The author of the following letter, Julie Hiatt Steele, was the target of a politically-motivated prosecution by Kenneth Starr. During the right-wing impeachment drive, Steele was placed under immense pressure to corroborate the claims of a former friend, Kathleen Willey, who alleged that she had been sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton in 1993. When Steele refused, she was charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements, offenses which carried a potential penalty of 35 years imprisonment. The case ended in a mistrial in May 1999.
To the editor:
Once again I would like to thank you for your support during my outrageous prosecution by Kenneth Starr and the OIC [Office of the Independent Counsel]. Your attention to, and comprehension of, this travesty was very gratifying. You clearly demonstrated that it was possible to sift through the absurd allegations flung out for public consumption and recognize the truth.
I continue to be astounded that such an assault by our Government could have happened in this country! The OIC underestimated me on one more than one occasion. They thought they could overwhelm us with paper (much of which was irrelevant) and we would never wade through all of it.
I made it my business to be completely involved in my case. I can assure you that I read every single piece of paper and, additionally, did my own homework. They thought I would trade the truth for release from their relentless pursuit. I would not lie to them and I would not lie for them.
SOMETIMES I wish I did not know the things I know ... OFTEN I resent the fact that the personal cost has been, and is, so great. I never imagined that collection calls would be the norm or that I would have to sell our house to pay debt I never expected to incur. I had neither political savvy nor Press experience in the spring of 1997, I was wrong to lie for Kathy Willey and to trust Isikoff's assurance that my remarks would be off the record. I have apologized to the President and to the country for my mistakes. I continue to pay dearly for those mistakes. ALWAYS I know that attempting to set the record straight and standing for the truth was, for me, the right thing to do. I am grateful that I had the opportunity. In the end that is what makes it all worthwhile.
Thank you again for your support and your validation, it mattered to me, it still does ...
Julie Hiatt Steele