Clinton Fights Disbarment

ByABC News
August 29, 2000, 5:24 PM

L I T T L E  R O C K, Ark., Aug. 29 -- President Clinton said Tuesday heshould not be disbarred over his testimony in the Paula Jonessexual harassment case, telling a state judge that losing his lawlicense is too harsh a penalty.

In a five-page response to a complaint filed by the ArkansasSupreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct, the president saidthat he would not receive such a stiff sanction if his case washandled like similar cases.

On the basis of the relevant facts, the governing law and theapplicable decisions of the Arkansas courts ..., a sanction ofdisbarment would be excessively harsh, impermissibly punitive andunprecedented in the circumstances of this case, Clintonslawyers wrote.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson said he expected toreceive Clintons filing Tuesday but otherwise would not discussthe case, including when it might be scheduled for a hearing ortrial.

Motivated by Embarrassment

The state conduct committee says the president lied about hisrelationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky whenasked about it, under oath, in January 1998. Jones lawyers askedthe president about Lewinsky while a federal judge presided overhis deposition.

In a lawsuit filed against Clinton June 30, the conductcommittees prosecutor accused the president of lying to sparehimself embarrassment. In the response filed Tuesday, Clintonslawyers acknowledged that was the case.

Clinton took actions motivated in part by a desire to protecthimself and others from embarrassment, the lawyers wrote.

Marie-B. Miller, the prosecutor, would not comment on Clintonsfiling. She had asked that the matter be cleared up before the endof the year when Johnson leaves office, but would not say ifTuesdays filing would help her meet that timetable.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright found Clinton incontempt last year and fined him more than $90,000, saying heintentionally gave misleading testimony about Lewinsky.