Jones’ Lawsuit Made Many Famous
WASHINGTON (AP) _ If not for Paula Jones, William Ginsburg would be just another Los Angeles malpractice lawyer, Matt Drudge’s gossipy home on the Internet would be just one of 320 million sites and Betty Currie would still be an anonymous White House secretary.
Mrs. Jones’ lawsuit brought fame _ and infamy _ to a vast cast of characters. She lifted them out of the same obscurity _ that is to say, normalcy _ from which she came, an Arkansas secretary whose allegations tormented a president and upended other lives.
Ginsburg first made his name in swimming pool litigation. Now he may hold the record for most Sunday talk show appearances in a day.
If not for Mrs. Jones, Monica Lewinsky would be just another low-paid young worker making her way in the world, with a more privileged background than many.
Drudge rose to prominence with an account that prompted Newsweek to publish the Lewinsky story it had been holding. Now he’s getting a show on Fox TV.
With or without Mrs. Jones, special prosecutor Kenneth Starr would be hard at work. But he wouldn’t be the man who needs no introduction, if she had not provided fodder more salacious than the Whitewater financial dealings Americans find tedious.
Instead, because of Mrs. Jones, viewers of the local TV news on Thursday night saw Starr take out his garbage. They saw Ms. Lewinsky go out to dinner, too, with Ginsburg, her attorney and shepherd, at her side.
Ginsburg appeared on five TV news shows on a single Sunday, all the while protesting his interest in resuming life away from the spotlight. ``Five years from now, if he is not a trivia question or the corner box on ‘Jeopardy,’ then I will be deeply disappointed,″ said ``Meet the Press″ host Tim Russert, who figured Ginsburg’s five interviews were a record.
A former Miss America, an Arkansas state trooper, managers of a bookstore where investigators probed Ms. Lewinsky’s reading habits _ these people and more formed a roll call of fame or notoriety that arose from Jones’ dismissed sexual harassment suit. Among them:
_Kathleen Willey: The woman who says Clinton made crude advances on her in the White House in 1993 was seen by an estimated 28 million people when she went on ``60 Minutes.″ Friends and friends of friends came forward to support or discredit her.
_Other women: Dolly Kyle Browning , who went to high school with President Clinton, swore she had sex ``many times″ with him over more than 15 years. And former Miss America Elizabeth Ward Gracen said she had sex once with Clinton, in 1983. She said she backed out of negotiations to sell her story but ``some real slime buckets″ were trying to make money from her tale.
_Linda Tripp: If not for the lawsuit, nothing might have come of Ms. Tripp’s role as a confidant for Ms. Lewinsky. Instead, her secretly taped conversations shook the presidency. The Pentagon public affairs specialist now works out of her home in a ``flexi-place″ arrangement that helps her avoid the press.
_White House staff: Personal presidential secretaries are the ultimate in discretion but Mrs. Currie, like Rose Mary Woods in Richard Nixon’s time, has been drawn into the investigation.
So, too, has Bayani Nelvis, the steward in the pantry by the Oval Office, one of the few White House stewards ever to show up in the news.