Jones Seeks to Reopen Lawsuit

President Clinton mounted a "virulent attack" on the judicial system while Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit was pending, Mrs. Jones' lawyers told an appeals court in asking that the lawsuit be revived.

The president's insistence that allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice are irrelevant demonstrate that his case is weak and should be grounds to restore the $525,000 lawsuit in an Arkansas court, the lawyers wrote.

Answers Clinton gave in his deposition, particularly those denying a relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, left the case "tainted by perjury, obstruction of justice or other fraud," Mrs. Jones' lawyers argued.

In arguing to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis, Mrs. Jones' lawyers say the "substantial evidence of felonies" by the president should lead the court to restore her lawsuit, which was thrown out by a Little Rock judge April 1.

"The nation awaits a response from the federal judicial system to this virulent attack on its integrity," Mrs. Jones' lawyers wrote in a brief filed October 1.

The 8th Circuit unsealed a portion of the court record Tuesday, and said it intended to release more documents.

In the brief, Mrs. Jones' lawyers cite portions of Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr's report on Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern.

Ms. Lewinsky filed an affidavit with lawyers in the Jones case, denying having sex with Clinton. Clinton lawyer Robert Bennett has since told the court the affidavit was inaccurate.

"... Monica Lewinsky's affidavit filed with the court ... was perjurious, and now this has been established beyond dispute," Mrs. Jones' lawyers wrote.

Yet at a Jan. 17 deposition in the case, Clinton sat by while Bennett "strenuously affirmed" the affidavit while U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright was present "and then Mr. Clinton himself testified that the affidavit was 'absolutely true.'"

"All perjury constitutes fraud on the court, but perjury acquiesced ... by an attorney and officer of the court threatens the very foundations of our system of justice," her lawyers wrote. A suitable penalty would be to restore the case and let a jury decide whether Mrs. Jones' suffered from sexual harassment, they said.

Starr's report to Congress last month alleged Clinton lied in his deposition when he denied having a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. The Jones lawyers contend that even though the report was not available when her case was dismissed, it would be crucial to supplement the record now.

Clinton, in his Aug. 17 grand jury testimony, said he did not commit perjury last January, because his sexual activity with Ms. Lewinsky did not meet the definition of sexual relations approved by Wright.

Mrs. Jones claims Clinton exposed himself to her in a Little Rock hotel room May 8, 1991, whie she was a state worker and he was Arkansas' governor. Wright tossed out Mrs. Jones' lawsuit, saying that even if everything she claimed was true, Mrs. Jones could not prove key elements of sexual harassment. Among the elements lacking was strong evidence that Mrs. Jones' suffered in a hostile workplace after rejecting Clinton's alleged advances.

In a response to Mrs. Jones' original appeal, portions of which had been released earlier, Clinton said the judge was right to dismiss the case. His lawyers said in a brief filed in September that Mrs. Jones' own statements indicated that she was never threatened with trouble on the job if she didn't comply with his alleged advances and that she showed no signs of trouble through her job performance, her health, or her emotional well-being.

The president said Mrs. Jones could not claim that alleged perjury and obstruction was reason to restore the lawsuit. "Attacks on the president's credibility do not establish (her) entitlement to relief in this case," his lawyer wrote.

A panel of the 8th Circuit will hear oral arguments Tuesday in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Mrs. Jones' appeal.

Also Tuesday, a source knowledgeable about settlement talks between lawyers for Clinton and Mrs. Jones said dialogue between the two parties is at an impasse while the Jones camp internally debates how to divvy up any payment.

Mrs. Jones' former lawyers have an $800,000 lien on the case and she also has to pay her current team. Bennett has offered $700,000 to settle but Mrs. Jones' team has not accepted or rejected the offer.

Written by Kelly P. Kissel