Diana Biographer to write Lewinsky Book

  • The National Post
  • |
  • November 17, 1998

by Karen Feld

Monica Lewinsky is finally making some money from notoriety. The former White House intern will reportedly receive a seven-figure fee for a book on her relationship with Bill Clinton, the U.S. president, with the working title In Retrospect.

There is no telling whether the same title will grace the cover of the final version of the book, due to hit the shelves in February, according to the New York Post.

The book was written jointly by Ms. Lewinsky and her mother, Marcia Lewis, a sometime author whose The Private Lives of the Three Tenors hinted at her own affair with the opera star Placido Domingo.

However, the Lewis-Lewinsky version will apparently be re-written by Andrew Morton, the former tabloid journalist from Britain who wrote a biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, and been sold to St. Martin’s Press, a company that specializes in quickly producing books on sensational news subjects.

Ms. Lewinsky and her mother were believed to be seeking $10-million (US) for rights to their manuscript. Movie rights were to be additional. The book deal is said to be for less than that, but proposed television interviews could earn several million dollars more.

The first of those interviews will reportedly take place with Barbara Walters on ABC television. Citing journalistic ethics, ABC does not pay for interviews. The network has, nevertheless, agreed to allow Ms. Lewinsky to sell foreign rights to the program.

The interview will be aired when the book is released, boosting sales.

Under the terms of her immunity-from-prosecution deal, Ms. Lewinsky must seek independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s approval before she can speak publicly about her affair with Mr. Clinton. Mr. Starr is not expected to stand in her way.

Mr. Starr may be more worried about an investigation Newsweek says the U.S. Justice Department is about to launch into his dealings with Ms. Lewinsky. According to her Grand Jury testimony, when Mr. Starr’s aides first spoke to her last January, they tried to discourage her from calling her lawyer, Frank Carter, something that is unethical under Justice Department rules.

Mr. Starr’s aides allegedly argued Mr. Carter was not a criminal lawyer and that calling him could lead to her losing immunity from prosecution which, in turn, might result in her facing 27 years in jail, Newsweek says.

At this point, it says, Ms. Lewinsky burst into tears and said she wanted to call her mother, prompting Mr. Starr’s lawyers to say she was old enough not to have to call her “mommy.” While the book and television deals look promising, Ms. Lewinsky got only small change for her two-bedroom apartment in Australia.

She had offered a share in the property, situated in an unfashionable suburb of Sydney, to her former confidante Linda Tripp in return for the woman’s silence. Ms. Tripp refused.

The drab sixth-floor unit sold for just $85,000 (US), almost $10,000 (US) less than expected. It was purchased in 1987 when Ms. Lewinsky was 13 for $33,000 (US), part of a sum she inherited from a Sydney-based relative.

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