Attorneys for Paula Corbin Jones unveiled Friday the core of their case against President Clinton, releasing firsthand testimony they said shows that Clinton systematically preyed on women for sex and then used rewards or intimidation to keep them silent.
The information, packed inside 700 pages of legal motions, transcripts and other material filed in Jones’ sexual harassment case, questioned the character of the president who for the last two months has been under sharp fire for alleged sexual misconduct.
Included in the new material were large portions of Clinton’s Jan. 17 deposition in the Jones case, in which the president comes off as controlled and cautious, but also at times is clearly irritated and on the defensive.
Clinton denied in his deposition making sexual advances or having a sexual relationship with any of the women he was questioned about, except Arkansas singer Gennifer Flowers.
His lawyer, Robert Bennett, said the documents showed the case was nothing more than “cotton candy.”
“When you bite into it,” he said in a Los Angeles news conference, “there’s nothing there.”
The documents were filed in federal court in Little Rock, Ark., to counter efforts by Clinton’s attorneys to have Jones case dismissed before the scheduled May 27 trial. In the filing, attorneys for the former Arkansas state employee attempted to demonstrate that women’s careers prospered or declined depending on how they responded to Clinton’s advances and whether they remained silent afterward.
This is a crucial legal issue in the case. Jones’ lawsuit rests on her ability to show her own job standing suffered after she allegedly rejected an advance she claims Clinton made in a Little Rock hotel room in 1991.
The new depositions filed included Clinton’s answers to questions about Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern whose contacts with Clinton are now the subject of an independent counsel’s inquiry.
At one point, Clinton said the last time he saw Lewinsky was before Christmas, and that he joked to her that she might be called in to testify by Jones’ lawyers, who were attempting to show a pattern of Clinton making sexual advances toward women.
“I said that you-all might call every woman I ever talked to and ask them” to appear in court, Clinton said.
He also suggested his personal secretary, rather than he, took the lead in trying to help Lewinsky get a job. Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr is investigating whether Clinton and others acting for him helped arrange a public relations job in New York for Lewinsky to keep her from telling about a sexual relationship with Clinton.
Referring to his secretary, Betty Currie, Clinton said, “I think that (Lewinsky) and Betty were close, and I think Betty did it,” Clinton said in his deposition.
Furthermore, when asked about an encounter with former White House volunteer Kathleen Willey, Clinton said, “I emphatically deny” that it ever happened.
He also played down the incident by suggesting that he is the kind of person who, as president, often hugs and embraces people.
But Willey, in her own deposition, gave a different account of her meeting with Clinton in the Oval Office in 1993. She said that after she went to Clinton to seek a full-time job at the White House, he touched her breast and then placed her hands on his genitals.
“It was very unexpected,” Willey said in her deposition.
The depositions outlined the scenario Jones’ attorneys are envisioning for the May 27 trial, with a series of women taking the witness stand to bolster Jones’ case by describing their own intimate episodes with Clinton both while he was governor of Arkansas and now president of the United States.
Donovan Campbell, the lead Jones attorney, charged that the Clinton White House has mounted “a vast supression of evidence attempt in this case.”
Neither Clinton nor Hillary Rodham Clinton responded to the Jones allegations, and the couple left the capital late in the afternoon for the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md.
In Los Angeles, Bennett said Jones and her counsel are pursuing a claim that was not only frivolous but politically damaging for the country.
“She has no case. She has suffered no damages. She was never harassed,” Bennett said.
The next move in the Jones suit will be Bennett’s, who now can file a response to the Jones’ filing. U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright will weigh both sides and rule whether Clinton will become the first sitting president in history to be sued over his personal conduct.
Jones’ lawyers maintained Friday that the law does not require a woman employee to prove she was fired or demoted to claim illegal sexual harassment.
Clinton was not an ordinary employer, they said. Her lawsuit claimed that as the state’s chief executive, he used his power acting “under color of law” to violate her constitutional rights.
Moreover, an employer’s particularly outrageous conduct, even if it happened only once, can sustain a claim of sexual harassment, Campbell said, citing several court rulings.
The documents Friday included the first public airing of a sworn and signed statement from Lewinsky, whose dealings with Clinton are the subject of a criminal investigation by Starr.
