Monica Lewinsky’s parents both play big roles in the events of that day at the Ritz-Carlton. When Marcia Lewis informs her ex-husband Bernie Lewinsky (Rob Brownstein) about their daughter’s predicament, Bernie calls his friend and lawyer Bill Ginsburg (Fred Melamed). Later, near midnight, Ginsburg confronts Emmick over the phone. After an expletive-laden diatribe about Emmick’s failure to connect Monica with a lawyer, Ginsburg demands that Emmick provide their offer of prosecutorial immunity in writing. When Emmick can’t deliver, Ginsburg tells Monica to go home, and she does.
In reality, Monica Lewinsky did turn to Bill Ginsburg that day for legal representation. As reported by Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker in 1999, Ginsburg was both Bernie Lewinsky’s attorney and longtime friend, and he’d known Monica since her childhood. It’s unknown exactly what Ginsburg said to Emmick, but Emmick’s recollection of the call matches what happened on the show. As Emmick was quoted in Ken Gormley’s 2011 book “The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr,” “[Ginsburg] said a lot of rude stuff to me on the phone.” Finally, Monica’s decision to accept immunity in exchange for wearing a wire really did hinge on whether or not Emmick would provide the offer in writing that night.
“Impeachment” ends before Monica makes her decision, so most likely that will continue to play out in the coming episodes. But as Gormley wrote, if Monica had taken the deal then and there, it would have changed the entire trajectory of Clinton’s subsequent trial.
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).