LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ President Clinton said Tuesday he should not be disbarred over his testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case, telling a state judge that losing his law license is too harsh a penalty.

In a five-page response to a complaint filed by the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct, the president said that court precedents in Arkansas would prohibit a stiff sanction.

``On the basis of the relevant facts, the governing law and the applicable decisions of the Arkansas courts ..., a sanction of disbarment would be excessively harsh, impermissibly punitive and unprecedented in the circumstances of this case,'' Clinton's lawyers wrote.

The state conduct committee says the president lied about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky when asked about it, under oath, in January 1998.

The president's lawyers agreed with the state's claim that Clinton was trying to save face when asked about Lewinsky.

Clinton ``took actions motivated in part by a desire to protect himself and others from embarrassment,'' the lawyers wrote.

A federal judge found Clinton in contempt and fined him more than $90,000, saying he intentionally gave misleading testimony while she presided over the deposition.

Clinton's lawyers also acknowledged that the president didn't fight the contempt citation, but said he did not do so because the needs of the country came first.