to give you the job at Revlon before you'll sign the affidavit? Like a reward for denying the affair? Lewinsky pauses. She already has signed the legal affidavit, swearing that she did not have a sexual relationship with the president. She's not ready to reveal the truth to her friend. I don't know about that. I mean, waiting to sign the affidavit is more like an insurance policy. Monica, why do you keep whispering? Sorry. Trip's gals and scoots back her chair. No, excuse me. I need to visit the restroom. As Trip walks away, Lewinsky rubs her temples. Something about this launch feels off. They're supposed to be talking about Trip's affidavit, but she keeps bringing the conversation back to Lewinsky. And for some reason, she keeps telling Lewinsky not to whisper. Suddenly, Lewinsky's heart starts to race, and she considers a terrifying possibility. What if Trip is recording her? Lewinsky scans the restaurant. Trip is nowhere inside, so Lewinsky moves fast. She grabs Trip's purse and rummages through it. There's a wallet, car keys, make up bag, no tape recorder. Her hand's shaking. Lewinsky shoves the purse back and waits. And when Trip returns from the women's room, Lewinsky works to compose herself. She doesn't know what got into her. Trip is a friend. She would never betray Lewinsky. It's just paranoia from all these legal swallows. As she calms down, Lewinsky reminds herself that she has one final task. She needs Linda Trip to say on her affidavit that Lewinsky did not have a sexual relationship with the president. And once that's done, Monica Lewinsky can get back to her life, get far away from the nation's capital. A day later in Washington, D.C., Jackie Bennett stands watching as the assistant attorney general reads a summary of Linda Trip's lunch with Monica Lewinsky. Bennett is joined by several colleagues, and he's feeling confident. He believes the conversation delivered what they need, proof that Bill Clinton committed a crime. So Bennett lays it all out for assistant attorney general Eric Holder, describing what he believes to be the key takeaways from the recording. At a lunch with Trip, Lewinsky expressed fear of retaliation from the president and his friends. Lewinsky said she did not want to cross him, that she's worried about her job offer if she tells the truth. Bennett argues that the president is clearly pressuring Lewinsky to lie on half a David for the Paula Jones case. It's an obstruction of justice as clear as day, and it's within the scope of his team's investigation. Holder, the assistant attorney general, taps a pen against his desk and mulls this over. This interpretation obviously stretches the truth. Lewinsky only hinted at these crimes, but Bennett isn't ready to back down. Because if he gets approval to interview Monica Lewinsky, he sure they'll get the full truth, evidence that the president committed a crime. But when Bennett's colleagues disagrees, clearing his throat, he tells the room that it's not entirely clear that Clinton committed a crime. And if Lewinsky is afraid of losing her job offer, that's more connected to Clinton's friend, than one helping her get the job in the first place. It's not really an issue for Clinton himself. Bennett glairs at his colleague. It's almost as though he's trying to sabotage their investigation. So he steps forward and tells the assistant attorney general he's confident that the president is involved. But at the very least, they should get the authority to investigate the matter further. Holder continues considering their request, and Bennett swallows heart. This decision could drastically change the course of their investigation. And then, hold their nods. He'll take this to his boss, Janet Reno, the attorney general of the United States. Bennett and his colleagues should stand by for further instruction. Bennett smiles as he and his colleagues begin to file out. It's plain as day. He's going to get this request. The FBI will round up Lewinsky, and in no time, he and his team will turn her against the president. Lots of people don't know it, but autumn is an ideal time to plant. Shorter days and cooler nights create ideal conditions for the plants to get established. If you're looking to spruce up your home, proven winners color choice shrubs has an amazing selection of flowering shrubs and evergreens for planting in gardens and landscapes. With around 320 different proprietary varieties, including classics limelight hydrangea and little Henry sweet spire, all of their shrubs are trialed and tested for 8 to 10 years to ensure they outperform anything else on the market. Look for proven winners color choice shrubs in the distinctive white containers at your local garden center. Learn more and find a local retailer at proven winners color choice dot com slash one tree. That's proven winners color choice dot com slash one tree. Hi, this is famous Formula One driver, Will Arnett. Join me in comedian, Mika Hakenon on our new Formula One radio program, The Fast and Loosed Post Show live on AMP every race Sunday. Download the AMP app today and follow AMP Presents F1 to join the show. It's January 16, 1998 at the Pentagon City Mall. Monica Lewinsky pages through a women's magazine as she waits