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Lewinsky: Relationship with Clinton was mutual

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, the center of a scandal after news broke of her affair with President Clinton in 1998, said Thursday her relationship with the president was "mutual" in every aspect.

"It was a mutual physical relationship, and emotional," Lewinsky said in an exclusive interview on CNN's "Larry King Live."

But she said she felt hurt as the president was forced to admit their affair and Clinton, she said, "continued to testify that I serviced him."

"For a woman, that's incredibly degrading," Lewinsky said.

Her interview came a few days before the release of an HBO documentary on her side of the story. "Monica in Black and White" airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.

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Lewinsky said the main purpose of the documentary, a taped session in which she fielded and answered questions from students at Cooper-Union College in New York, was to clear up misinformation about herself and the affair that have remained in the public eye.

"I think I wanted to clear up some of the misperceptions that were out there and fill in some of the historical gaps," she said.

The biggest misperception?

"That I went to Washington with an agenda to seduce the president and then expose that relationship so I could become famous," Lewinsky, now 28, told King.

She said the relationship with the president began with a "look" as Clinton passed her on a rope line as he departed the White House for a trip in November of 1995. The relationship lasted for almost two years, until May 1997, she said.

"I was a 22-year-old foolish kid. And I think I -- there was this charismatic, powerful man who was standing there showing interest in me," Lewinsky said. "And I was attracted to him, and I think I was swept up, you know, with the -- with the power of the presidency, and later found myself swept away by the government as a result of it."

Was she in love with the president?

"Not at first. But I came to" love him, the former intern said.

Lewinsky said it was Clinton who ended the relationship, saying that he didn't feel it was right.

She said that one thing that may not have come across in the documentary is the fact that she is sorry for the pain suffered by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton as a result of the affair.

"And I felt sorry, and I have felt bad about what happened," Lewinsky said.

She maintained that she filed a false affidavit when she was subpoenaed in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case against Clinton, not to protect the president but to protect herself.

"And I didn't want to falsely implicate him in order to save myself, because I could have done that very easily on January 16, which was the day I met with the FBI in the independent counsel's office," Lewinsky said.

There, she said, she was offered immunity from charges connected to her lying in the Jones case, if she would tell the entire story of her affair with the president. Part of the deal also required her to let investigators monitor her phone calls with Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie, who often admitted Lewinsky into the president's office, and Vernon Jordan, a close friend and adviser to the president.

She was also asked, she said, to "wear a wire to see Betty and Vernon and possibly the president."

Lewinsky refused.

"No! Gosh, no! I mean, I think if I had done all that, it probably would have been an open-and-shut case," she told King.

Lewinsky said that right now, she's still designing handbags, something she's been doing for the past couple of years. And she's also concentrating on her faith, studying at the Kabballah Center in Los Angeles. The Kabballah are ancient books of Jewish mystical thought, according to the center's Web site.

"It's been amazing for me. It's -- I think the combination of designing and sort of working on having my creative juices, and keeping that flowing, really and then stimulating my mental brain," and working my spirituality, she said.

Lewinsky said she hopes to marry and have children someday and is casually dating right now.

"Nobody married?" King asked her.

"No... never again," Lewinsky vowed.



 
 
 
 





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