Lawyers for Jones Dispute Rulings

Article excerpt

Paula Jones' lawyers yesterday formally disclosed they will attack Judge Susan Webber Wright's exclusion of evidence about Monica Lewinsky and White House cover-ups in seeking to reinstate the sexual misconduct lawsuit against President Clinton.

Although they won't submit arguments until July 30, her Dallas attorneys challenged the judge's orders on 12 issues, suggesting she made serious constitutional and legal errors in dismissing the case on April 1.

The "notification of issues on appeal" also cited Judge Wright's decisions to release "confidential and privileged letters" from Mrs. Jones' former attorneys and questioned the judge's ruling that a person cannot claim a conspiracy to violate civil rights unless she can prove an underlying violation of federal law as well.

When Miss Lewinsky's taped conversations with Linda Tripp became public during the former intern's efforts to avoid a deposition in the Jones case, Judge Wright halted all evidence-gathering about Miss Lewinsky and - without being asked to do so by either side and without holding a hearing - ruled inadmissible all evidence about her relationship with the president.

"We think that this appeal presents very significant issues, some of which are on the cutting edge of the law," said lawyer James Fisher, who is drafting the appeal at the Dallas law firm of Rader, Campbell, Fisher & Pyke, which took the case in collaboration with the Rutherford Institute.

Presidential attorney Robert S. Bennett did not respond to a request for comment on yesterday's filing with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.

On May 28, Mr. Bennett had demanded dismissal of the appeal if Mrs. Jones' lawyers did not quickly submit their list of issues. The 8th Circuit rejected that motion June 12, and Mr. Fisher labeled yesterday's disclosure voluntary.

Last weekend, the 8th Circuit extended its deadline for appealing until July 30 because an imminent Supreme Court decision in the case of Burlington Industries vs. Kimberly Ellerth could affect the outcome. That decision, due in the coming week, may clarify whether a person who refused sexual demands must prove job retaliation.

Mrs. Jones' lawyers said earlier this month the core issue in the Ellerth case is controlling to some questions in the Jones case. …