Woman suing Clinton for harassment airs case to TV

June 16, 1994|By Dallas Morning News

Paula Corbin Jones, the former Arkansas state employee who last month filed a sexual harassment suit against President Clinton, begins a national media tour tonight by talking to Sam Donaldson on ABC's "PrimeTime Live."

Ms. Jones charges that Mr. Clinton, while governor of Arkansas in 1991, tried to seduce her in a Little Rock hotel room. The White House has said the charges are false and declined to comment further to "PrimeTime," Mr. Donaldson said.

In excerpts provided by ABC, Ms. Jones indicated that her lawsuit could be settled "if he was to make a public apology and it be what I want. To let people know that I did not do anything in the room that was sexual of any nature."

Ms. Jones said she was "not trying to hurt the president. . . . He needs to come forth and he needs to tell the truth and he needs to pay for what he's done."

She also said she has taken a lie-detector test, conducted by her attorneys, that "showed I was telling the truth."

Mr. Donaldson's interview was taped Tuesday in Washington. Yesterday, Ms. Jones talked to Cable News Network's Judy Woodruff with the understanding that the interview would be "embargoed" until after "PrimeTime" aired. A CNN publicist said yesterday that because of Ms. Jones' arrangement with "PrimeTime," Ms. Woodruff's interview will run at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

"She reached an agreement with us that she would not appear anywhere else before our broadcast -- and we expect her to honor that," Mr. Donaldson said yesterday. "But it's my understanding that after that she intends to do a number of interviews. So I guess this is the launching of a 'fall offensive.' ABC did not pay Ms. Jones for the interview and consented to only one ground rule, Mr. Donaldson said. He agreed not to ask her about what she has termed the "distinguishing characteristics" of Mr. Clinton's genital area.

"Frankly, I don't think I was going to ask anyway," Mr. Donaldson said.

Mr. Donaldson credited "PrimeTime" producer Shelley Ross with persuading Jones to do an interview with ABC instead of taking money in return for telling her story elsewhere.

"A few years ago, we wouldn't even be having this conversation" about checkbook journalism, Mr. Donaldson said. "Now I am a little surprised when we get interviews of a nature that could be sold for, say, $600,000. I hope we continue to be able to hold the line and not pay. Because it just kind of cheapens the product and cheapens the motivation."

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