Lawyer Says Witness Challenges Accusation Against Packwood
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A lawyer for Sen. Bob Packwood released on Thursday what he said were excerpts of a deposition by a woman anonymously challenging an accusation against the Oregon senator.
Packwood attorney Charles Slepian refused to release the entire statement, and said the woman would come forward only in a public hearing.
In the excerpts, the woman said she saw Mary Heffernan kiss the senator on the lips at an abortion rights reception and thank him for his work.
Heffernan is one of 17 women whose claims the Senate Ethics Committee found credible evidence to support. She says the Oregon Republican grabbed her arms and surprised her with a kiss in his office sometime in 1981 or 1982.
At a news conference in Portland, Ore., with her attorney, Heffernan said she did not remember the incident the anonymous woman was referring to. She called the release of remarks from the deposition an attempt by Packwood to scare off his accusers.
`It’s an attempt to intimidate the women who have come forward and its an effort to prevent other women from coming forward.″ Heffernan said. ``I’m here and I’m not going away.″
``This does not alter Sen. Packwood being responsible for his behavior,″ she added.
At a news conference, Slepian said there would be many more statements to come _ as many as 100 _ from witnesses challenging the women’s stories.
Packwood last week reversed course and asked the ethics committee to conduct public hearings on the allegations of sexual and official misconduct.