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Clinton's Lawyers Ask Judge To Dismiss Jones Suit


LITTLE ROCK (AllPolitics, Aug. 15) -- President Bill Clinton's lawyers today offered a detailed legal critique of the suit filed by Paula Jones and asked a federal judge to dismiss it.

If the suit isn't dismissed, the president's lawyers asked for a methodical pre-trial discovery process that puts off -- for now, anyway -- any questioning of the president on the sexual harassment allegations.

The new briefs filed by Clinton's lawyers answer questions raised by Jones' attorneys, and by federal district judge Susan Webber Wright of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jones' attorneys are seeking to question Clinton under oath about her allegations that he made improper sexual advances after summoning Jones to a Little Rock hotel room on May 8, 1991.

In arguing for a "phased discovery plan," Clinton's lawyers suggest that other critical witnesses be questioned first, while the court considers whether to dismiss Jones' suit altogether.

Clinton's lawyers propose the parties engage in written questioning, document demands and requests for admitting evidence until the court decides whether the case should proceed.


And the president's lawyers endorse depositions of "non-party witnesses" with information about the case -- witnesses who are not alleged to have been in the hotel room when the alleged encounter took place. This brief also notes that the Supreme Court did give the lower court leeway to take into account the president's busy schedule when determining how to proceed with the case.

In a separate 30-page brief, Clinton lawyer Robert Bennett urges that the case be dismissed on grounds Jones has failed to prove a valid claim under the federal civil rights statute she relies on in her suit.

Specifically, the Bennett brief contends:

  • Jones has failed to offer any evidence that Clinton deprived her of her constitutional rights -- even if her version of events was accepted as true. Bennett asserts that the law requires Jones to prove intent to discriminate against her -- and that there is no evidence that Clinton sought to affect her employment with the state of Arkansas.
  • Jones has failed to show, as alleged in her suit, that then-Gov. Clinton used his state power to violate her rights. The Bennett brief says that in Jones' account, she acknowledges she agreed to meet Clinton and was not coerced to meet him either by the then-governor or the state trooper Jones says arranged the encounter.
  • Jones has failed to prove either quid pro quo or hostile workplace harassment. It says she has offered no evidence Gov. Clinton took any steps to adversely affect her state employment; and that she has offered no evidence of any Clinton conduct after the alleged encounter that could be construed as creating a hostile work environment.
  • Jones has failed to prove allegations that her due process was violated or that she was "falsely imprisoned" during the encounter. Bennett says even in Jones' version of events she alleges no severe physical force or invasion of privacy as required under the law in question, and that she acknowledges she left the room freely after objecting to Clinton's alleged advances.

The Bennett brief also suggests parts of Jones' claim do not meet the thresholds required under applicable Arkansas law and that parts cannot be considered by the court because they were filed after relevant statutes of limitation had expired.

It closes by requesting, "For all of the foregoing reasons and for the reasons set forth in our opening brief, we respectfully request that the court grant our motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismiss all four counts against the president with prejudice." Dismissing the claim "with prejudice" would prevent Jones from filing her suit again.

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