John W. Whitehead
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Whitehead, 52, is founder and president of the Rutherford Institute, an organization based in Charlottesville, Va., that used to be known primarily as a legal aid society for conservative religious causes such as school prayer and creationist public-school science teachers. Then the institute last fall decided to help finance Paula Jones's sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton.
Whitehead says his concern for the underdog and his belief that no one is above the law were his main interests in supporting Jones.
One of Whitehead's first moves was to call his old friend and institute board member, Donovan Campbell Jr., to take over Jones's case from her previous legal team. Federal judge Susan Webber Wright dismissed the case on April 1.
Whitehead's decision to finance Jones put him and his institute at the forefront of what Hillary Rodham Clinton has called a right-wing conspiracy opposed to her husband. Clinton's lead lawyer on the Paula Jones case, Robert Bennett, has called the institute "an extremist organization [that] is financing this litigation for the purpose of trying to humiliate the president and to interfere with his very successful presidency."
(Updated October 2, 1998)
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