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E-mail From Washington

From: Bob Franken/CNN
In: Washington
Posted 6-3-97

Subject: Clinton's Attorneys Dig Into Paula Jones' Sexual Past

With Paula Jones' attorneys threatening to bring up accusations about the president's sexual past, Bill Clinton's lawyers are counterattacking with a tactic that has political risks: exploring her sexual history.

CNN has spoken with an Arkansas man who gave the president's attorneys a sworn statement this past weekend in Washington.

He doesn't want his name used. Sources confirm he employed Paula Jones as a receptionist-secretary in Arkansas in 1990. That's before her alleged incident with then-Gov. Clinton. He says her behavior was often suggestive.

The businessman told CNN he fired Jones officially because of repeated tardiness but also because she was "inappropriately flirtatious and offended customers, particularly women customers with her revealing dress." The man admits, however, that he had intimate relations with Jones while she worked with him.

Meanwhile, Robert Bennett, the president's attorney, would only say, "I am not going to comment [on] who I'm talking to or what witnesses are telling us."

But the head of the National Organization for Women, Patricia Ireland, called on Bennett to back off from what she called "an inappropriate and disappointing strategy."

Other feminists echoed Ireland's comments.

Martha Burke of The Center for the Advancement of Public Policy said, "I think that women have a gut reaction to that and feminist groups are going to have a gut reaction to it ... This may be crossing the line."

Jones' attorneys say they are gathering their own sworn testimony on Clinton's sexual past.

For example: women who might claim he propositioned them, or Arkansas state troopers who worked as the governor's bodyguards, who might know of incidents.

Each side is trying to intimidate the other, trying to get them to negotiate.

If that doesn't work, all signs point to a very ugly trial.

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