Gilbert Davis, Joseph Cammarata, Attorneys for Paula Jones -- May 27, 1997
DAVIS: My name is Gil Davis, and this is Joseph Cammarata. We are co-counsel for Paula Jones in her suit against William Jefferson Clinton and Danny Ferguson.
I would first like to tell you what we're going to do here. I'm going to give you a statement. Mr. Cammarata will do likewise, and then we'll entertain any questions that you may have.
First of all, let me just say that the Supreme Court of the United States has made it possible for Paula Jones, a courageous American, to finally get her day in a court of justice where truth can be tried. Today, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed a basic right in American democracy, a right that all Americans have -- the right to be heard, and that no one is above the law, no matter their privilege, power or position.
And I just stepped on your lines, Mr. Cammarata, and I apologize.
CAMMARATA: You certainly did.
DAVIS: So why don't you take mine.
CAMMARATA: Following up on that notion that no one is above the law, and that we all are equal before the bar of justice, what the Supreme Court has reaffirmed is that every public official remains accountable for their personal, private conduct regardless of their position within our society or regardless of the job that they hold.
And we're anxious to move this case forward, as is Paula Jones.
At this point, that concludes our prepared remarks and we're happy to take any questions that you might have.
QUESTION: How many depositions will you be taking of state troopers and perhaps women in Little Rock?
CAMMARATA: Well, that remains to be seen. In terms of our discovery plan, it all depends on what the president might admit to with respect to the complaint.
Please remember that for three years now, the president has steadfastly refused to admit or deny any of the allegations of this complaint. And it's about time that he do so.
And so depending on the admissions that he might make or the matters that are in controversy, that will determine the nature and extent of any depositions that we might need to take. QUESTION: Are you open to a settlement?
DAVIS: Well, first of all, all lawyers should be available to consider any offers of settlement. That certainly is no different in this case than it would be any others. But Paula Jones' primary interest -- and it has been this way from the beginning -- is the redemption of her reputation. That is an essential element of any settlement. And whether that comes by a statement by the defendants that is an apology, a statement that acknowledges that she was there and her conduct was good conduct, that certainly is an essential to any feature of a settlement.
It's up to our opponents to, if they choose, to proffer such an offer, and we would certainly take it to our client to consider.
QUESTION: Have you been in touch with the White House since the ruling was announced?
QUESTION: How about Bob Bennett?
QUESTION: Are you suggesting, then, that it's not necessary for the president himself to say -- This did occur and I apologize for that?
CAMMARATA: It's not essential what we think is necessary. It's what our client thinks is necessary. Our client has given us strict orders and those are quite simple -- to get her her day in court. And we're a long way ahead in getting that done now.
Finally, we've go this three-year delay out of the way and we can move forward with all good speed.
What Paula Jones wants is her good name and reputation restored. It's important to her that it be clear that she did nothing wrong in that hotel room, and that she is a good person.
So those are the essential points that need to be in any settlement proposal.
QUESTION: Do you think you'll get a trial before the president leaves office?
DAVIS: Yes, I think it certainly will be tried before the president leaves office. This case the Supreme Court, in a unanigement, just like every other case, is to be applied in this case. There are not special rules for the president. There are no special rules for the litigants here.
Courts are always obliged to consider the interests of the parties, the duties of the parties to carry out their jobs by -- and I might point out, just as I told the Supreme Court on January the 13th, that this is a matter that we're concerned, of course, to be sure that the president is able to carry out his functions.
And all the accommodation that we can give, we certainly would give. But there's not special rule for him. He's a citizen, like everyone else. And that's the important feature of this case.
It's a fundamental feature that all public officials are public servants. They aren't able to use their office as a shield for personal accountability. And the court, in considering what the president's needs may be, will certainly take that into account.
QUESTION: What are you going to do to get this case on track now? What's the first legal move going to be?
CAMMARATA: Well, the first legal move is to have the case remanded, if you would, back to the district court. And once we get there, we're prepared to issue subpoenas for documents, and we're prepared to vigorously prosecute this case.
We've been waiting three years. And as we have said, the delay is perilous to Paula Jones' case. Memories do fade. Documents do get lost or destroyed and witnesses could, in fact, become disabled or die.
And if you look at the defamation case, why is it so important that this case go forward? If Paula Jones were to die, or if the president were to die, then her defamation claim would be extinguished. And it's so important that her good name and reputation be restored, and so it's important to us that we move this case forward, and we're prepared to do so.
QUESTION: Will you be filing papers tomorrow, the next day? What -- can you just walk us through what the process...
CAMMARATA: Well, in terms of filing papers, the case has got to be sent back to the U.S. district court. And then at that point, we will be in a position to issue subpoenas.
We can -- we, as officers of the courts or lawyers -- can issue a subpoena. And make a request to certain third parties to provide us with documents or other information. We can issue notices of deposition to the extent we think that that's an appropriate, there may be an appropriate time to do that where we would call somebody in to testify under oath..
QUESTION: Your first plan is to issue subpoenas then?
