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Paula Jones seeks to drop defamation charge against ex-trooper

October 29, 1997

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ The woman suing President Clinton for alleged sexual harassment wants to drop her claim that a state trooper’s depiction of her as an eager mistress tarnished her reputation.

Paula Jones filed a motion to amend her lawsuit Tuesday, less than two weeks after lawyers for trooper Danny Ferguson began questioning potential witnesses about her past.

Bill Bristow, Ferguson’s attorney, has defended the questioning, saying it’s his job to ``determine what her reputation was.″

Mrs. Jones’ lawyers have begun talking to potential witnesses about Clinton’s past, and one scheduled for a deposition next month is Gennifer Flowers, who has claimed she had a long romantic relationship with Clinton. She has been subpoenaed to give a deposition in two weeks.

Ferguson allegedly set up a hotel room meeting in Little Rock between Jones and then-Gov. Clinton in May 1991.

Mrs. Jones’ $700,000 lawsuit against Clinton and Ferguson alleges that Clinton exposed himself and asked her for oral sex. She was a state employee at the time and claims Clinton later used his influence to land her in a dead-end job.

Clinton has denied the allegations and said he does not recall meeting Mrs. Jones.

Mrs. Jones filed a defamation lawsuit against Ferguson, accusing him of being the source of a published account that depicted her as eager to be Clinton’s mistress. If the loss-of-reputation charge is dropped, Ferguson will remain a co-defendant, accused of conspiring with Clinton to violate Mrs. Jones’ constitutional rights.

Defamation claims against Clinton have already been dropped.

As part of the quest for witnesses for Mrs. Jones’ case, a former high school classmate of Clinton was questioned for about four hours in Dallas on Tuesday. Dolly Kyle Browning has written a tell-all book that she said is loosely based on what she claims was a 33-year relationship with Clinton.

Ms. Flowers is scheduled to give Mrs. Jones’ lawyers a deposition in Dallas on Nov. 14.

``I don’t think it comes as a surprise,″ her attorney, Rugger Burke, told The Dallas Morning News. He refused to speculate on what Ms. Flowers might be asked.

Ms. Flowers claimed during the 1992 presidential campaign that she had had a 12-year romantic relationship with Clinton while he was married. He denied that, but said he had caused pain in his marriage.

Three state troopers who have said they helped arrange sexual trysts for Clinton when he was governor are scheduled to give depositions next week.

Clinton lawyer Bob Bennett on Monday asked U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright to delay or halt questioning that he said was designed to harass and embarrass the president.

The judge took the request under advisement after a phone conference Monday night. She also ordered everyone involved in the case to stop talking about it publicly.

``The judge has concerns to make sure that the jury panel that hears this case is not affected by pretrial publicity,″ said Bristow, Ferguson’s lawyer. He declined further comment.

Mrs. Jones’ lawyers did not return calls.

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