Thursday, April 16, 1998; 5:55 p.m. EDT Text of the news conference by Paula Jones and her lawyers as transcribed by Federal Document Clearing House:
Jones: Hello. Thanks for coming out today.
As you know, two weeks ago the court in Little Rock surprisingly dismissed my case. I was shocked.
I'm sorry. I was shocked because I believed that what Mr. Clinton did to me was wrong and that the law protects women who are subjected to that kind of abuse of power. Within a few days, I consulted my attorneys, who gave me advice about a possible appeal. I believe that the grounds for a possible appeal are very strong. I have faith in my attorneys' advice. And I know that they have my best interests in mind.
But there was something else I had to consider -- my husband and my two sweet little boys. I had to consider the stress on my family. So I have taken some time in deciding whether to continue what I have fought for so long to obtain, which is justice and my day in court.
I have also considered the fact that the court's ruling affects many women other than myself. Despite the continuing personal strain on my family and me, in the end I have not come this far to see the law let men who have done such things dodge their responsibility.
They should not be able to abuse their positions of power at the expense of female employees. And I do not believe, when this suit is over, that my case will merely show that people in power can get away.
Therefore, I have decided to appeal the court's decision. With the assistance of my attorneys at the Rutherford Institute and the support of my friends and many people across America, I am confident that the 8th Circuit Court will rule that my case should be heard by a jury.
That is all I ever sought, and I will continue to seek that simple right.
DONOVAN CAMPBELL: Thank you all for coming. We appreciate you turning out on a beautiful afternoon like this in Dallas, Texas.
I'm going to start by introducing the remainder of our legal team, the people that could attend anyway. On my far left here is Jim Fisher. You know, the plaintiff and her husband. Mr. John Whitehead, here, the president of the Rutherford Institute. David Pike, one of my law partners. And then McCord Wilson is another one of our lawyers on the far end.
I'm going to start by reading a short statement and then I will open it up for some questions and answers. We're probably just going to go 10 or 12 minutes, maybe 15. If the questions start to run out, then we'll leave.
My partners and I are proud to represent Paula Jones and look forward to working to reverse the erroneous decision of the Arkansas federal court in this case.
Mr. Fisher, Mr. Pike, and the rest of our lawyers are also looking forward to participating in this appeal.
We do not think that the law permits a male supervisor to expose himself to his female subordinates and ask for sexual favors. There is no one-free-flash rule recognized in the law. Therefore, we believe the dismissal of Mrs. Jones' case was erroneous and will be reversed.
Mr. Clinton has reportedly said that he wanted a trial, but he has consistently directed his legal team to avoid and delay any trial in this case. We will continue to fight to bring out the truth about Mr. Clinton and what he did to Mrs. Jones. We expect and look forward to winning a speedy reversal of this decision and to letting a jury decide who is truly responsible here.
After the Q&A session, we do have a press release prepared with a copy of the text of Mrs. Jones' statement attached to the back of it so after we've finished, feel free to come up and Ms. Carpenter McMillan will pass those out.
If you could please, do me the courtesy of identifying yourself when I call on you and what media source you're with. I will appreciate that.
CAMPBELL: Our best guess is that the 8th Circuit appellate level will probably take between six months and year. It could be shorter. It could be longer. But that's a pretty good average estimated time.
CAMPBELL: Yes. We will reveal some of those and those are summarized in our press release. The starting point, of course, is just to go to our summary judgment brief and read that. That will tell you 70 to 80 percent of the legal issues that we intend to appeal.
But there are four of them off the top of my head that we think are significant. The section 1983 civil rights action. We believe that's very significant, and we think there are three areas that are questionable in the court's opinion on that. One is whether you need any kind of damages at all other than emotional damages. The second subpart of that is whether tangible job detriments have to be shown or have been shown in this case. The third part of that is whether we have shown hostile work environment.
Second main point is section 1985. That's another civil rights cause of action. We feel that the court's opinion and our opposition's briefs on that point are weak.
Third point is the tort of outrage, or intentional infliction of emotional distress. We think that the opinion is also deficient on that point.