CAMMARATA: One of the first plans -- well, we'd like to gather the documents, yes. There are certain documents that we'd like to do.
QUESTION: Do you plan to subpoena to president?
CAMMARATA: Well, you're talking about the deposition now?
QUESTION: Do you plan to subpoena the president?
CAMMARATA: I think clearly his testimony would be of some relevance to this case. And at a certain point in time, we may in fact want to depose the president.
DAVIS: Let me just say -- excuse me, excuse me. Let me just say that we have every expectation that the president -- who has excellent counsel, one of the finest law firms in the nation, one of the best lawyers -- certainly is going to be accommodating, as we are in arranging schedules.
I doubt that it's going to be required to subpoena the president. I think that this is going to be a matter of agreed upon times and places that the parties will agree.
And if not, the court probably will set some kind of schedules. Again, in accordance with the parties' schedules to do these things. So, I don't anticipate any kind of a conflict here over trying to force somebody to do something that they've not already agreed to do.
QUESTION: Could you tell us if that will be public? When you take the president's deposition, will that become immediately public? Or -- can they keep that under seal for some period of time?
DAVIS: Well certainly, we expect that all these matters would be done in public. But if there is a -- if there is some request by the president, that would come from -- or Mr. Ferguson, that would come from his side.
QUESTION: What about I know your client said she knows distinguishing characteristics? What about like photographs of the president?
CAMMARATA: Well, the federal rules do...
DAVIS: Mr. Cammarata, do you want to take it?
CAMMARATA: Oh, I'm sorry. Did you want to...
DAVIS: Oh no, I don't, that's your's.
CAMMARATA: I don't know if I'm more apt to discuss that question or what. Is that why you deferred to me?
DAVIS: No, it's your turn.
CAMMARATA: Oh, thank you, I'm sorry.
That certainly is allowed by the federal rules of civil procedure -- medical exams and the like. Whether that will become necessary remains to be seen. Like I said, we've got a bit of a road to go here. There's a complaint that Paula Jones has filed. Danny Ferguson, the state trooper, has answered that complaint. The president has yet to say yes or no as to the specific allegations. Was he in the hotel room? Everybody else seems to think he was.
Does he remember Paula Jones? Everybody else seems to think he does. And so, we're -- did he engage in the conduct that she alleges? Well, there may be a difference of opinion there. But it remains to be seen. We want -- and Paul Jones wants the president to answer the allegations of the complaint. And from there, then we'll chart the rest of the discovery plan.
QUESTION: What kind of monetary award are you seeking?
DAVIS: Well, the case has what we call a claim for relief.
And that was $700,000 in the aggregate for all the counts. Those of you who have been with this case for the long period here of three years know that Paula Jones was asking not for money but for a redemption of her reputation, and that the case could have well been settled before the matter was filed, and would have been long over with.
In fact, it was my view -- and I think others -- that it came close to happening. But because the White House issued a false statement to the press and it was one in which we needed to have a tolling provision to be sure that they would obey their undertakings in the statement, it blew up those negotiations.
So the money you have ask for in a lawsuit -- she was offered $700,000, the very amount that she sued for, afterwards to go on a television program, and she turned it down.
And I've said this so many times I guess I'm now blue in the face from it -- I just want to finally put to rest, again, the idea that she had anything politically harassing to accomplish here, no motive for that at all; that she wanted money, there was no motive for that.
All she wanted was her reputation. And it came close to being acceptable what the president would have said about it. It wasn't quite acceptable and they blew up those discussions. So that's the long and the short of it.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) to Judge Wright? (OFF-MIKE) Judge Wright? Is this to...
CAMMARATA: She's the judge that's assigned to this case, so we would expect to go back to her, yes.
QUESTION: Joe, who broke the news to her today about the victory?
CAMMARATA: I did.
QUESTION: What did she say?
CAMMARATA: She was excited. She was very elated. She thought I was kidding her at first because I...
QUESTION: What was she doing when you called her?
CAMMARATA: I didn't ask her that specifically.
But remember, there's a three-hour time difference on the West Coast, so I don't have that specific answer. But she was anxious that this case is going to go forward. She was thankful to the Supreme Court. She thanked her counsel.
And she -- I got to put in a little plug there -- and she's anxious to have her day in court, and is excited about the prospects.
QUESTION: What is the state of the legal defense fund?
QUESTION: Does the president have to just say that she did nothing wrong? Or does he have to admit that he did something wrong?
DAVIS: I think it would be inappropriate at this time to discuss what terms would be offered or would be acceptable. I've told you what was acceptable at one time. And now the next move, if there is to be another move on that front, would have to come from our opponents.
We've not received any such offers, and if we had, we couldn't discuss them with you until and unless there was a settlement that was reached.
QUESTION: What was the false statement the White House made? Specifically, what did they say that was false?
DAVIS: Something to the effect that she had not filed as -- some of you were here on that time. How many of you were here? Any? Nobody. OK. I know some of you were.
In Little Rock, we postponed the day of filing while we could continue to negotiate.
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