President Clinton may have thought he was escaping the heat Thursday as he headed off to Europe, but soon after he was airborne, a heated judge zapped him with $90,686 in fines for false and misleading testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, reports CBS News Correspondent Phil Jones.
Arkansas federal judge Susan Webber Wright said the "sanctions are being imposed, not only to deter others who might consider emulating the presidents conduct, but to compensate the plantiff" Paula Jones, who sued the president for sexual harassment. Most of the the money will go to Jones and her attorneys. (For Judge Wright's complete ruling, click here.)
It was Mr. Clinton's testimony in January 1998, in the Jones case, that resulted in him becoming the first president to ever be cited for contempt of court.
"At any time were you and Monica Lewinsky together alone in the Oval Office," a lawyer asked the president.
"I don't recall," Mr. Clinton replied.
But six months later, the president changed his sworn testimony.
"When I was alone with Ms. Lewinsky on certain occasions in early 1996 and once in early 1997, I engaged in conduct that was wrong," he said.
Judge Wright was so upset by Mr. Clinton's court "misconduct" that she ordered the president, who had asked her to come to Washington for the Jones deposition, to pay $1,202 for her trip.
The president was told about the $90,000 in fines before he arrived in Italy. He reportedly had no reaction, but there was a terse statement from the president's lawyer saying, "We accept the judgement of the court and we will comply with it."
This may not be the end for the president. Judge Wright has also asked the Arkansas Supreme Court's Committee on Professional Conduct to determine whether it should take action against Mr. Clinton. He could be disbarred.