And then, finally, the fourth main point is the -- our last section of our brief deals extensively with what we believe to be the suppression of evidence or obstruction of justice campaign that has been indulged by the defendant in this case.
And we think that the authorities on that issue are very clear that that is equivalent to the legal admission that Mr. Clinton's entire case is weak and unfounded. And that should have been considered in the court's opinion on ruling on the motion for summary judgment. We think that the court's opinion and our opposition's brief on that particular point are particularly vulnerable. They cited no authorities contrary to the authorities that we cited. So those are going to be the four main points.
Q: Where is the money going to come from to finance the appeal? And are you concerned that some of the fund-raising sources will dry up? ...
CAMPBELL: I'm going to let Mr. Whitehead address that. There are some of your questions, I'm sure, that are going to be more apropos to be addressed by Mr. Whitehead, so I'll ask him to step up here occasionally.
That's one of them.
WHITEHEAD: Yes. The Rutherford Institute will finance the appeal. And again, as we've said all along, we will support the case, whatever's needed, because we think there's a very key human rights, women's rights issue here. And also, do I think the fund-raising sources will dry up?
Well, that's possible, but that's not something we would rely on in terms of pursuing the appeal. And so we're in it for the long haul, no matter what it costs.
Q: Is Richard Mellon Scaife financing or a contributor to the Rutherford Institute?
CAMPBELL: I'm sorry. I didn't hear the name.
Q: Is Richard Mellon Scaife a contributor?
CAMPBELL: I have no idea. I doubt that seriously, but you can ask Mr. Whitehead.
CAMPBELL: Is that clear enough?
Q: ... given that the president is likely to be out of office by the time this case is resolved ... what do you stand to gain here by the fact -- considering the fact that he probably will be out of office?
CAMPBELL: Well, I've got at least two responses to that. The first one is he will not necessarily be out office when this case is hopefully called to trial. It is entirely possible that even if an appeal or certificate or writ of cert is sought from the Supreme Court, that that can all be resolved within two years. So I disagree that it's a necessary conclusion that he will be out of office.
Even if he is out of office, however, if you study the pleadings in this case, you will see that Mr. Clinton has been sued individually and personally, not as president. So we frankly don't care whether he is president of the United States or busing tables at Luby's cafeteria when this lawsuit comes to trial. The legal issues are still the same.
I believe it's safe to say that my client is not in this for media attention. She's certainly not in it for the abuse that she has had to suffer for the last four years. So we don't care what Mr. Clinton -- what position he occupies at the time this case comes to trial.
Q: I wonder if you could talk a little bit about her emotional state ... how it has been for her over the past year (and) the dismissal from the court.
CAMPBELL: Well, if your questions involves just the last two weeks, basically after the dismissal, I think it's safe to say without breaching any attorney-client privileges that she was shocked and dismayed and upset for the first couple of days after the decision came down.
She recovered from that very well, I believe, and has been able to deal quite rationally with her attorneys in the meantime, study all the various legal aspects and legal issues that would be involved in an appeal, and also very rationally consider the toll on her husband and her children and the entire family, as well as her close friends, as to whether carrying forward with the case and the appeal would be worth that continuing toll.
So that's a summary, I think, of how she has reacted in the last two weeks.
Q: Would you accept any kind of a settlement from this point forward? And how's your client going to make a living? ...
CAMPBELL: Well, I'll address your legal question. I'm not sure I'm capable of addressing your second question.
Legal question is what about settlement. Our position is and always has been in this case that all ethical attorneys are duty-bound to consider any legitimate settlement offer that is made and are duty-bound to engage in rational settlement discussions.
The problem in this case so far has been there haven't been any rational settlement discussions and no rational settlement offers from the other side. So if some adult in control of the other side of this case would like to come forward and make a rational settlement offer, or even agree to engage in rational settlement discussions, such as a formal mediation, for example, we will certainly be open to that.
And if a reasonable settlement can result from that, then we as lawyers would recommend that to our client. Whether that's going to happen, I have no idea. You'd have to address that question to the White House.