As has been reported in news accounts, Lewinsky denied having intimate relations with Clinton either while she an intern, as a paid employee at the White House or afterward.
Later, however, during negotiations with prosecutors, Lewinsky’s lawyers indicated she would acknowledge engaging in oral sex with the president if given immunity from prosecution.
William H. Ginsburg, her lead lawyer who was reached for comment Friday, said that Lewinsky “stands by the affidavit.”
In her Jan. 7 statement, Lewinsky said: “I have the utmost respect for the president who has always behaved appropriately in my presence. … I have never had a sexual relationship with the president, he did not propose that we have a sexual relationship, he did not offer me employment or other benefits in exchange for a sexual relationship, he did not deny me employment or other benefits for rejecting a sexual relationship.”
At the time, Lewinsky was resisting any attempt to be deposed by Jones’ lawyers in the lawsuit.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Paula Jones’ case Among the examples Paula Jones’ legal team cites of attempts at “suppression of evidence” by President Clinton and his allies: Dolly Kyle Browning, a childhood friend of Clinton’s who has claimed to have had an affair with him in the past, gave an account under oath of how her brother and sister joined with Bruce Lindsey, Clinton’s deputy counsel and closest confidant, to seek a “deal” on what she would say about her friendship with Clinton. Included in the court papers was a letter to Browning’s sister, a North Little Rock lawyer, from Mitchell S. Ettinger, one of Clinton’s defense attorneys, suggesting the wording for a legal brief to excuse Browning from testifying in the Jones case. The president and his supporters “feverishly sought to suppress the testimony of Kathleen Willey,” one of the documents said, in referring to a former White House aide who alleged that Clinton made unwanted sexual advances to her. She was later given a succession of paid positions in the administration. She said in an addendum to her deposition in the Jones case that prominent Democratic fund-raiser Nathan Landow, a wealthy Maryland businessman, had encouraged her not to talk in any legal proceeding about the alleged sexual incident with Clinton. Willey has taped an interview that is scheduled to be aired on the CBS “60 Minutes” program Sunday night. She is expected to discuss publicly for the first time the alleged sexual encounter. Linda Tripp, the former White House aide who spoke with Willey immediately after the incident, was later contacted by Lindsey on two occasions and urged to change her account of her conversation with Willey, the documents assert. The brief asserts “numerous attempts” to suppress the testimony of Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern who was served with a subpoena in the Jones case on Dec. 19 of last year to discuss an alleged sexual liaison with Clinton. In his deposition, which is excerpted in the filing, Clinton said that his aide Lindsey had been the first to inform him that Lewinsky might be asked to testify. Clinton acknowledged activities that followed, including efforts to find Lewinsky a private sector job in New York. He also testified that he had a discussion with Lewinsky during a meeting on Dec. 28 in the Oval Office in which they talked about the Jones case. Two of the Arkansas state troopers who had been part of then-Gov. Clinton’s security guard said in depositions that Buddy Young, a former Arkansas state worker who was given a federal job in Clinton’s administration, pressured the troopers with threats and job offers to keep them from discussing Clinton’s encounters with women. One the two former Clinton body guards, Roger Perry, testified that Young had claimed to be representing Clinton and had threatened to “destroy” the troopers if they spoke out. Perry testified that he had warned Paula Jones not to make her case public, even if she could earn cash from a national publication for her story. He said he told her, “You better think about your family” because Clinton’s supporters would start to “dig up dirt.” John B. Thompson, a Florida lawyer, said in a statement that one-time Clinton campaign aide M. Samuel Jones III had told him of his efforts to track down women who were reported to have sexual liaisons with then-Gov. Clinton. Thompson quoted Jones as saying he had to “do whatever it takes to make sure that they did not say anything or do anything to prove that Clinton is a womanizer.” Thompson said that in 1992 Jones “specifically discussed paying them money in exchange for their silence.” Jones is a former Arkansas law partner of Clinton aide Lindsey. Gennifer Flowers, whom Clinton acknowledged having had sexual relations with on a single occasion in 1977, testified that Clinton had asked her to lie in an Arkansas investigation into how she got her state job. “He told me to tell them I found out about it (the job) through the newspaper, and that’s exactly what I told them,” Flowers said. In fact, she said that Clinton and his aides had found her the job. - Cox News Service