Paula Jones' lawyer says all settlement talks are off Historic deposition is scheduled for Saturday

January 13, 1998|By COX NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- A lawyer for Paula Corbin Jones said yesterday that settlement efforts had collapsed in her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton, setting the stage for the two to meet in a historic deposition, tentatively set for Saturday.

David Pyke, one of the team of Dallas attorneys representing Jones, confirmed that his side had made an offer a month ago seeking $2 million plus a statement from Clinton that was essentially an apology.

But the president's attorneys rebuffed it, Pyke said, blaming them for leaking the offer to the press.

"They won't join in settlement talks," he said.

Pyke said plans were still on schedule for Clinton to be questioned Saturday by Jones' legal team.

Jones has announced she will be in attendance. But the White House has not confirmed a time or place for the deposition about allegations that Clinton made a lewd proposition to Jones seven years ago.

Robert Bennett, the president's private attorney, has repeatedly said that Jones and her supporters don't want to settle because, as he said last week, they prefer a "splashy trial" that will sell books.

Jones' attorneys were stung by the leaked information that they had increased the amount of money they were seeking in a settlement from the original $700,000 to $2 million.

"We haven't said it's this, or stick it in your ear," Pyke said. "We made a settlement offer. They didn't counter it. And we're not having any further settlement negotiations at this time.

"If they're going to call our case a sham and are saying it's impossible to settle, I think the full picture needs to be painted," he said.

In other action in the Jones case, a private legal group, the Rutherford Institute, will go to federal court tomorrow in Charlottesville, Va., to try to halt a challenge to their tax-exempt status by Clinton's legal team.

The conservative institute, which usually handles legal defense cases for religious rights, is helping to finance the Jones case.

Bennett charges that the group has become a front for partisan right-wing political forces who oppose Clinton.

Pub Date: 1/13/98

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