Gingrich's Perjury Hypocrisy

A few weeks before the settlement, Bisek lost a related court case in the District of Columbia. A Nov. 23 decision would have forced her to turn over detailed records and be deposed within 30 days by Marianne's attorney, John Mayoue. Mayoue told the Associated Press at the time of the D.C. decision: "The documents, including notes between Mr. Gingrich and Ms. Bisek, might be used to test Gingrich's credibility by comparing his actions with his public comments about both his wife and President Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky." Mayoue said the D.C. judge had granted his client "virtually every document and every tangible item she's been asking for since September 10." As the Atlanta Constitution later reported, "the case was settled before" that deposition happened.

Putting off Mayoue's scheduled deposition of Callista, Gingrich's attorneys instead conducted a "deposition" of her without anyone representing Marianne Gingrich present, during which she admitted to having a six-year affair with the speaker. But the D.C. and Georgia courts ordered a real deposition of Callista. One of the sources involved in the case who asked not to be identified said that "Newt's attorney went to Washington and came out announcing there was a deposition," but Marianne's attorney "never got to ask a question." There was, according to this source, no recording or transcription of even this purported Callista deposition.

As for the sworn written submissions cited by Gingrich attorney Randy Evans, he even failed to comply with most of those interrogatory and document demands supported by both courts over a period of several months. Mayoue once filed papers charging that Gingrich had answered only two of 32 sets of questions, and a Gingrich attorney boasted about answering only 58 of 300 questions, contending that they could have legally replied to "none." Judge Robinson gave Gingrich until Dec. 6, 1999, to "fully and completely" answer the 32 sets of questions, and news accounts indicate that nothing arrived by that deadline. A Gingrich attorney claimed the answers were "in the mail," but settlement discussions began shortly thereafter. A source familiar with the details of the case said that "despite motions to compel Gingrich to answer these questions" sustained by the courts, he never answered many of them.

What makes Gingrich's invocation of his own history for truthfulness even more ironic is that he was fined $300,000 by a 395-to-28 vote of the House in 1997 for a series of ethics violations, led by 13 false statements he made in two letters to the subcommittee investigating him. He blamed the "inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable" answers that he admitted he made to the subcommittee on "exhaustion," and later on one of his attorneys. "The goal of the letters was to have the complaint dismissed," the bipartisan subcommittee's findings read, before the real investigation got underway. Only Gingrich "had personal knowledge" of the falsity of the answers, the subcommittee also reported, with the special counsel to the subcommittee declaring, to borrow a future phrase of Gingrich's, it "went to the heart of the issues" placed before the ethics investigators. "Over a number of years and in a number of situations," the counsel concluded, "Mr. Gingrich showed a disregard and a lack of respect for the standard of conduct that applied to his activities."

In fact, while Gingrich voted in favor of all four articles of impeachment, there were 126 Republican votes in the House against them cumulatively, enough to defeat two of the counts, including the one Gingrich still repeatedly invokes, the perjury Clinton was alleged to have committed in the Paula Jones civil suit. Twenty-eight Republicans voted against that article, and 81 voted against the fourth charge, which involved alleged false submissions Clinton made to the House, precisely what Gingrich had already conceded he'd done himself. The House defeated that charge 285 to 148, leaving Gingrich, who'd already announced his retirement from the House, in a distinct minority, unchastened by his own similar conduct.

During the House impeachment debate, Nancy Pelosi "looked straight at Gingrich, who was presiding over the debate, and reminded him that in early 1997 he had admitted lying under oath to the House Ethics Committee and had not been deposed," according to historian Steven Gillon in The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich and the Rivalry That Defined a Generation. We all agree that lying is wrong, said Pelosi, "but why the double standard?" Gingrich was such a carbon copy of Clinton that one woman who claims to have had a 1977 affair with him, Anne Manning, told Vanity Fair well before the Lewinsky explosion: "We had oral sex. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, I never slept with her."

Hillary Clinton reported in her 2003 memoir, Living History, that Gingrich actually whispered to her that "these accusations against your husband are ludicrous" during a state dinner in honor of Tony Blair on Feb. 5, 1998. On the heels of the most tumultuous month in the Lewinsky scandal, Gingrich told the first lady, who was seated next to him at the dinner: "I think it's terribly unfair the way some people are trying to make something out of it. Even if it were true, it's meaningless. It's not going anywhere."

"He completely changed his tune when he led the Republican charge for Bill's impeachment," wrote Hillary. Months after this conversation, "when his own marital infidelities were exposed," Hillary concluded, "I better understood why Gingrich may have wanted to dismiss the issue."

Tags: calista gingrich, focus on the family, james dobson, newt gingrich, wayne barrett

    • Wayne Barrett
    • Wayne Barrett was a fixture at the Village Voice for almost four decades, doing his first investigative feature in 1973 and writing more than 2000 stories between then and 2011, when he left the paper. He has also written five books, including two on Rudy Giuliani, a biography of Donald Trump and City for S...

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