MONICA-GATE'S LAST GASP
In his final report on the Monica Lewinsky matter, independent counsel Robert Ray said there was indeed sufficient evidence to prosecute former President Bill Clinton.
That report -- released Wednesday with the permission of the three-judge panel that appointed Ray -- cited Watergate in that the investigation reaffirmed the "principle and the spirit of the law that 'no one is above the law.'"
In a statement issued along with the report, Ray said: "In the independent counsel's judgment, there was sufficient evidence to prosecute President Clinton for violating federal criminal laws within this office's jurisdiction. Nonetheless, the independent counsel concluded, consistent with the Principles of Federal Prosecution, that further proceedings against President Clinton for his conduct should not be initiated."
In January, the independent counsel cut a deal with Clinton after deciding not to prosecute. It called for Clinton to publicly admit he gave "misleading and evasive" testimony in the Paula Jones case about his sexual relationship with Lewinsky, a former White House intern, and agreeing to a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license.
In 1994, Clinton and then-Attorney General Janet Reno pushed hard for congressional re-enactment of the Independent Counsel Act -- over Republican opposition. Clinton and Reno said they were convinced an independent counsel would clear him quickly of any impropriety in an Arkansas land deal popularly known as "Whitewater," and do so in a manner that had credibility.
Instead, the probe stretched on for six years on a variety of matters and came to be identified in the minds of many as a partisan effort -- one with unlimited time and unlimited taxpayer funds to investigate.
Former Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri, now a media officer with the Democratic National Committee, said the report was nothing new. "It's not clear what the purpose of the report is," Palmieri was quoted as saying by CBS News, "other than to promote Robert Ray's Senate campaign, Monica Lewinsky's HBO special and the Paula Jones vs. Tonya Harding boxing match."
-- Did Clinton get off easy? Why or why not? Do you think he should've faced charges for lying under oath?
JUDGE TOSSES COLUMBINE LAWSUIT
A judge in Denver has thrown out a lawsuit that claimed that video game makers and filmmakers bore part of the blame for the Columbine High School massacre.
The suit was filed by the family of Dave Sanders -- the one teacher who was killed in the April 1999 shooting in Littleton, Colo. -- on behalf of the other victims.
But Judge Lewis Babcock ruled that the makers of violent games and movies could not have reasonably foreseen that people who used their products would go on to commit violent acts.
Sanders and 12 other people, all students, were killed by two teenage boys who then turned their guns on themselves. The shooters allegedly were video game buffs.
-- Do you agree with the judge's ruling? Why or why not?
A new handbook offers advice from stars, publicists and agents on the proper etiquette for dealing with celebrities that you just happen to bump into in public places.
Say you run into Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts at the mall or the library. This book tells you how to behave in a way that maximizes your chance of getting an autograph and minimizes your chance of making a complete fool of yourself.
"A Visitor's Guide to Celebrity Etiquette" was mainly written by Mike Sington, director of studio guide casting and development at Universal Studios Hollywood. "We really wrote the book kind of tongue-in-cheek as a public service," he said. "When people come to Los Angeles ... everybody wants to see a star. We want it to be a positive experience for them and the stars."
Proper etiquette when encountering a celebrity pretty closely resembles the basic rules of politeness most of us learned as children. Don't point. Don't stare. Don't ask someone how much money they make.
The book goes a little deeper than that, though.
Jamie Lee Curtis advises against telling stars they look better in person than on the screen. "Since they're supposed to look good on the screen," she said, "it makes them feel like they're not doing their job well."
You're not supposed to move a celebrity's child aside to get to the celebrity. The book tells about the daughter of a big star who remembers her childhood as one big photo session, and now pays $300 an hour for therapy.
A lot of people might be nervous encountering a star, but Sington said most stars understand that being recognized comes with the territory. "They are smart enough business people to understand that the folks on those trams are the ones who watch their shows and buy tickets to their movies," he said.
-- Have you ever "bumped" into a celebrity in a public place? What did you do?
(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)