Dean won't take stand in Liddy defamation suit

January 29, 2001|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

Attorneys for the Louisiana woman suing Watergate figure G. Gordon Liddy say they will not call former White House counsel John W. Dean III to testify in the $5.1 million defamation case, which resumes today in Baltimore.

"I've now decided it would be a terrible distraction and just take the case off on a whole other tangent," said David M. Dorsen, an attorney representing Ida "Maxie" Wells.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz suggested Thursday that attorneys representing Wells put Dean on the witness stand, saying jurors deserved to hear from him.

"If John Dean takes the stand, it will turn into Dean vs. Liddy, and that is something I really want to avoid," Dorsen said Friday.

Wells, now a community college instructor in Louisiana, claims that Liddy damaged her reputation by wrongly telling audiences that she kept photos of call girls in her desk at Democratic National Committee headquarters and suggesting she helped arrange trysts between the women and Democratic visitors.

Liddy is expected to testify today. He has said that Dean was behind the break-in, hoping the burglars would retrieve compromising photos of Dean's future wife, Maureen Biner. Dean, who has denounced the so-called "call-girl theory," was originally scheduled to testify.

This week, jurors could hear deposition testimony from prominent Washington attorney Robert S. Strauss, a former ambassador to Russia who was DNC treasurer at the time of the Watergate break-in. Fox News Channel reporter James Rosen testified Thursday that Strauss told him in a 1996 interview that some visiting Democrats would ask DNC workers to arrange female escorts while they were in Washington.

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