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Clinton Ethics Complaint Reviewed

January 28, 2000

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday ordered its professional conduct committee to investigate complaints that President Clinton lied and obstructed justice in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

The committee could suspend the president’s law license or recommend he be disbarred if it finds merit to the complaints.

A phone message left Thursday for a White House spokesman was not immediately returned.

Arkansas lawyer L. Lynn Hogue filed the first complaint on behalf of the Southeastern Legal Foundation of Atlanta on Sept. 15, 1998, days after Clinton testified before Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s grand jury.

Thursday’s order was issued after Hogue told the court he thought the complaint had been ignored for more than a year.

``This is a victory not only for SLF, but also for the nation’s legal community and the millions of Americans who still believe that lawyers who lie under oath have forfeited their right to practice law,″ foundation president Matt Glavin said.

The second complaint was filed by U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright last April after she found Clinton in contempt of court during the Jones case.

Clinton was asked in both cases about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. In her complaint, Wright said Clinton testified falsely.

James Neal, director for the court’s professional conduct committee, did not return telephone calls seeking comment. In the court proceedings, the committee argued that confidentiality prevented release of information about the case.

According to committee guidelines, if the committee finds sufficient evidence to support a complaint, a docket number will be assigned and Clinton notified.

After Clinton and the accusers respond, the committee will consider the evidence and possible punishments. The most serious would be to refer the case to circuit court for disbarment proceedings.

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