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Willey Talks To '60 Minutes'

The significance of Kathleen Willey's account of her incident with President Clinton is that - if true - it is more than just a case of inappropriate behavior.

It leaves the president wide open to charges of perjury - an impeachable offense - that he lied repeatedly when he testified under oath in the Paula Jones case about his encounter with Kathleen Willey.

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Calling President Clinton a liar, Kathleen Willey said that she felt overpowered by what she described as an unexpected advance against her in the White House and was so startled she wanted "to just give him a good slap across the face."

"I just could not believe ... the recklessness" of Clinton in groping her as she met with him in 1993 at a time when Willey's husband faced financial ruin. He killed himself the same day she went to the Oval Office to tell the president she needed a job.

Clinton "kissed me on my mouth and pulled me closer to him," Willey told 60 Minutes Co-Editor Ed Bradley.

Willey, 51, said Mr. Clinton held her tightly in an embrace just off the Oval Office, in a hallway leading to the president's private study. She said he touched her breasts and told her Â…`I've wanted to do this ever since I laid eyes on you,'" she said.

Willey was a major witness last week in Starr's grand jury investigation of whether the president was involved in a cover-up of an alleged affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Willey told 60 Minutes that what she swore under oath in that appearance was the same story she was telling Sunday.

Willey said the president placed one of her hands on his genitals and "that's when I pushed away from him and ... decided it was time to get out of there."

Clinton denies any sexual encounter but says he may have kissed her on the forehead because she was so distressed about her family's economic situation.

60 Minutes' Ed Bradley asked Robert Bennett, Clinton's lawyer in the Paula Jones case how the president has reacted to Willey's claims.

"The President of the United States adamantly denies the allegations that she has made. He is absolutely bewildered by them," Bennett said.

Bennett said the president described a different meeting with Willey.

"He said he hugged her. He said he may have given her a kiss on the forehead. He said that she was very gratefulÂ…he said that he put his arm around her, and indicated that he would try to be as helpful and supportive as he couldÂ…and that was it," Bennett said.

Two sources close to president's defense, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that after the aleged incident, Mrs. Willey wrote Mr. Clinton and his personal assistant, Nancy Hernreich "several times" and called "on several occasions" seeking to speak or meet with the president.

The tone of her letters was "friendly and admiring," said one of the officials.

In her testimony in the Jones case in January, Willey said that "to the best of my recollection," she had not communicated with Mr. Clinton since leaving the White House.

Newsweek reported Sunday that Willey told the Whitewater grand jury last week that she spent two days at the estate of Democratic fund-raiser Nathan Landow and he repeatedly pressed her not to say anything about her version of the encounter with Mr. Clinton.

Landow says he spoke to Willey about her "mental anguish" over the Jones case but says any suggestions of witness tampering are "absolutely untrue."

When Willey testified Jan. 11 in the Jones case, she said no one had encouraged her not to talk about the meeting with President Clinton. She subsequently filed a written change to her testimony to state instead that "Nate Landow discussed my upcoming deposition with me."

Asked why she is now going public with a story she once resisted telling, Willey said that "too many lies are being told, too many lives are being ruinedÂ…I think it's time for the truth to come out."

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report

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