White House On Defensive

Lawyers for Paula Jones claim President Clinton has tried to silence Monica Lewinsky and Kathleen Willey in a campaign to suppress evidence of predatory behavior toward women.

The accusations are included in court papers filed Tuesday in Little

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Rock, Arkansas, where Jones' has filed a sexual harassment suit against Clinton.

Jones' lawyers contend Clinton has tried to cover up what they say is a pattern of rewarding women who grant him sexual favors and punishing those who don't, using threats or promises to keep them quiet.

Jones' lawyers also say Clinton "feverishly" sought to suppress the testimony of Willey with a paid job and White House appointments.

The White House Tuesday defended the release of Willey's friendly letters and phone messages. CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante reports that reporters at a White House briefing asked why the material was released.

"Because she was on in front of however many millions of people and there was some desire to have information on the public record that would place in some context information so Americans could understand the story," said White House spokesman Mike McCurry.

And that context, say other staff members, is that in these letters Willey describes herself as the president's number one fan and signs off "fondly." They don't seem to be the work of someone who is angry or estranged.

But Plante reports that sources close to Willey argue the letters prove nothing. They say she went to see Mr. Clinton because she was desperate for a job.

Meanwhile, a Washington grand jury meets again Wednesday to look into allegations that Mr. Clinton had an affair with former intern Monica Lewisnky and lied about it in a deposition in the Jones suit.

Jurors heard Tuesday from Catherine Allday Davis, 24, a classmate of Lewinsky's at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore.

Lewinsky herself made an infrequent public appearance Tuesday night at the Washington Wizards basketball game against Denver. She was accompanied by a friend and her attorney, William Ginsburg. Plante reports that it is not known when Lewinsky will be called before the grand jury, but it appears that she will continue to maintain the she had no affair with the president.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans called the White House tactics character assassination.

"There has never been a person who has criticized this president who they haven't tried to smear into the ground," said Sen. Orrin Hatch.

The president's lawyer also suggested that the reason Willey went on 60 Minutes, is that she was tryinlate last week to sell a book.

Not true, says Willey's lawyer. He tells CBS News he floated the idea months ago, but dropped it.

A publisher has confirmed that Willey was seeking a $300,000 deal for her autobiography before she charged President Clinton with making an unwanted sexual advance on national television.

Michael Viner, head of New Millenium Entertainment in Beverly Hills, Calif., said Willey's lawyer contacted him six or seven weeks ago offering a book about her life that would include the alleged encounter with Clinton, her ordeal over her husband's suicide and her views of political life in Washington.

The book discussions commenced just a few weeks after Willey gave a deposition to lawyers in the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit against Clinton. Viner said he decided against the book deal after seeing Willey on 60 Minutes.

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report