SPLITTING HAIRS

01.26.12

Gingrich Continues to Lie About Telling the Truth Under Oath

Gingrich keeps insisting that what separates him from Clinton is that he didn’t perjure himself under oath when deposed in his divorces—the problem with that, as reported earlier in The Daily Beast: he was never deposed.

Newt Gingrich is still lying about telling the truth under oath. He went on and on yesterday in a Univision interview about how he didn’t do the same thing as Bill Clinton even though he was having an affair at the same time that he was impeaching Clinton for having an affair. Gingrich has been giving the same speech he delivered yesterday for years, distinguishing their conduct by saying he was only for impeachment because of Clinton’s perjury, not the sex.

Then he repeated a falsehood utterly rebutted by his own lawyer, as well as the lawyers for both his ex-wives, in the Daily Beast on December 30.

“I have been through two divorces,” he told interviewer Jorge Ramos. “I have been deposed both times under oath and both times I have told the truth in the deposition because I know—I am not a lawyer—so I know it is a felony. Bill Clinton, who is a lawyer, a Yale Law School graduate, he knew he was lying under oath, he knew it was perjury.” Pressed further by Ramos, Gingrich got aggravated: “OK, there is some place there where there’s a mental synapse missing. I didn’t do the same thing. I never lied under oath. I never committed perjury.”

This is the line he’s been using since a New York Times interview in 2000. He said the same thing to James Dobson in 2007 when he flirted with a presidential run and again to Chris Wallace on Fox last March. But his own divorce attorney, Randy Evans, who is his personal attorney to this day, acknowledged to The Daily Beast, “There was never a deposition.” Douglas Vassy, the attorney for his first wife, Jackie Battley, who was scheduled in court papers to conduct Newt’s deposition, says, “There was no deposition.” John Mayoue, the lawyer for Gingrich’s second wife, Marianne, told us, “Simply put, he was never deposed.” Court officials interviewed by The Daily Beast in the two different Georgia county courthouses reviewed the files and found no depositions.

Evans made a half-hearted attempt to explain Gingrich’s falsehood, contending that there “were filings where he was under oath,” referring to responses to written interrogatories that would have been prepared by attorneys and signed by Newt. Explaining that Gingrich isn’t a lawyer, Evans added: “I suspect that anytime he’s under oath, he treats it as a deposition. I guess he’s both lying and telling the truth,” said Gingrich’s lifelong friend and political sidekick. Of course, the average non-lawyer at tonight’s debate knows the difference between getting grilled by your wife’s attorney under oath and signing a stripped-down set of answers your own lawyer writes.

Gingrich’s own divorce attorney, Randy Evans, who is his personal attorney to this day, acknowledged to The Daily Beast, “There was never a deposition.”

In fact, as The Daily Beast pointed out weeks ago, Gingrich’s response to the interrogatories ignored most of the questions. Marianne’s lawyer Mayoue filed papers charging that Gingrich answered only two of the 32 sets of questions. A Gingrich attorney boasted in another filing that they’d replied to 58 of 300 questions. When one judge ordered complete answers, Gingrich’s lawyers claimed more answers were “in the mail,” and then Newt quickly settled.

Gingrich, whose deposition was canceled repeatedly by him in the first divorce, was just as determined to avoid a deposition of Callista, his current wife, in the second case. Callista’s attorney even said she’d take the Fifth Amendment since adultery was a crime. After one cancellation of Callista’s deposition, Gingrich’s lawyer deposed her himself with Marianne’s attorney not present, leading the courts to order a real deposition. That’s when the second settlement occurred.

Research assistance was provided by Emily Atkin, Matthew DeLuca, and Kyle Roerink.