March 22, 1998 in Nation/World

Willey Testimony Recounts Return To Oval Office, Plea For Better Job

John Solomon Associated Press
 
Tags:ethics

Eleven days after President Clinton allegedly made a crude sexual advance, Kathleen Willey returned alone to the Oval Office at his request and told the president she “wanted that to be over with,” according to previously sealed testimony.

In a sworn deposition taken Jan. 11, Willey recounted her Dec. 10, 1993, return visit as she pleaded anew for a better job. It was her first day back at the White House after her husband committed suicide.

At the time, she was a volunteer and wanted a paying job to offset financial problems at home. She alleges that in the first meeting, on Nov. 29, the president made an unwanted sexual advance.

Willey said she told Clinton in the return visit that “I was in a very desperate situation and that I still needed to work there.”

Willey was asked by lawyers for Paula Jones in her sexual harassment case against the president whether Willey ever sought to address with Clinton her concerns about the Nov. 29 advance.

“I think that when I went back my first day of work. I think I may have made a reference to that. … I don’t know how I said it but basically said I just wanted that to be over with,” she testified.

“Did Mr. Clinton say anything to you in response to that comment?” the lawyers asked her.

“He was very generous and solicitous,” she answered.

But when asked whether Clinton said anything to indicate “he agreed to have that incident in the past,” Willey answered, “No.”

Willey also testified she believes it was Clinton, through Oval Office director of operations Nancy Hernreich, who requested her return visit.

“I understood that the president wanted to see me when I came back to the White House after my husband’s suicide,” she testified. “I don’t know how I knew that, because I was in a horrible state after he died. … I do know that Nancy had called. I think maybe she had said, ‘Please let us know when you can come back, because we would like to see you.’ I think.”

On Friday, Clinton’s private attorney argued to the federal judge in Little Rock that Willey’s claim was not relevant to Jones’ claim she was harassed by Clinton in 1991 and suffered both personally and on the job.

In support of that claim, Clinton’s lawyers introduced parts of Willey’s Jan. 11 deposition in which she was discussed her return visit to the Oval Office, said she had never been offered a job in exchange for any sexual favor to Clinton and had not been denied any employment as a result of the alleged incident. She got a paid part-time job in the administration shortly afterwards.


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