in front of a sushi restaurant. She's supposed to be meeting Linda Trip for lunch, but Trip is unusually late. Lewinsky glances around the mall looking for Trip. It's strange. Trip called Lewinsky this morning, saying she needed to talk about the Paul Jones case in her affidavit. Lewinsky agreed to meet, thinking she might finally convince Trip to keep quiet about Lewinsky's affair with the president. But now Lewinsky wishes she hadn't made these plans. She's about to move to New York. She's busy, has things to do. And at this point, she feels like giving up. Trip can say whatever she wants in her affidavit. Lewinsky will just deny it. So Lewinsky shoves the magazine in her purse and starts to leave. But just then, she spots Trip coming down the escalator. Lewinsky's size. Well now that she's here, Lewinsky might as well talk to her. She crosses the mall to greet Trip. Opens her arms for a hug, but Trip pauses. Then she gestures behind her. Lewinsky looks over Trip's shoulder, where she sees two men in black suits. They have badges extended, and introduce themselves as federal agents. Lewinsky freezes. One of the men then explains their investigating crimes related to the Paula Jones lawsuit. Lewinsky isn't a lot of trouble, they say. But they want to give her an opportunity to help herself. But for now, Lewinsky needs to come with them. Lewinsky stands there, shocked. This doesn't make any sense. But then she trains her eyes on Linda Trip. And the truth hits her with painful clarity. This was a setup. Trip has betrayed her. Lewinsky croaks out that she wants a lawyer. The other agent shrugs, saying she can have a lawyer if she wants one. But legal advice won't be much help. Besides, they just want to talk to her. Trip steps forward and tells Lewinsky this is for her own good, and she reaches out for a hug. But Lewinsky jerks away. Trip lured her in. Acting like she was her best friend, and then turned on her. As Lewinsky glairs at Trip, the federal agent reiterates that this is an opportunity. The Lewinsky is not obligated to come with them. But if she leaves, she won't be able to help herself out of this mess. Lewinsky knows she could walk away right now, blend in with the lunchtime rush at the mall. But then she'd be operating in the dark, and things could get really ugly. Plus, if the FBI knows her secrets, they could also hurt the president. And she can't let that happen. So biting her lip, Lewinsky nods, and begins following the agents out of the mall, and back out into the bitter cold. Less than an hour later, Monica Lewinsky sits sobbing in a hotel room at the Ritz Carlton. All around her, men and dark suits keep rotating in and out from the adjacent suite. Feels like a circus, with one man, their ringleader in charge. Mike M.Eck is young and good looking. He's a lawyer and mentions Janet Reno, and some investigation in Kenneth Star. At the mention of Star Lewinsky's ears perk up. Kenneth Star is leading the investigation about Clinton and Whitewater. It's a major political story, but she can't imagine how their affair is connected to a real estate deal. Something here is terribly wrong, and so Lewinsky sits up and wipes away her tears. If she's going to protect herself and Clinton, she needs to focus. M.Eck, the attorney, steps in front of Lewinsky. Miss Lewinsky, we know that you lied on your affidavit for the Paula Jones case. We know that you encouraged Linda Tripp to lie on hers. We have enough evidence to charge you with perjury, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. You could go to prison for 27 years. 27 years? That's impossible. Yes, Miss Lewinsky. Almost three decades. My life would be over, and we don't want that. We know this is not your fault. The White House, the president, they told you to lie. They even got you a job as pay off. No, it's not that. Look, you can make this all go away, but you have to cooperate. If you help us out, we don't have to charge you. What do you mean help you out? Miss Lewinsky, we just want you to make a couple of fun calls. Get a hold of the president and his secretary Betty Curry. Also, the president's friend who got you the job at Revlon. Talk to them. Tell them that you're about to tell the truth about your affair with the president. They'll encourage you to lie and remind you about the job. We'll get it all on tape, and then you can walk away without being charged. The whiskey stairs at the prosecutor. Rise frozen with anger. It's clear they're going after anyone they can, trying to get them to flip. Even if their target is someone blameless, like the president's secretary. Oh, no, I'm not calling Betty Curry and trapping her. She's an old woman and a nice person. Couldn't live with myself if I did that. Well then, you're looking at a long stay in jail. I want to talk to a lawyer. The one who helped me with my affidavit, his name's Frank Carter. Miss Lewinsky, this is a simple choice and no brainer really. And it's time sensitive, so let's not waste time with a lawyer. Lewinsky narrows her eyes as she tries to read the hidden meaning behind his comment. She doesn't know why this is time sensitive. Although tomorrow, the president is scheduled to be deposed in the Paula Jones case. Maybe