Memos From Jones Lawsuit Released
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ A federal judge today released several hundred pages of previously secret documents detailing the behind-the-scenes legal maneuvers in the lawsuit by Paula Jones that thrust the Clinton presidency into crisis.
The documents include the court filing in which Monica Lewinsky, dubbed Jane Doe No. 6 by the court, tried to avoid testifying in the sexual harassment lawsuit by claiming she ``does not have any relevant information.″
``Plaintiff seeks to depose Jane Doe 6 to unreasonably invade her privacy and subject her to harassment through questioning, disrupt her personal life, as well as cause her to pay unnecessary counsel fees and costs,″ Ms. Lewinsky’s lawyer argued in a motion filed Jan. 20, 1998, the day before the story of her affair with the president became public.
Attached to the motion was Ms. Lewinsky’s previously disclosed affidavit denying a sexual relationship with Clinton _ a document that landed her in the throes of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation.
The documents were released on the Internet as lawyers prepared to argue the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals on Tuesday. Negotiations to reach a settlement continue without success.
The Washington Post reported today that Clinton’s attorney, Robert Bennett, on Sunday rejected an offer from Mrs. Jones that would settle the case for $2 million _ $1 million each from Clinton and a New York real estate developer, Abe Hirschfeld, who has volunteered his own money for a settlement.
Other documents released this morning by U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright, who oversaw the Jones case, included affidavits from White House counsel Charles F.C. Ruff and Bennett, denying they leaked Clinton’s deposition in the Jones case to the news media.
Ruff told the court that neither he nor his deputies, Cheryl Mills and Bruce Lindsey, had released the deposition. His affidavit disclosed that the deposition was kept inside the White House by Lindsey, the president’s closest confidant.
Other documents show that the custodian of records for Mrs. Jones’ legal defense fund, which raised money for her legal bills, fought a subpoena seeking records from the fund.
The documents didn’t include a transcript of that deposition in which he denied having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. Starr has accused the president of perjury in that deposition.
The deposition behind the House’s impeachment inquiry into Clinton was widely believed to be among the evidence Wright would release. But the judge said Friday that no transcript of the president’s deposition was on file with the court.
Portions of the deposition were filed in Mrs. Jones’ written pleadings before the court and already have been made public. There was no explanation why the complete deposition wasn’t among the 214 sealed documents at the court.
Mrs. Jones claims Clinton propositioned her in a Little Rock hotel room in 1991, when she was a state employee and he was governor of Arkansas. Clinton says he doesn’t recall meeting Mrs. Jones and has denied anything improper happened.
Wright imposed a gag order in October 1997 as lawyers for Mrs. Jones began delving into Clinton’s sexual past and Clinton’s co-defendant, Danny Ferguson, began looking into her background. The materials being released today could include what both parties found.
At the time, the judge said she was worried that releasing volumes of information might taint a potential jury. After leaked information indicated Clinton might have lied in his deposition, news organizations, including The Associated Press, sued to get access.
Wright ruled against the media. But after dismissing Mrs. Jones’ lawsuit April 1, she agreed to reconsider the decision at the suggestion of a panel of the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Wright relented Sept. 1 and said she would relax the gag order because much of the file already had been leaked.
In dismissing the sexual harassment lawsuit, Wright concluded that no matter what occurred between Mrs. Jones and Clinton, Mrs. Jones did not prove she was harmed emotionally or in her career as she contended.
The Internet address for the court is http://www.are.uscourts.gov