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Paula Jones' Attorneys Want Out (9/9/97)

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Judge Lets Paula Jones' Attorneys Off The Case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AllPolitics, Sep. 9) -- Judge Susan Webber Wright today allowed the two lead attorneys representing Paula Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton to withdraw from the case, as they requested.

Following a conference call with attorneys Joseph Cammarata and Gilbert Davis, the judge decided to let the two quit Jones' legal team, but directed that the case stay on schedule for a trial next May.

A rift among Jones' advisors went public Monday as Cammarata and Davis filed legal papers to quit the case, citing "certain fundamental differences."

The source of the impasse between the lawyers and their client appears to be over the terms of a possible settlement of the case.

Cammarata and Davis were known to be pushing for a vague apology from Clinton, along with a monetary settlement, while Jones and her husband were intent on a more explicit apology.

Terms of the settlement

The terms Cammarata and Davis reportedly presented to their client included a $700,000 monetary settlement. They pushed for the idea, thinking this was the best deal they could get from the president's team.

There have been periodic out-of court settlement talks between Jones' team and the president's attorney, Robert Bennett. But Bennett, who is in Australia on vacation, insists that there is no settlement on the table.

Jones charges that then-Gov. Clinton exposed himself and asked her for sex in a Little Rock hotel room in May 1991.

Jones has been adamant about a direct apology. Her recently-retained public relations adviser, Susan Carpenter McMillan, spoke by phone on CNN's "Burden of Proof," saying, "This is not about money. It never has been. It's about language, and you can't bring Paula Jones an offer that doesn't have strong language."

Bennett has consistently rejected a strong apology. "He will not admit to conduct which didn't occur," Bennett said.

The rift in Jones' team

Another reason for the split has been friction between Carpenter McMillan and the attorneys.

Carpenter Mcmillan told CNN on Monday that while Paula Jones didn't want Cammaratta and Davis to quit, she has already been interviewing other lawyers. Her husband, trial attorney Bill McMillan, has been involved with negotiations but will not become the attorney of record.

"This is a nasty and highly personal dispute amongst Paula Jones, her attorneys and her public relations representative, Susan Carpenter McMillan," said Bennett on Monday in a statement released by his office.

CNN's Bob Franken contributed to this report.


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