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Bill Clinton's Get Out Of Jail Free Card...c/o Clinton's Angels

 Wed Mar 6, 2002 - More than four years after the allegations first emerged that Clinton sought to hide his affair with the White House intern Lewinsky, a special U.S. appeals court released a report by independent counsel Robert Ray, who said he decided not to prosecute after Clinton "publicly admitted his wrongdoing." In the final report on the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, an independent counsel said on Wednesday he had enough evidence and could have prosecuted and probably convicted former President Clinton for impeding justice and giving false testimony.

In an investigation that earlier led to Clinton's impeachment and then acquittal, Ray said he decided against prosecution because of sufficient "noncriminal alternatives," including "significant administrative sanctions" for Clinton. "The independent counsel concluded that sufficient evidence existed to prosecute and that such evidence would 'probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction ... Independant Counsel Robert Ray said that evidence showed Clinton impeded the administration of justice, including testifying falsely under oath three times in the Paula Jones case. Clinton had said he could not recall ever being alone with Lewinsky, said he had not had a sexual affair or engaged in sexual relations with her, and said Lewinsky's sworn affidavit denying a relationship was "absolutely true," Ray said.

Clinton's attorney, David Kendall, said, "There's nothing new in this report. It's time to move on." In a statement, he said, "The investigation of President Clinton from 1994 to 2001 was intense, expensive, partisan and long." At issue was Clinton's testimony more than four years ago in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case in which it was alleged he had had sexual relations with Lewinsky. Clinton denied he had, but later admitted the liaison.

"President Clinton's public acknowledgment of wrongdoing served the interests of justice," Mr. Ray had said. On the day before he left office in January 2001, Clinton admitted knowingly giving false, evasive and misleading statements in a deal with Robert Ray that ended the investigation without any criminal charges. Clinton accepted a five-year suspension of his license to practice law in Arkansas and paid a $25,000 fine. He also agreed not to seek reimbursement of his legal fees.

Ray's predecessor, Kenneth Starr, initially investigated the Lewinsky affair. Starr's report to Congress led to Clinton's impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives in December 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice -- the second presidential impeachment in U.S. history. The Lewinsky affair was one of a number of investigations of Clinton and his wife, now-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton conducted by the independent counsel's office, dating back to Starr's appointment in August 1994 The U.S. Senate acquitted Clinton in February 1999 and the investigations are said to have cost $70 Million. Ray had announced in September 2000 there was not enough evidence to warrant criminal charges against the Clintons over the Whitewater land deal in Arkansas. The report ended by quoting Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, who said his investigation of then-President Richard Nixon showed no one was above the law. "A generation later, let it also be said so here," Ray said.

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