Allege Coverup By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 14, 1998; Page A01
Much of the once-secret evidence in the Paula Jones lawsuit exploded into public view yesterday as her lawyers filed hundreds of pages of documents that collectively accuse President Clinton of a pattern of sexual indiscretions and an elaborate campaign to cover them up.
The massive filing in U.S. District Court in Little Rock detailed in graphic terms the womanizing allegations that have trailed Clinton for years, including sworn testimony by four women who said they had sexual encounters with the president, and testimony by his former state police bodyguards in Arkansas that he used them to solicit women. Also among the documents was the first public transcript of most of Clinton's own sworn deposition in January.
In addition to Jones, who has charged that Clinton lured her to a hotel suite and asked for oral sex, the previously sealed documents include portions of depositions from Gennifer Flowers and high school friend Dolly Kyle Browning, both of whom described years-long love affairs with Clinton. Former White House aide Kathleen E. Willey asserted in her own deposition that the president groped her in a private hallway leading to the Oval Office.
In his deposition, Clinton denied any sexual contact with Jones, Browning, Willey and others, and said he had had one sexual encounter with Flowers, in 1977.
The public release of 700 pages of papers connected to the Jones case marked a once-unthinkable moment in the history of the presidency. While other commanders-in-chief have been accused of licentious behavior, never before has one had allegations about his extramarital life exposed to such a public discussion in such intimate detail, let alone in a court of law.
The president's defense attorney hotly disputed the Jones allegation of obstruction yesterday, charging that the lawyers released the salacious exhibits because the legal core of their suit was so weak. "This case is like a big piece of cotton candy," Clinton lawyer Robert S. Bennett said in a news conference. "When you bite into it, it just doesn't exist."
Bennett called the Jones filing "scurrilous," and said it was a "vehicle to humiliate and embarrass the president" with the public release of documents containing testimony that had nothing to do with the legal matters at issue in Jones's case.
The documents were released in support of Jones's rebuttal to a motion made last month by Clinton's attorneys, who had asserted Jones could not prove her case and asked the judge to throw it out before a scheduled May 27 trial. Bennett will respond before the judge rules.
The Jones suit, originally filed in 1994, charges that her civil rights were violated and her career in state government stunted after she refused Clinton's May 8, 1991, advance.
In arguing against Clinton's motion, Jones's rebuttal detailed the now-familiar ways in which she alleges she suffered job discrimination. But much of her argument, and virtually all of the voluminous documentation, chronicled what she charges is a history of sexual escapades and a "vast enterprise to suppress evidence in this case and otherwise corrupt these proceedings."
By charging that Clinton and his legal team have tried to obstruct the progress of her case, Jones's lawyers seemed to underscore the convergence of her civil lawsuit with independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's criminal investigation of the president. That investigation itself was sparked by the Jones case after allegations surfaced that Clinton tried to silence former White House aide Monica S. Lewinsky yet another woman called by Jones's lawyers to say whether she had a sexual relationship with the president.
Indeed, among the documents attached to their brief yesterday were some of the most significant statements involved in the Lewinsky matter, including her own Jan. 7 affidavit denying any affair with Clinton and a Jan. 21 affidavit from her onetime friend, Linda R. Tripp, saying Lewinsky told her about an 18-month sexual relationship.
In addition, Clinton's own version of his contacts with Lewinsky was formally made public with the transcript of much of his deposition, which matched the account reported by The Washington Post last week. During his testimony, Clinton denied having sex with Lewinsky, although he acknowledged exchanging gifts and said he warned her she might be called as a witness in the Jones case.
"I said that you all [the Jones team] might call every woman I ever talked to and ask them that, and so I said, 'You would qualify,' or something like that," Clinton testified. "I don't think we ever had more of a conversation than that about it."
The Clinton transcript, which included the names of several women blacked out and replaced with "Jane Doe 2" or "Jane Doe 7," demonstrated how the president alternated between low murmuring responses and indignant retorts. Throughout the deposition, Bennett kept asking Clinton to speak up and at a couple points he appeared to lash out in irritation at the persistent attacks on his integrity.
"After I went through a presidential campaign in which the far right tried to convince the American people I had committed murder, run drugs, slept in my mother's bed with four prostitutes and done numerous other things, I had a high level of paranoia," he said at one point.
At the White House yesterday, Clinton declined to discuss the matter and retreated from scandal-riveted Washington for a weekend at Camp David, publicly hugging Hillary Rodham Clinton as they crossed the South Lawn toward the Marine One helicopter. But he was feeling the same emotions, aides said. "He's very angry about what these stories do to him, to his wife, to his family," said one senior official who asked not to be named. "He's not happy. He thinks it's all malevolently motivated."
Much of the material attached to the Jones pleading yesterday confirmed information that has been previously reported in sketchy form. But compiled in one place, it presents a picture of a politician whose personal conduct has been questioned throughout his career.
Jones, Flowers and Lewinsky have all become household names and their stories are generally well known. While less known, Browning has publicly offered her version of an on-and-off romantic involvement with Clinton that she said lasted three decades.
