Will `Playboy Tape' Be Davis' Undoing in Virginia Race?

Article excerpt

RICHMOND - A videotape that shows Gilbert K. Davis of Fairfax - already in the news as the lawyer for Paula Corbin Jones in her suit against President Clinton - volunteering to help a client appear in Playboy is shaking up Virginia's four-way Republican nomination battle for attorney general.

"Republican voters are conservative in primaries like this and they're going to be looking for an explanation," said state Sen. Ken Stolle of Virginia Beach, one of Mr. Davis' three GOP rivals in the June 10 primary.

"Potentially, it could have a huge impact on the race."

The Roanoke Times first reported Wednesday that in 1994, Mr. Davis made a lewd joke to a client during a videotaped meeting - with the client's husband at her side - at a hotel in Roanoke.

The client was Ramona Hines, who is suing her former employer, a television station in Martinsville. The station fired Mrs. Hines in 1994 after her husband went on the air on a rival station and said she was having an affair with a host at the station where she worked.

The sensational case prompted invitations for Mrs. Hines to appear on national daytime talk shows such as "The Maury Povich Show" and "Oprah."

"I know what you want to do. You want to take your clothes off," Mr. Davis tells his client on the tape.

State Sen. Mark Earley of Chesapeake, another GOP candidate for attorney general, offered a lawyerly response that skewered Mr. Davis.

"I hope it's not true," Mr. …