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Lawyers' War Of Words Continues

Quick settlement appears unlikely in Paula Jones' case


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 2) -- After a round of weekend news show comments by lawyers on both sides, chances look slim for a quick settlement of Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton.

Jones' attorneys, Gilbert Davis and Joseph Cammarata, said they are looking for Clinton to acknowledge, and apologize for, his alleged sexual advances toward Jones in a Little Rock, Ark., hotel room in 1991. Jones has accused Clinton of exposing himself to her.

But Robert Bennett, the president's attorney, said Clinton will not agree to any settlement where he has to apologize for something that did not happen.

On CNN's "Late Edition," Bennett said, "I can categorically state to you that the president will not apologize and will not admit to conduct which did not occur. Further, we will not enter into any kind of a financial arrangement, which if we did, folks like you would conclude was an admission of things which didn't occur."

davis cammarata

Bennett warned, too, that if Jones' lawyers try to probe Clinton's sexual past, he -- Bennett -- would make an issue of Jones' private life, too. Bennett repeated his earlier assertion that in the end, it will be Jones, not Clinton, who is embarrassed if the case moves forward.

Some of the lawyers' public talk could be calculated bargaining positions. But based on their comments, there doesn't appear much room for an out-of-court settlement that would let Clinton put the nagging issue behind him.

"Then I guess we are going to try the case," Cammarata said, after hearing of Bennett's comment that Clinton would not agree to a settlement where he had to acknowledge something that did not occur.

If the case does go to trial, Jones' lawyers say they will be ready to offer testimony that Clinton has a history of sexual impropriety with other women. They also say they have an affidavit from Jones in which she says she can identify a distinguishing characteristic in Clinton's genital area.

Bennett, however, said he would go to the Supreme Court again before allowing Clinton be examined to corroborate Jones' claims. "I would not permit the president of the United States to be humiliated in the face of the world," Bennett said. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled Jones could press her case against Clinton while the president remains in office.

Bennett remains willing to discuss a deal where president might donate money to a charity in Jones' name, as a way of settling the case.


Meanwhile, Anita Hill, who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991, said in a column in Newsweek magazine that the Jones-Clinton case has "enormous social significance," and the legal arena, not politics, is the place to settle the issue.

If Jones were to prevail, Hill wrote, "then we must face the fact that we helped elect someone -- Bill Clinton -- who has betrayed us on this vital issue." But if Jones' story is proven false, Hill wrote, it will show that the issue "is vulnerable to manipulation by alleged victims."

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