But perhaps the most sensational allegation detailed in yesterday's documents was the account of Willey, who has never spoken publicly about an alleged 1993 incident first revealed last summer. In testimony released yesterday, Willey said that Clinton made a sexual advance to her when the then-White House volunteer went to see him on Nov. 29, 1993, seeking a paid job because of family financial problems. Clinton brought her to his dining room to give her a cup of coffee and while walking back into the Oval Office, she said, Clinton hugged her.
"The hug just continued longer than I expected," Willey said. "I felt like it was more than just a platonic hug." While his arms were around her, Clinton tried to kiss her and felt her breasts, she said. "He put my hands on his genitals," she said. Asked whether he was aroused, she replied "Yes." Willey said she broke away from the hug and expressed surprise. "I recall him saying that he had wanted to do that for a long time," she testified.
As she left the office, she said, she saw about six people waiting outside, including then-Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen and then-White House Chief of Staff Leon E. Panetta.
Clinton denied this account in his own January deposition. "When she came to see me, she was clearly upset," he testified. "I did to her what I have done to scores and scores of men and women who have worked for me or been my friends over the years. I embraced her, I put my arms around her, I may have even kissed her on the forehead. There was nothing sexual about it. I was trying to help her calm down and trying to reassure her."
To undermine Willey's credibility, Bennett has secured an affidavit from her friend, Julie Hiatt Steele. Steele has said Willey asked her to lie about the timing and nature of their conversations about the meeting, although Steele has offered several versions of their discussions.
Willey's account could be significant for several reasons. Unlike Flowers, Browning and Lewinsky at least in her tape-recorded conversations with Tripp Willey did not portray a consensual encounter with the president. And unlike Jones, Willey has not filed a suit seeking money and, in fact, strongly resisted telling her story under oath to the Jones lawyers and had to be ordered by a judge to do so.
The transcript of her deposition makes clear that she was a reluctant witness for the Jones camp, generally giving only stilted, one-word answers and forcing attorneys to extract each detail from her.
But Willey now appears to have had a change of heart. She has agreed to cooperate with Starr's investigation and showed up to testify before a grand jury this week accompanied by his prosecutors. After months of avoiding any contact with reporters, she also this week taped her first television interview, which will be aired Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes."
In her deposition, Willey said she was worried about her missing husband and discussed her "family crisis" with the president contradicting legal documents in a case related to her money problems in which she denied talking about her troubles with anyone at the White House that day.
Willey, who until then had been doing volunteer work in the White House social office, subsequently secured a part-time clerk's position in the counsel's office, starting in March 1994. White House spokesman Jim Kennedy said this week that the president had nothing to do with her getting that job.
Willey also managed to see Clinton alone in the Oval Office twice more without an appointment, both times ushered in by Nancy Hernreich, the director of Oval Office operations, according to her testimony. The first time took place two weeks later, after Willey returned to the White House after the death of her husband, who unbeknownst to her at the time had committed suicide the same day as her first Oval Office session with the president. Willey's final Oval Office visit took place in November 1994 on the last day she worked in the White House, she said.
Aside from her sexual allegations, Willey also plays an important part in the charge that Clinton and his aides have made a "prolonged attempt to suppress, alter, or distort evidence in the case," as Jones's lawyers contended in their pleading yesterday.
During her deposition, Willey was asked, "Has anyone ever encouraged you directly or indirectly not to talk about that incident?" At the time, she answered no. Since then, however, she has filed an amendment to her deposition replacing that reply with, "Nate Landow discussed my upcoming deposition with me."
Nathan Landow, a prominent Maryland developer and Democratic fund-raiser, has denied trying to influence Willey's testimony in the Jones case and she did not describe in any court papers what she meant by her answer. While Starr looks into the matter, Jones's lawyers have asked U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright for permission to reinterview Willey about the matter and to force Landow to testify under oath as well.
Two other examples of the Clinton camp's stonewalling efforts, according to the Jones lawyers, involved the president's close confidant, White House deputy counsel Bruce R. Lindsey.
The Jones brief contended that Lindsey called Tripp twice to get her to change her recollection of running into Willey after her first Oval Office session with Clinton. Tripp told a Newsweek magazine reporter last summer that Willey appeared disheveled, with her lipstick smeared and her blouse untucked, and proceeded to cheerfully describe a sexual encounter with the president.
The Jones team also accused Lindsey of contacting Browning, who grew up with Clinton in Arkansas and now works as a real estate attorney in Dallas, and "threatening to 'destroy her' if she told the truth to reporters during the 1992 presidential campaign."
Browning told the Jones lawyers that Lindsey again contacted her in 1994 through her sister, Dorcy Kyle Corbin, a Little Rock attorney. "The 'deal' was that I agreed not to tell the true story about our relationship if he would not tell any lies about me," Browning said in a sworn declaration filed yesterday. "I agreed not to use, in public, the 'A words' which were defined as 'adultery' and 'affair.'"
