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William Ginsburg, who represented Monica Lewinsky, dead at 70

Tim Sloan / AFP-Getty Images File

William Ginsburg, who represented Monica Lewisnky for six months during the Clinton sex scandal, has died.

William Ginsburg, who rocketed to fame as Monica Lewisnky's attorney during the Bill Clinton sex scandal, has died at his Los Angeles home after a battle with cancer. He was 70.

The obituary notice in the Los Angeles Daily News didn't even mention the six-month gig that made him a household name, focusing instead on the meat of his practice: swimming pool injury lawsuits, a dispute over Liberace's remains and right-to-die cases.

It was through Ginsburg's medical malpractice work that he met Lewinsky's radiologist father, who tapped him to represent the White House intern in 1998 after her affair with the president became public.


He brought a fatherly air to the case as he locked horns with special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. He didn't shy from the limelight, once appearing on all five Sunday morning news shows -- a feat that is still known as "the full Ginsburg."

His handling of the case drew mixed reviews. When he was replaced, he wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in which he noted he had kept Lewinsky out of the grand jury and away from indictment for six months and insisted the parting was amiable and mutual.

"A person apparently needs a passport to get into Washington, and that the city is one where even the natives eat their young," he wrote.

"It is a disgrace that our governmental city is so insular and out of touch with the people of the country they govern. I am not a Washington insider but a hell of a trial lawyer, with an innate sense of right and wrong and up for any fight, even with an anti-constitutional monster."

Ginsburg's obituary said that in 45 years of work he tried more than 300 cases in 21 states. He is survived by his wife, three children, two grandchildren, his mother and a brother.