it has something to do with that. As she weighs her options, Lewinsky suddenly remembers a story about the Jewish poet Hannah Senish. She was a member of the Hungarian Resistance during World War II. And although she was captured and tortured by the Nazis, she never gave them the information they wanted. She protected the other members of the Resistance. It's a lesson that suddenly feels Lewinsky with a courage she didn't know she had. She's not going to cooperate. She won't participate in this witch hunt. So Lewinsky looks at the prosecutor and tells him her decision. Emukz's eyes walks away. He murmurs something that sounds like Get Bennett. And while Lewinsky doesn't know what that means, she remains determined. She's going to stay strong. She's not going to crack. An hour later, Jackie Bennett pounds on the door in the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, Virginia. As he stands waiting for the hotel door to open, he shakes his head. Seems like Mike Emuk couldn't close the deal. Like Emuk, Bennett is an attorney with the Office of Independent Council. For three years, he's been working tirelessly to show that President Bill Clinton is a criminal. He had high hopes for Monica Lewinsky. She was supposed to deliver smoking gun evidence that Clinton was guilty of obstruction of justice. But somehow Emuk couldn't get the job done. So now Bennett has to come save the day. An FBI agent opens the door and Bennett comes striding into the hotel room. Right away, he sees Lewinsky curled up in a chair like a child. Her dark hair is disheveled in her eyes or red and puffy. It's a pitiful sight, one that Bennett is eager to exploit. So Bennett marches over and asks Lewinsky what the issue is. She could spend 27 years in prison. Does she really want that? With a sniffle, Lewinsky looks up and asks to call her mother. But Bennett barks at Lewinsky, reminding her that she's 24 years old. She doesn't need her mommy. At that, Lewinsky breaks into Psalms. Bennett checks his watch. They're running out of time. Yesterday, he got a call from a reporter at Newsweek. The journalist was asking about a rumor that Clinton was having an affair with a White House staffer and was seeking more information. Bennett knows that reporting from the press could upend the entire investigation. If the affair goes public, Clinton will have nothing left to protect. There will be no reason for Clinton to pressure Lewinsky to lie for him. And he won't need to purge for himself in his deposition. That means Bennett's one chance to nail Clinton will vanish. Bennett leans down and tells Lewinsky it's time to make a decision. Either cooperate with them or spend her best years in prison. The whiskey wipes her nose and looks up. Her eyes glassy, but surprisingly determined. She repeats that she wants to talk to her mother. Otherwise, she's not cooperating. Bennett can tell that Lewinsky is serious. She's willing to go to jail for the president. It's incredible that man has a magic ability to get away with anything. Still, Bennett thinks maybe getting Lewinsky's mother involved isn't the worst idea. She could be more rational, maybe help persuade Lewinsky to take a deal. So, Bennett relents and says that if that's what she wants, Lewinsky can call her mother. The two women can make the decision together. It's an hour later in the early evening of January 16, 1998. Monica Lewinsky hurries through the third floor of a mace in the Pentagon City Mall. As she rounds a corner, passes a display rack. She clanses over her shoulder. So far so good, she's not being followed. Lewinsky picks up the pace, looking for a payphone. She doesn't have much time. But if she's lucky, she could save President Clinton's career. Back in the hotel room, just moments earlier, Lewinsky negotiated a small break which Aggie Bennett, one of the prosecutors who's investigating Clinton. Lewinsky's mother is on her way to Washington, but her train won't arrive for several hours. So rather than staying cooped up in a hotel room, Lewinsky got Bennett to agree to allow her outdoors to kill some time walking through the mall. But this is part of a plan Lewinsky has. She wanted to get to the mall, break free from her FBI escorts. So she told the agents she had to use a restroom. And after some back and forth, they let her go. So with no one looking over her shoulder, this is Lewinsky's one chance to get a message to Clinton to warn him that the special prosecutors know about their affair and that Clinton can't lie under oath. Because if he does, he'll purge her himself and he could be impeached. Lewinsky moves fast past an aisle of athletic wear. Her eyes scan the department store looking for the shiny metal box. Suddenly, a crowd of customers splits apart and she spots it, a pay phone. Her heart racing, Lewinsky rushes forward. She picks up the handset and drops in some loose change. With her hand shaking, she dials the number of the one person who can get a message to the president, his secretary Betty Curry. But the phone rings and rings. Lewinsky prays for Curry to pick up. This is her one shot. But Lewinsky's heart sinks when she hears the voice of the answering machine. Lewinsky shuts her eyes and with a deep sigh, she hangs up. Lewinsky can't leave a message with instructions. That could get her into even more trouble. Lewinsky turns and begins to walk away. Her head hanging low. She won't get another chance to warn Clinton. He's about to walk right into a trap, one that could destroy both him and Lewinsky. We get support from Audible. We've all got busy schedules. 