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Willey's Other Oval Office Visit

Eleven days after President Mr. 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.

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In a sworn deposition, 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 Mr. 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 prosecuting Paula Jones' sexual harassment case against the president whether she ever sought to address with Mr. 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 Mr. Clinton said anything to indicate "he agreed to have that incident in the past," Willey answered, "No."

Willey also testified she believes it was Mr. 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."

An associate of Willey, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in an interview she went to see Mr. Clinton a second time because she needed work. "She basically said, 'Let's put it all behind us' and 'I need a job'," the associate said. "That doesn't mean [the earlier incident] never happened."

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

In support of that claim, Mr Clinton's lawyers introduced other parts of Willey's deposition in which she said she had never been offered a job in exchange for any sexual favor to Mr. 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.

In a dramatic television appearance a week ago, Willey told the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes that during the 1993 visit, Mr. Clinton placed his hands on her breasts, kissed her on the mouth, and placed her hand on his genitals during a conversation about her financial troubles.

Willey said then she was so taken aback by the advance that she wanted to slap Mr. Clinton but pushed him away instead and eventually left the office.

Mr. Clinton has denied the allegations. He said he simply hugged his friend and may have kissed her on the forehead to comfort her because she was distraught.

Starting two days later, Willey began a series of attempts to get back in touch with Mr. Clinton.

The day after the Nov. 29 visit, Willey learned her husband, despondent over legal and financial troubles, had killed himself.

Records released by the White House last week showed Willey contacted Mr. Clinton's office on Dec. 1 seeking to talk to the president.

"She called this morning and said you could call her any time," read a memo to the president that day.

A week later, Willey left a message for Mr. Clinton that she "is coming in Friday and wants to see you."

In describing her Dec. 10 visit, Willey said in the deposition that it was similar to the one 11 days earlier: they met in the Oval Office, went back to his pantry for coffee, then settled in a private study off the Oval Office to talk.

"We just had a conversation about my husband's death, and what had led up to it, and what had happened since, and my state of mind, and how my children were and the state of everything," she said.

She said Mr. Clinton never made any sexual advances during that visit and could not remember whether he hugged her as she left.

Written by John Solomon
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