Clinton Lawyer Responds To Jones Filing
By Bob Franken/CNN
WASHINGTON (March 30) -- Attorneys for President Bill Clinton asked for sanctions against a spokesperson for Paula Jones Monday, claiming she boasted of trying to taint the jury pool in the lawsuit filed by her client.
Clinton attorney Bob Bennett said a filing by Jones' attorneys claiming an Arkansas woman had been assaulted by Clinton 20 years ago was part of the Jones team's "ongoing plan to taint the jury pool and to use these civil proceedings as a stalking horse for the investigation being conducted by the independent counsel."
Bennett said the Jones team's "recent filing is an act of desperation intended to forestall summary judgment or trial on the merits of her claims ... [A]ccordingly, greater sanctions are required up to and including plaintiff's counsel in contempt."
Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, claims then-Gov. Clinton asked her for oral sex in a Little Rock hotel in 1991. She also claims she suffered a hostile work environment as a result of rebuffing his proposition. Clinton has denied wrongdoing.
In his latest filing, Bennett reviewed the alleged conduct of Jones' spokeswoman and friend, Susan Carpenter McMillan. Bennett cited an affidavit he received two days ago from someone who had been at a meeting with McMillan in December: "During the meeting, Ms. McMillan, she explained that it was her job for Ms. Jones to poison the jury pool, so that no potential juror would like President Clinton. Ms. Carpenter McMillan stated she was poisoning the jury pool at every opportunity."
McMillan called that a "blatant lie," and indicated she will seek affidavits from the majority of the people in the room to confirm she never said that. She said there were about 20 other people in the room.
Bennett also included a deposition from the Arkansas woman, who said in response to hounding by the press during the 1992 presidential campaign, she had "repeatedly denied the allegations ..."
Jones' lawyers filed their own brief over the weekend, publicly raising the allegations of a sexual assault.
One of Jones' lawyers, John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, accused unnamed persons close to the president of pressuring the alleged victim into changing her story. "What we are alleging is witness tampering, suppression of evidence, which we think is a pattern of practice which we have seen in this case," Whitehead said.
The woman's attorney said they want no part of the increasingly bitter fight. "We don't intend to make any kind of statement that we admit it or that we deny it," said attorney Bill Walters.
Without the woman's corroboration, the allegation is solely based on a letter from a friend of hers. It would be considered hearsay and not admissible in a Jones trial unless the woman changed her story.
On Bennett's accusation that Jones' legal team is a stalking horse for the independent counsel, an attorney for Jones said, "This is a lie that Bennett keeps repeating in the hopes it will take root."
In another development, the Jones legal team has gone to the appeals court in St. Louis in an attempt to reverse Judge Susan Webber Wright's decision that no Monica Lewinsky-related evidence can be used in their trial.
A grand jury is looking into reports Clinton had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky, a former White House intern, and encouraged her to lie about it under oath. Clinton has denied both accusations.
CNN's Bob Franken contributed to this report.