The Justice Department said Tuesday it will appeal a court decision compelling Secret Service personnel to testify in the Monica Lewinsky investigation.
Bert Brandenburg, Attorney General Janet Reno's chief spokesman, said the Justice Department, which represents the Secret Service, was filing notice asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to reconsider the case.A three-judge panel of the court ruled last week that independent counsel Kenneth Starr can question Secret Service personnel before the grand jury looking into allegations that President Clinton had a sexual relationship with former White House intern Lewinsky, then lied about it and asked her to lie.
Six of the full court's 11 judges would have to agree to reconsider the case. If the full appeals court does not rehear the case, the Justice Department could ask the Supreme Court to consider it.
If the full court hears the appeal, it would set Starr further back in his attempt to question Secret Service personnel about what they saw and heard about any relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky.
Justice Department lawyers argued unsuccessfully that forcing an agent to reveal the actions and words of the president could undermine trust between the president and his bodyguards and increase the chances of an assassination.