In terms of living between now and then, that's not my area of expertise. We're not dealing with those issues. We're just dealing with the issues in this case so I can't answer that question.
Q: When did your firm decide to continue with this case? What day? Where? And did you have any misgivings, any questions about continuing with it?
CAMPBELL: Our firm decided to go forward with the appeal when the final decision was made by our client yesterday evening.
In terms of did we have any questions or reservations about going forward, we have no questions or reservations about going forward from a legal standpoint. We think the case is strong for reversal of this judgment. The only reservations we might have had involved personal ones concerning the stress and strain on Paula and her husband and her family and her children, and that's not really a legal decision. That's a personal decision.
Q: Without giving us a filing date, can you discuss a bit of what went on, the give and take, the ups and downs? Were there moments that either Paula Jones or yourself ... reports of saying let's not continue?
CAMPBELL: Well, I can't tell you much about the discussions yesterday because they are attorney-client privileged. I can tell you that the discussions yesterday were not really about the legal pros and cons of going forward with the case. We have already covered that with our client for the last two weeks.
Yesterday mainly involved going through what unfortunately is a fact of life, and that's a very detailed engagement agreement. And whenever a lawyer represents a client, there has to be an engagement agreement in writing, and unfortunately, those are usually long papers. And so we got to traipse through long papers yesterday. And there weren't really any ups and downs, it was just a straight through progression of going over legal documents.
Q: Can I follow up a bit? Are you saying then that whether or not she ... pretty much decided that you were going to go ahead with the lawsuit?
CAMPBELL: I did not say that. You said when was the decision made, and I said it was at the end of the day yesterday.
Q: You just mentioned an issue that hasn't -- we never heard before -- the idea of formal mediation. How would something like that work, and who would propose it?
CAMPBELL: Well, I'm not going to discuss the details of any nascent settlement negotiations that may or may not have gone on up to this point. I will answer your question and say the issue, the suggestion of mediation has been made, and has been made by our side of course in this case.
And in terms of what are the formalities or what are the structures that are available for that, Texas is a great state for mediation of litigation. There are numerous statues on the books called alternative dispute resolution statutes, and there is an entire framework already set up to conduct formal mediations with an independent, third party, neutral mediator. There are many, many qualified, highly trained mediators in this city and in this state and even around the country, and particularly in other big cities.
And we would be most open to accepting any highly qualified mediator to assist in negotiations for settlement of this case.
Unfortunately, to date, the other side has not been willing to consider that.
Q: But the issue has been raised. Is it currently on the table somewhere?
CAMPBELL: Nothing is currently on the table right now.
Q: (off microphone)
CAMPBELL: Well, on the second question first, we are really not going to reveal any of our strategy in terms of appeal right now, timing or anything else, other than the issues that I've talked about.
As I think probably everyone in this room knows, the Supreme Court is considering right now at least three very important Title VII, or sexual harassment, cases which may have some bearing on the outcome of this appeal.
So there are a number of issues that are up there in the air timing-wise that we don't have any control over.
In terms of expenditures by the Rutherford Institute, again, I'll leave that up to John. He may elect not to answer that. He's free to answer that if he wants to.
WHITEHEAD: Expenses so far -- we're talking about legal expenses, not legal fees, not anything paid to lawyers for time --have run close to $300,000. And again, that's legal expenses. That's deposition costs, expert witnesses, plane flights, foods and all the things it takes to prepare a case.
At some times, up to 20 lawyers have been working on this through the Rutherford Institute, as well as the main lawyers here in Dallas.
Q: I know you don't want to talk about new strategy, but the White House people are cockily saying this week that they don't care if you go to court or not. Their strategy is the same. They are going to pound your client's credibility, and they are going to pound her into submission. I'm wondering, with that kind of hardline approach by Clinton's camp, are you considering some kind of change in tactics?
And a related question -- does this mean that while your appeal is going on you cannot pursue any more evidence?
CAMPBELL: My, that's a lot of questions.
In terms of the pounding, assuming that the other side has said that -- and I don't know what they've said -- you know, basically the discovery is over. So the pounding opportunities are over. There isn't going to be any more pounding, certainly not of our client directly.
