WASHINGTON -- Paula Corbin Jones will receive $200,000 from the money President Clinton paid to settle her sexual-misconduct lawsuit, under a deal made yesterday by several groups of lawyers who had represented her.
Clinton and Jones agreed in November to settle her case out of court, after a judge had dismissed it and she began pursuing an appeal, and Clinton paid an agreed $850,000 to end the lawsuit. There was no apology involved, although earlier Jones had insisted on one.
Since then, an increasingly bitter fight had broken out among the lawyers who had handled her case at various stages, with competing fee claims along with charges of malpractice and bad faith traded back and forth.
Yesterday, however, all the attorneys involved notified U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright of Little Rock, who was pondering what to do about the competing claims, that they had reached an agreement on how to divide the money. The judge turned over the $850,000 Clinton check -- money gathered mainly from insurance.
Joseph Cammarata, one of Jones' original attorneys when she filed the lawsuit in 1994 and during her appeal to the Supreme Court, said last night that Jones will get $200,000 of the Clinton funds and $733,000 will be split among three groups of lawyers.
"Everyone can move on now," Cammarata said, praising the lawyer who "represented our interests" in getting a fee-split deal.
The total to be paid, $933,000, is more than Clinton paid, but Cammarata said the additional sum will come from "other revenues," which he declined to specify.
Cammarata and Gilbert Davis, another member of Jones' original legal team, will share $350,000 -- compared with the $874,571 they had claimed they were due. They had turned down an offer from other lawyers of $25,000.
Those two attorneys had dropped out as Jones' lawyers in September 1997, saying she had turned down a deal they had worked out then for Clinton to pay $700,000.
Rader, Campbell, Fisher & Pyke, a Dallas law firm that took over Jones' case, and continued with it until she filed her appeal after it was dismissed, will be paid $283,000 under the lawyers' agreement. It is unknown what their claim totaled.
Finally, the Rutherford Institute, a Charlottesville conservative legal advocacy group that had been paying the expenses of Jones' lawsuit, will be paid $100,000. It had said in January that its outlays were at least $415,000 and still rising.
Wright had said she would not act on the lawyers' fee dispute until at least May -- apparently prompting the lawyers to negotiate their deal.
That agreement leaves only one issue still before the judge in the Jones case -- which led to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The remaining issue is whether Clinton will be charged with contempt of court for "misleading" statements he made under oath in the Jones case in January 1998.
The judge has said she will decide whether his denial of a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky should be punished. She has set no timetable for making that decision, however.
Pub Date: 3/05/99