Paula Jones' lawyers informed her they will soon abandon her sexual harassment case against President Clinton. Adjusting their settlement demand to $950,000, the lawyers made one more effort at putting the lawsuit to rest on Thursday.
David Pyke, one of Mrs. Jones' Dallas-based lawyers, said today his firm has sent her a letter informing her that their representation would last only through the appeal of her dismissed lawsuit. Appellate arguments were heard Oct. 20.
"We never agreed to represent her in a retrial or a further appeal," Pyke said. "We notified her if the case goes on, she's going to need new counsel."
Jones' first lawyer, Joseph Cammarata, told CBS News>/b> that President Clinton is just "skating by". "He (Clinton) has put money on the table to try to settle. Paula Jones has seen fit not to accept that money; she wants more. He's got to be sitting back saying this is a good day for me."
Bill McMillan, a California attorney close to Mrs. Jones and her family, said she was perturbed that her lawyers were airing the matter in the press. "She's extremely upset; however, if and when the time comes, there are a number of law firms capable law firms, excellent law firms ready, willing and able to step in,'' McMillan said.
Also today, Pyke's team telephoned Clinton attorney Robert Bennett and offered to settle for a flat $950,000 from Clinton, said another lawyer involved in the case. Bennett responded that he would have to check with his client, the lawyer said on condition of anonymity.
Bennett did not return a call for comment, but instead distributed a written statement to reporters: "I do not believe it is productive or appropriate to discuss in public these matters at this time."
This is not the first time Mrs. Jones has lost her legal team. Last October, her previous lawyers stopped representing her after disputes over settling the case. Those lawyers, Joseph Cammarata and Gilbert Davis, are seeking an $800,000 lien on any settlement money as payment for their work.
The Dallas firm of Rader, Campbell, Fisher and Pyke and Charlottesville, Va., attorney John Whitehead made no secret of their anger when Mrs. Jones' California advisers, McMillan and his wife, Susan Carpenter-McMillan, got involved in the settlement negotiations.
The Dallas lawyers also had been divided among themselves over whether to include a $1 million offer from New York businessman Abe Hirschfeld in the negotiations, officials in the Jones camp have said.
In the last few days, after Hirschfeld imposed conditions on the offer and failed to wire the money as he promised, the Dallas lawyers agreed that the money was unusable.
Before dropping her settlement offer to $950,000, Mrs. Jones had demanded $1 million, not including Hirschfeld's money. Bennett countered with as much as $700,000.
Clinton has denied Mrs. Jones' contention that he made an unwelcome sexual advance in 1991 hile governor of Arkansas and caused her to suffer harassment in her state job after she rejected his overture.