Willey Letters: Obstruction of Justice?

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WASHINGTON: The speed and efficiency with which the White House released letters that put Kathleen Willey’s reputation in question surprised many people, but none so much as Paula Jones’ lawyers. They’d asked President Clinton to turn over “any correspondence and communication” with Willey back in January, and received a reply stating there were “no such documents.” Now, in yet another court filing released over the weekend, the Jones team cites this as evidence of obstruction of justice -- the same charge they spent 700 pages trying to prove two weeks ago.

Special Report They may have a point. So does the White House. Presidential lawyer James Kennedy says the Jones team made the mistake of asking for the documents from Clinton personally, rather than from the White House, and that they were well aware of the distinction. It’s a denial that sticks within the letter, if not the spirit, of the law -- and leaves the Clinton administration somewhat open to the charge made by Orrin Hatch, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, in Sunday’s New York Times. “The White House,” Hatch wrote, “appears as interested in the truth as O.J. Simpson is in finding Nicole Simpson’s killer.”