Jones To Drop 2nd Defamation Charge
Oct. 29, 1997
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Paula Jones on Tuesday sought to drop claims that a former state trooper tarnished her reputation by claiming she was eager to be President Clinton's mistress.
Lawyers for the trooper, Danny Ferguson, have been questioning potential witnesses for weeks about Mrs. Jones' past as part of her sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton.
Bill Bristow, Ferguson's attorney, has defended the questioning, saying it's his job to ``determine what her reputation was.''
Ferguson allegedly set up a hotel room meeting in Little Rock between Jones and then-Gov. Clinton in May 1991.
In her $700,000 lawsuit, Mrs. Jones alleges 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 sued Ferguson for defamation, 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.
The proposed changes in the lawsuit came as Mrs. Jones' lawyers began talking to potential witnesses about Clinton's past.
On Tuesday, a former high school classmate of Clinton was questioned for about four hours in Dallas. 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.
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.