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Clinton Lawyers Want Copy of Jones Affidavit

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 9 1997; Page A08

After more than three years, President Clinton's lawyers in the Paula Corbin Jones case are finally asking the question that has perplexed much of the country since the beginning: What "distinguishing characteristics" does she claim to have seen on the president's body?

In a set of interrogatories sent to Jones last week, the Clinton legal team requested a copy of an affidavit she signed describing the physical traits she said she noticed when she was allegedly propositioned by the then-Arkansas governor in a Little Rock hotel room.

The suggestive assertion has been one of the most lurid aspects of an already unseemly dispute, provoking speculation in Washington political circles and across the global Internet about what she might be referring to. Jones has never said in public and her attorneys have resisted revealing that detail, deeming it one of their trump cards.

The claim has been used both to buttress and to undermine her case in public debate. If she is able to identify a feature "in Clinton's genital area," as her lawsuit said, it could be powerful evidence that he lowered his trousers during an encounter in May 1991. Yet critics are suspicious because, according to her former lawyer, Jones never mentioned spotting any "distinguishing characteristics" to her lawyers until shortly before she filed her complaint in federal court in Little Rock in May 1994.

Either way, it represents a potential nightmare for the White House. Jones's lawyers have suggested they will ask for an independent physical examination. Clinton's chief attorney, Robert S. Bennett, has vowed to fight any such proposal to the Supreme Court.

The request for the affidavit accompanied an interrogatory seeking answers from Jones to 21 questions. Jones has 30 days to respond.

According to people who have seen them, many of the questions focus on her possible financial motives for accusing Clinton of misconduct and her connections to conservatives such as evangelist Jerry Falwell, who included statements from her in an anti-Clinton videotape, and journalist David Brock, who wrote the American Spectator article mentioning an encounter between Clinton and an unspecified "Paula."

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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