Juanita Broaddrick sues Clinton Administration over alleged 'smear campaign'
December 20, 1999
Web posted at: 5:59 p.m. EST (2259 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Juanita Broaddrick, the Arkansas woman who maintains she was sexually assaulted by then-Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton in 1978, filed suit Monday, accusing the president's office and Justice Department of trying to "smear and destroy her reputation" by maintaining a file on her.
The civil suit, filed in U.S. District Court, is the first legal action
Broaddrick has taken since she was interviewed earlier this year regarding her allegations of assault, according to her lawyer, conservative activist Larry Klayman.
Klayman, whose Judicial Watch has filed several lawsuits against the Clinton White House, said that the White House's action is a violation of existing privacy laws.
Broaddrick's suit requests that the White House and Justice Department be ordered to produce any records related to her and to stop "unlawfully
disseminating information from Plantiff's FBI and/or government files."
"We want to find out what information they have on her in violation of the Privacy Act and how she's been damaged by that information," Klayman told CNN.
"We know based on the Filegate lawsuit that the White House keeps files of perceived adversaries and critics," he said. "Filegate" refers to a disclosure that the Clinton White House once had improper possession of approximately 700 FBI background files, including the files of many prominent Republicans.
There is no evidence on the public record that the White House does
maintain information on Mrs. Broaddrick. Broaddrick wrote the White House on October 12 seeking documents related to her.
That request was turned down by the White House, according to documents filed with the lawsuit.
But Associate White House Counsel Meredith E. Cabe replied in an October 27 letter that federal laws involving disclosure "apply only to records maintained by 'agencies' within the Executive Branch."
"The President's immediate personal staff and units in the Executive Office of the President whose sole function is to advise and assist the President are not included with the term 'agency' under the FOIA and Privacy Act," she wrote.
Thus, Cabe concluded, Broaddrick does not have a statutory right to the records, "if such records exist."
Klayman disputes the White House's legal position. He says the
administration has acknowledged in the past it is subject to the provisions of federal laws and that a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth in the FBI files matter supports that position.
The White House had no comment on the suit.