Documents in Paula Jones' suit released
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AllPolitics, October 19) -- Previously sealed documents from Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton were released early Monday.
The documents were released under an order filed Friday by U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright.
Before the material was released, Wright gave some indication of what would not be released:
The depositions were not released because, during a search of the documents, it was discovered that a transcript of Clinton's deposition had never been filed with the court. Wright said it would be unfair to release the depositions of Jones and Ferguson without releasing that of the president at the same time.
Clinton's deposition, taken last December, was videotaped. A copy of that tape has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which is considering impeachment charges against the president, but it has yet to be released to the public.
Transcripts of hearings were not be released because Wright determined it would be "very difficult to redact some of the transcripts to protect the privacy interests of Jane Does without distorting or altering the substance of those hearings." And that, she said, might make it more difficult to conduct a fair trial, should the case ever get to the trial phase.
In litigating their case, Jones' attorneys pursued allegations that the president had sexual relationships with women other than his wife, presumably the "Jane Does" referred to in Wright's order. One of the women cited in the Jones case was Monica Lewinsky, whose relationship with Clinton helped ignite the impeachment inquiry.
Jones' suit alleges that in 1991, then Gov. Clinton exposed himself to her in a Little Rock hotel room and asked her to perform oral sex on him. At the time, she was a state employee. Ferguson was sued because he allegedly helped Clinton arrange the liaison with Jones.
Wright dismissed the suit, saying that even if what Jones alleged was true, it would not rise to the legal standard required to prove a federal sexual harassment claim. Her attorneys are appealing that decision.
At the same time, the two parties have been haggling over a possible settlement. CNN has learned that Jones' attorneys are asking for a $2 million payment in return for dropping the suit.
Wright plans to release more documents next Monday at the same time, and there may be similar releases on subsequent Mondays.
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