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Starr Gets Lewinsky Book List

Monica Lewinsky's lawyers are giving Whitewater prosecutors records of her book purchases, a time-saving gesture by the new defense team in the midst of negotiations on a possible immunity deal for the former White House intern.

Prosecutors, the defense attorneys, and a Washington bookstore that announced the deal Monday all can claim victory in the arrangement.

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Independent counsel Kenneth Starr will get the records he subpoenaed from Kramerbooks & afterwords without a time-consuming court challenge by the store.

Lewinsky's lawyers are demonstrating good faith while negotiating to avoid an indictment of their client. Click here for an explanation of immunity by CBS News Legal Correspondent Kristin Jeannette-Meyers.

And the bookstore, which is dropping its legal fight against the subpoena, preserves its First Amendment argument that it should not be forced to give prosecutors such private information.

Meanwhile, the grand jury that Starr convened to look into allegations of a presidential sexual affair and a cover-up heard testimony Tuesday from White House deputy chief of staff John Podesta, who played a role in trying to help Lewinsky find a job.

White House communications adviser Sidney Blumenthal also may be called to testify again.

Before Podesta testified, Starr paid a surprise visit to the federal grand jury.

"Periodically, he visits the grand jury. I can't say what he will discuss," Starr's spokesman Charles Bakaly said.

Bill Kramer, co-owner of the bookstore, said, "Mr. Starr recognizes the information he sought was available elsewhere, and now will obtain that information directly from Lewinsky and her legal team."

Legal sources who would not be quoted by name also confirmed the arrangement under which the bookstore was providing the records to Lewinsky's lawyers.

Kramer said his store did not request the defense lawyers to cooperate with Starr but added, "We firmly believe she is entitled to make her own free and unfettered decisions."

According to sources familiar with the investigation, Lewinsky received a copy of Walt Whitman's classic poem Leaves of Grass from President Clinton, and prosecutors are trying to determine whether her own purchases included Nicholson Baker's steamy novel about phone sex, Vox.

The deal comes at a sensitive time in the negotiations, when Starr's office is trying to decide whether to indict Lewinsky or give her immunity from prosecution in return for cooperation.

Veteran Washington lawyers Plato Cacheris and Jacob Stein want tdemonstrate they can negotiate without the bitterness generated during talks between prosecutors and William Ginsburg, Lewinsky's previous lawyer, a legal source said.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Mr. Clinton engaged in sexual activity with Lewinsky and whether both lied about it under oath in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. They also are investigating whether Mr. Clinton and others tried to obstruct the investigation.

The book purchase arrangement was brokered on Lewinsky's side by Nathaniel Speights, who worked with Ginsburg but remained on the defense team when the new lawyers took over.

"Monica Lewinsky has cooperated with the Office of Independent Counsel on this issue," said her spokeswoman, Judy Smith.

Starr's spokesman, Charles Bakaly, declined to comment.

Starr's subpoena for Lewinsky's book purchases touched a nerve in the nation's capital, prompting protests by librarians and booksellers who viewed the action as an assault on the First Amendment and an invasion of privacy.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Janet Reno filed appeals court papers saying Secret Service personnel should not have to answer certain questions about what they saw or heard regarding President Clinton and Lewinsky. Chief U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson has ruled that two Secret Service officers and an agency lawyer must testify in Starr's probe.

Johnson "failed to accord" sufficient deference to Secret Service arguments that the safety of presidents would be imperiled by the testimony, Reno's appeals court filing said.

"There is no reason why the viewpoint of a single district judge, unsupported by the record, should take precedence over the considered judgment of the expert agency," said the Justice Department papers.

Written by Larry Margasak

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