By James Jefferson
LITTLE ROCK, Feb. 9The husband of the judge presiding over Paula Jones's sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton said today he has made suggestions about the case but denied helping his wife make decisions.
Robert R. Wright, a law professor and husband of U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright, said a newspaper report exaggerated his influence on his wife's decision-making.
"I don't decide my wife's cases; I never have," Wright told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I don't know how my wife will rule."
In an interview published today in The Washington Post, Wright was quoted as saying the two have discussed matters that come before her court and that he helped her make decisions.
In a key ruling in the Jones lawsuit, for instance, "I wrote her a written memorandum on the history involved, some of which she used in her ruling," Wright said, according to The Post.
Wright told the AP that his memo resulted from his research of the Federalist Papers and notes from the first Constitutional Convention -- work he likened to "what a law clerk does." "It was all historical stuff that related to the original question of the president's liability in a civil suit," he said. "I told her what I viewed as what might be relevant and what might not be relevant."
In that ruling, the judge said the case should not go to trial until after Clinton has left office. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling last year and the lawsuit is scheduled for trial May 27.
Robert Wright complained today that The Post used remarks he had made off the record for a feature story about his wife, and that it took some comments out of context.
The Post's executive editor, Leonard Downie Jr., said the newspaper stands by the article. "I've not heard anything to question the story," Downie said. "No such complaint has been made to me. I'd be very surprised if the context wasn't correct."
According to The Post, Wright, 66, the Donaghey Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas law school at Little Rock, said he was present in a closed meeting last summer between the judge and lawyers in the Jones case.
Asked if his presence in chambers was inappropriate, Wright told the newspaper, "No, because I wouldn't talk about it."
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