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Ambassador’s Widow Drops Lawsuit

May 9, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The widow of former U.S. Ambassador Larry Lawrence withdrew her lawsuits Friday against the National Enquirer and a syndicate over articles that alleged she had an affair with President Clinton to secure her husband’s post.

Shelia Lawrence dropped the $25 million lawsuits against the tabloid and Creators Syndicate Inc. to focus on a third $25 million lawsuit against political columnist Arianna Huffington, her lawyer said.

``Ms. Lawrence decided to concentrate her efforts on Ms. Huffington, who she feels is the person directly responsible for this,″ said attorney Deborah Dooz. ``She is more interested in holding Ms. Huffington responsible for her actions.″

Ms. Lawrence claims the columnist wrote that the ambassador’s greatest leverage was that he ignored an affair between his wife and Clinton.

Ms. Huffington has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment Friday night. A receptionist at Creators Syndicate, which distributed Ms. Huffington’s column, said no one was available to comment. A message left at the Enquirer was not immediately returned.

Ms. Huffington has said she stands by her work, calling the suit ``an obvious attempt to chill public discussion on topics that involve the accountability of our political leaders.″

Lawrence, a major Democratic Party donor, died of leukemia in 1996 at the age of 69 while he was the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland. Lawrence’s remains were disinterred from Arlington National Cemetery and reburied in San Diego after Republicans in Congress found no evidence to his claims that he had served in the Merchant Marine during World War II.

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