Jones v. Clinton Special Report
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Clinton Team Proposes $33,737 Reimbursement

Associated Press
Saturday, May 22, 1999; Page A10

LITTLE ROCK, May 21—President Clinton should pay no more than $33,737 in legal reimbursements for being found in contempt of court in Paula Jones's sexual harassment case, his attorneys told a federal court today.

Jones's lawyers recently asked that Clinton be ordered to pay nearly $500,000.

The proposal from Clinton's lawyers came a month after U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright found Clinton in contempt for giving intentionally false testimony about his relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky during his January 1998 deposition in the sexual harassment case.

Wright ordered Clinton to pay Jones's lawyers any "reasonable" expenses they incurred as a result of his false testimony and gave the Jones legal team until May 7 to come up with the figure. Clinton's lawyers had two weeks to respond.

The judge, who issued her ruling April 12, now must decide what reimbursement is reasonable.

Clinton's lawyers said the fees and expenses requested by Jones's attorneys and the Rutherford Institute are "unreasonable" and "bear no relationship to the actions that gave rise" to the judge's order. They said in a court filing that Wright asked for $1,202 for expenses she incurred in attending Clinton's deposition in Washington and that the amount "provides a useful benchmark for the reasonableness" of other expenses.

The filing said Jones's attorneys have interpreted the judge's order too broadly. It said the request included innumerable fees and expenses "that bear no relationship to the conduct sanctioned" by the court.

Clinton's filing said the Rutherford Institute's request for $53,333 in fees and expenses should be rejected because the institute was not specifically included in the judge's order. The conservative legal group paid some of Jones's legal expenses.

The filing said fees and costs totaling $17,861.85 appear to be the only costs that fall under the order.

If the court were to determine that some portion of the legal fees incurred during the president's deposition should be reimbursed, then the maximum should be $3,348, or about 20 percent of the time spent by Jones's attorneys, the filing said.

Clinton's lawyers contended that Jones's attorneys could be entitled to an additional $12,527.50 if the court decided that the costs for submitting their statement of fees and expenses are included in the order.

But Jones's lawyers, in seeking $437,825 for the Dallas law firm that represented her and the $53,333 for the Rutherford Institute, have argued that the president "must be sanctioned not only to redress his contemptuous misconduct but also to deter other litigants who might . . . harbor the impression that a party to a federal lawsuit may willfully disregard" court orders.

Any money would be in addition to the $850,000 Clinton has already paid Jones to settle the case without admitting wrongdoing.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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