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Paula Jones Wants To Amend Her Complaint

The president's lawyers cry foul

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Nov. 11) -- In another wrinkle to pre-trial maneuvering in the Paula Jones case, the woman who says then-Gov. Bill Clinton propositioned her in 1991 wants to add new allegations to her legal complaint.

But Clinton's lawyers says it's an attempt to widen the lawsuit into an attack fueled by gossip and rumor, and they are fighting it.

The president's lawyers objected on Monday to an attempt by Jones to drop defamation claims in her complaint, and list new allegations. If the judge permits that, Jones' past would be off-limits, and her lawyers would be free to pursue a new Jones claim that women who "succumbed" to Clinton's sexual advances benefited.

In a filing with the court, Clinton's lawyers said that would "make it not a trial about Paula Jones and what did or did not occur at the Excelsior Hotel in May 1991, but rather, a trial about the rumors and gossip concerning the president's alleged contact with other women."

Jones claims that Clinton asked her for oral sex; Clinton has denied any wrongdoing, and the case is scheduled to go to trial in May 1998. Clinton's co-defendant is state trooper Danny Ferguson, who Jones claims helped arrange the Excelsior Hotel meeting.


Jones' original complaint says Ferguson damaged her reputation by claiming she was eager to become Clinton's mistress. But after Ferguson's lawyer began taking depositions about Jones' reputation, she sought to drop the defamation claim, which would put her past off-limits in the trial.

Witness lists are due in a month, and Clinton's lawyers said it would unfairly prejudice the president if he has to defend himself against a more far-reaching lawsuit.

Monday was also the deadline for Clinton to respond to 72 questions posed by Jones' legal team, including ones that touch on his past sexual behavior. Those responses may not be available until Wednesday, when the courts reopen after today's Veterans Day holiday.

But the responses also could remain confidential until the trial, because U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright last month imposed a gag order in the case.

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