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Clinton Harassment Trial Can Proceed, Court Rules

Sat., March 30, 1996

An appellate court has refused to postpone the trial of a sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton until he is out of office.

In a strong dissenting opinion, Judge Theodore McMillian said the ruling demeans the office of the president.

Clinton’s lawyer planned to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. “As we, and I’m sure the court, understood all along, this is an issue that is going to have to be heard by the Supreme Court,” Robert Bennett said in a telephone interview from Washington. He has 90 days to file the appeal.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis made the decision Thursday. A three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit decided Jan. 9 on a 2-1 vote that the case could proceed.

The case was brought by Paula Corbin Jones, a former state employee, who alleges that Clinton sexually harassed her during an encounter in a Little Rock hotel suite in 1991. She has said she rejected Clinton’s suggestion that they have sex.

The president has denied her allegation.

If the high court agrees to take the case, there’s virtually no chance a trial would start before the November election. The Supreme Court would not hear arguments until October at the earliest, and a decision would not be expected until sometime next year.

Tags: ethics

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