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That's Audible.com slash listening, or text listening to 500 500 to try Audible free for 30 days. Audible.com slash listening. It's the morning of January 17, 1998 in Washington, D.C. Jim Fisher takes a seat at a long table inside the offices of Scad and Arps, a prestigious law firm. On the other side of the table is President Bill Clinton. He's flanked by a team of lawyers, and joining this group is a federal judge. Fisher surveys the room. The consequences of this meeting almost couldn't be greater. He's one of the attorneys representing Paula Jones, an Arkansas civil servant who's suing President Clinton, and claiming that he sexually harassed her. Scandals involving presidents are always heavily charged, but this case is a milestone. It's the first time in history that a sitting president has been deposed for a personal lawsuit. And as an attorney, this might be the biggest moment of Fisher's career. He's about to lead a deposition that could take down a president, and while Clinton's lawyers think that Fisher and his colleagues are small minded Bible thumpers, they're badly mistaken. Because even though Fisher is a devout Christian, that doesn't mean he's simple minded. He has set a trap for Bill Clinton, one that won't allow the president to weasel his way out of telling the truth. Ready to begin the deposition, Fisher reads aloud his definition of sexual relations. He wants everyone in the room to be crystal clear on what that phrase means. According to his definition, sexual relations consist of contact with the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. With that understanding in place, Fisher kicks off his questions. He asks Clinton about a woman named Kathleen Willie, who claims Clinton kissed and grobbed her during a meeting. With an error of confidence, Clinton explains that Willie was a volunteer in the White House. He hugged her and possibly kissed her on the forehead, but that's it. Fisher nods and asks a few follow up questions. But they're all just a prelude to the next topic, Monica Lewinsky. Fisher asks Clinton if he knows Lewinsky. Clinton acknowledges that he does. And Fisher asks if at any time Clinton was alone with Lewinsky in the Oval Office. Clinton says he doesn't recall. Fisher then asks if he and Lewinsky were ever alone together in any room in the White House. One of Clinton's lawyers interjects, saying this is in you, Endo. He wants to know where this line of questioning is going. Still the judge allows Fisher to continue. Fisher pauses, holding back a smile because he's just winding up. Using all the information Linda Trip provided, he asks about the letters that Clinton received from Lewinsky, and the gifts that Clinton gave the former White House intern. With each question, Clinton says he can't recall. So finally, Fisher goes in for the kill. He asks Clinton if he ever had an extra marital sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky. His eyes set, his tone firm, Clinton flatly denies it. He did not have an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Fisher then clarifies the question, did Clinton have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky? Clinton hesitates. The judge suggests that Fisher again provide Clinton the definition of sexual relations so he can review it. Fisher hands over a paper and Clinton studies it. Then he looks up and repeats his answer. No, he did not have sexual relations with Lewinsky. Fisher thanks Clinton and represses a giant grin. Inside he feels like he's soaring. Fisher just got the president of the United States to purge himself. He lied under oath. This won't just help his client Paula Jones. This is going to be a gift for the nation. It's January 21, 1998. Monica Lewinsky sits up in bed in her apartment in Washington, D.C. She turns on the light. It's early in the morning, but at this point, it's clear she's not getting any more sleep. So Lewinsky begins getting dressed. Maybe she'll go for a walk. Something to clear her head. She could use it. The last five days have been a whirlwind. Lewinsky had been held captive inside the Ritz Carlton and told that if she didn't cooperate, she would go to prison for decades. Lewinsky was almost ready to crack. But when her mother arrived, she immediately got a lawyer on the phone. The lawyer advised Lewinsky to walk out without saying another word. That's what Lewinsky and her mother did. After that, agents arrived at her apartment with a search warrant. They began rifling through her room, looking for evidence of her relationship with Clinton. It was humiliating and scary. And now, in her bedroom, she can't stop replaying the events for the past few days. But going over painful memories isn't going to help anything. So Lewinsky pulls on a pair of leggings and a sweatshirt and heads down to the lobby. The elevator