Now, in terms of lawyers beating up on each other, sure, that's going to go forward the whole rest of the case, whether it's at the appellate level or at the trial level. But that's motions and countermotions and briefs and counterbriefs and all that kind of stuff. And if the other side thinks we are not accustomed to that yet, they're wrong. Obviously, we are.
In terms of can evidence gathering continue to go on, well, I guess that depends on what you mean by that. Formal discovery cannot go on while the appeal is pending -- that is, you can't take formal depositions, you can't send interrogatories, that kind of time.
Informal discovery -- that is, continuing to gather evidence of, for example, other women -- that can go on. I'm not going to say it's going to. I'm not going to tell you what we are going to do. But that can certainly go on.
And eventually, some of those efforts or searches or other evidence-gathering may bear fruition by coming into the courtroom. We'll just have to see.
Q: I'm wondering -- I guess it's probably to Mr. Whitehead question -- for the appeal, will the Rutherford Institute be covering any of the legal fees for the lawyers or will that be covered otherwise?
CAMPBELL: Again, that's something I'll let John address. And he can either answer it or not answer it. It's up to him.
WHITEHEAD: The Rutherford Institute was founded in 1982. It's about 16 years old, and over that period of time, occasionally we have awarded litigation grants of no sizable amount when attorneys get into what we call extended litigation which, of course, this is.
And we've said that we will cover all the legal expenses. There will be a legal expense budget, and if at all possible we would like to help with some legal grants in this case. But again, that would be part of any kind of legal expense budget that we would put together.
Q: ... Could you or she talk a little bit about what that was in detail and how that impacted your decision before that court?
CAMPBELL: I'm sure she could, but we won't let her. So I will.
It's been my observation in traveling across the country with Paula Jones and her husband that inevitably, in airports, in taxicabs, on the street, wherever we go, nameless people will come up and shake her hand or want her autograph and offer their support.
Now they don't write checks or anything like that. But they say, ``Atta baby, keep at it'' -- that kind of thing. So we have seen that kind of anecdotal support.
In addition, my office -- I know, and I think Susie as well --and I know the Rutherford Institute gets many calls and many letters of support daily.
And that has continued, in fact to an extent it has picked up after the dismissal order was issued. And again nameless, faceless people from across the country send those letters and call and say ``Keep at it. Don't give up the fight. We're behind you 100 percent. Please don't drop this case.''
Again, that's anecdotal. We haven't done any kind of a formal polling or survey, but we obviously -- we passed those messages on to Paula Jones, and I think she feels some support from that.
Q: Was there any point after the judge's ... where Mrs. Jones has not wanted to appeal the case?
CAMPBELL: Well, you'd have to address that question to Mrs. Jones, which I won't let you do. And I'm not going to reveal anything that she specifically said to us. I would say that, just as a human being, if you had been through four years of this kind of attack dog tactics that have been foisted upon her, and then the judge summarily dismissed your case, you might have some reservations. And Paula is certainly a normal human being.
Q: What has been missing in all of this has really been an outspoken support from a large women's rights -- or have you heard anything from NOW, from anybody, any major group that supports women's rights within the last two weeks since all of this has come about?
CAMPBELL: The short answer is yes, but let me bring John up here. He has some more anecdotal responses I think he can give to you.
And I would just say in conclusion on that point that we certainly hope, now that the appeal is going to go forward, that we will see some more formal support from the large women's groups. As I'm sure you know, amicus curiae briefs are certainly accepted by the federal courts on appeal, and we'd like to see some of those in this appeal.
WHITEHEAD: One of the things that we knew was missing when we were headed toward trial was support of women's rights groups. But over the last couple of weeks, especially since the April 1 ruling by Judge Wright, a number of women's groups have come forward.
The National Organization of Women, Martha Davis, one of their legal directors, has criticized the decision. And that's heartening. And I think that's why I say this is one of the wild cards -- and hopefully, the appeal process is that we will get support of women's groups, and I think that is so key. It is a women's rights issue, and women should be behind this 100 percent.
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press