Last October, when Browning was subpoenaed by Jones's lawyers, she said she called her sister, who called Lindsey. Shortly afterward, Browning said she was sent a motion to quash the subpoena prepared by Clinton's defense attorneys that they wanted her to file. Browning did not do so.
Jones also argues in the filing that the Arkansas law firm where Clinton and Lindsey both once worked Wright, Lindsey & Jennings has tried "to suppress stories of anyone claiming to have had sexual relations with Mr. Clinton, including paying such witnesses money, if necessary."
As evidence of this, they attached a declaration from Miami attorney John B. Thompson, who recalled a 1992 conversation with law school friend, M. Samuel Jones III, a partner at Wright, Lindsey, just after Flowers came forward alleging a 12-year affair with Clinton. Samuel Jones, according to Thompson, said it was his "job to track down these women" who reportedly had sexual relations with Clinton "to see what the women had to say, to determine whether they were a 'threat' to Governor Clinton, and 'to do whatever it takes to make sure that they did not say anything or do anything' "
Thompson said in his declaration that Samuel Jones "specifically discussed paying them money in exchange for their silence."
The Paula Jones team also cited Lewinsky as an example of efforts to stonewall, attaching news accounts detailing the allegations being investigated by Starr that Clinton and his friend, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., urged her to lie under oath and helped her find a job at a time when her testimony was being sought.
Both Clinton and Jordan have denied telling Lewinsky to lie. At his news conference yesterday, Bennett, Clinton's lead defense attorney in the Jones case, scoffed at the suggestion of an orchestrated campaign to obstruct the other side. "It's absolutely false," he said. "I certainly have never interfered or threatened or obstructed and I know no one else who has."
Beyond the four women who personally alleged sexual encounters with Clinton, the thick stack of documents filed yesterday contain a panoply of lurid tales involving the president, many of them second-hand and uncorroborated.
One woman testified that a friend of hers, a former Miss America, told her that Clinton pressured the beauty queen into having sex with him in the back seat of his limousine. A state trooper who once guarded Clinton in Arkansas testified that the then-governor told of having an affair with Susan McDougal, his Whitewater business partner, something McDougal has refused to discuss because it is too private. Browning even testified that she and Clinton once had a long conversation about what she termed his sexual addiction.
Many of the lascivious stories came from the Arkansas state troopers, who repeated under oath allegations they previously have recounted in the news media about facilitating Clinton's supposed affairs. Their stories were originally brought to light with the help of Clinton's political enemies in Arkansas, leading to the American Spectator article that mentioned "Paula," prompting Jones to come forward and file her lawsuit.
The trooper tales have been hotly debated, as White House allies sought to discredit them by portraying the guards as money-hungry liars. The author of the Spectator article, David Brock, this week disavowed his original report, saying he no longer considered the troopers credible.
Trooper Larry Patterson, who spent six years on Clinton's security detail, testified that on 15 to 20 occasions Clinton asked him to procure women. He "asked me to take him places, to get women's telephone numbers, addresses for him," said Patterson. "The procedure I used, I walked up and said, 'Ma'am, I'm Larry Patterson. I'm a state policeman. I'm assigned to the governor. The governor is interested in you. He would like your name and your phone number.' "
At political rallies, Patterson recalled, there were "a number of times when Bill Clinton has told me, 'The lady in the red dress,' 'the lady in the green dress,' whatever, or color of hair or distinguishing characteristic. 'Would you go get me her name and her phone number? She has that come-hither look.' "
On one occasion, Patterson said he zoomed a security camera on a car parked behind the governor's mansion and discovered Clinton and a female visitor engaged in oral sex.
Former trooper L.D. Brown, who was on the Clinton security detail in 1983-85, testified that he approached women toward whom Clinton had expressed sexual interest more than 100 times.
Trooper Roger Perry testified the governor instructed his bodyguards to lie to prevent Hillary Clinton from learning about alleged late-night trysts.
One time, he recalled the first lady calling downstairs in the middle of the night looking for Clinton. "I said, 'Hillary, he had insomnia. He couldn't sleep so he went for a drive,'" Perry recalled. "She started screaming and cussing and slammed down the phone. I got on the phone and called him, and I said, 'Governor, Hillary's up.' And he said, 'Oh, my God. Oh, God. Oh, God.' And he came back in the back gate probably five to 10 minutes later."
In his deposition, Clinton was asked only a few questions about the troopers' actions. While he acknowledged often using the phrase "come-hither look" about attractive women, Clinton did not remember asking a trooper to get him the names of women in the only two specific instances he was asked about.
And he received some help from his co-defendant in the Jones lawsuit, Danny Ferguson, the trooper who escorted her up to see Clinton at the Excelsior Hotel. While he was privy to some suspicious events, Ferguson testified that he does not know that Clinton was actually have extramarital affairs. "I don't know that he was fooling around with anybody," he said.
Staff writers Lorraine Adams, Amy Goldstein, Ruth Marcus, John Mintz, Rene Sanchez, Susan Schmidt, Roberto Suro and researcher Ben White contributed to this report.
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