doors open. Lewinsky shuffles across the lobby to grab her copy of today's Washington Post. And when she sees the front page, she freezes. The headline is Clinton accused of urging aid to lie. There in the fourth paragraph is Lewinsky's name. It's then that Lewinsky hears pounding on the lobby door. There's a crowd jammed against the windows, breathing steam onto the frosted glass. The Lewinsky spins, racing back toward the elevator. She has to get out of here. But then she runs into a middle aged man in a tan coat. Monica Lewinsky? I'm with the no comment. She pushes past him and hits the elevator call button. Did you have an affair with President Clinton? No comment. Did the president ask you to lie in the Polyjones case? He said no comment. She pushes the call button again and again. Did you know that Linda Trip was secretly recording your conversations? I have no comment. Just leave me alone. The elevator is only one floor away. The Lewinsky realizes that this reporter is going to follow her. She doesn't know what to do. Finally, the door opens. Lewinsky is relieved to see the building manager. Please, sir, I need help. This man is harassing me. You have to help me. The manager acts decisively, hustling the reporter out the front door. Lewinsky then ducks into the elevator and the door is closed. They are inside Lewinsky's rubs and tears. Her sobbing cries echoing off the elevator walls. In just a few hours, everyone in the country is going to know her name. They'll know her secrets, her private life, the mistake she's made. It's the morning of January 28, 1998 in Washington, D.C. Jackie Bennett sits in his office reading the newspaper headlines. The Clinton Lewinsky affair has become the national topic of conversation. It's the only subject of the Sunday talk shows. Pundits are putting Clinton's odds of staying in office at just 50.50. But Bennett thinks it's worse than that. He's betting Clinton resigns sometime in the next week. Bennett's phone rings, and when he answers, he hears the voice of one of his colleagues from the Office of Independent Counsel. His tone is urgent. He tells Bennett to come to the conference room quick. Bennett hustles over. When he arrives, he finds nearly the entire office huddled around a small TV. Clinton is speaking at an event for early childhood education. But he wasn't scheduled to make an appearance there. Something's up. Bennett can feel the electricity in the room. This is it. Clinton's going to resign. On screen, Clinton finishes his speech about education. But he doesn't leave the podium. Instead, he looks down like he's wrestling with something. Bennett clenches his fists waiting for the historic moment. Finally, Clinton looks up. His eyes narrowing. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody it's alive. Not a single time. Never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Bennett shakes his head and disbelief. Even with all the evidence that's come out in the press, Clinton is sticking with his lie. He really is something else. But Bennett and the Office of Independent Counsel are going to let him wiggle out of this one. They're going after Clinton. In this time, his lies will cost him the presidency. From Wondry, this is episode three of the Clinton Lewinsky affair from American scandal. In our next episode, Bill Clinton faces an impeachment trial. And Monica Lewinsky becomes the most notorious woman in America. If you like our show, please give us a five star rating and leave a review and be sure to tell your friends. I also have two other podcasts you might like. American History Tellers and Business Movers. Follow on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, or wherever you're listening right now. Or you can listen to new episodes early and add free by subscribing to OneGree Plus in Apple Podcasts or in the OneGree Am. You'll also find some links and offers from our sponsors in the episode notes. Supporting them helps us keep offering our shows for free. Another way you can support the show is by filling out a small survey at Wondry.com slash survey to tell us what topics we might come next. You can also find us and me on Twitter. Follow me at Lindsay A. Graham, Lindsay Within A, Middle In Initially, and thank you. If you'd like to learn more about the Clinton Lewinsky affair, we recommend the book's Monica's Story by Andrew Morton and a Vast Conspiracy by Jeffrey Tuban, a quick note about our reenactments. In most cases, we can't know exactly what we've said, but all our dramatizations are based on historical research. American Scandal has hosted edited and executed produced by me Lindsay Graham for airship, audio editing by Molly Bach, sound design by Derek Barons, music by Lindsay Graham. This episode is written by Austin Raples, edited by Christina Malsberg. Our senior producer is Gabe Riven, executive producers. Our Stephanie Gens, Jenny Lauer Beckman, and Marshall Lewy for Wondering. The new season of this is actually happening, is available ad free only with Wondering Plus. And if this new season isn't enough, you can listen to more than 120 exclusive episodes available only to Wondering Plus subscribers. Join Wondering Plus on Apple Podcasts or on the Wondering app.