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Wednesday, January 13, 1999 Published at 14:07 GMT

Clinton pays off Paula Jones

Paula Jones: Cash settlement

President Bill Clinton has sent an $850,000 cheque to Paula Jones agreed in the settlement of her sexual harassment case against him.

BBC Correspondent Clive Myrie: The President's legal team attempts to forestall proceedings today
Mr Clinton, whose lawyers are preparing to defend him when his impeachment trial in the Senate resumes on Thursday, drew on his personal funds for the payment.

He raised $375,000 from his own funds and drew on an insurance policy with Chubb Insurance for the remaining $475,000. The cheque was sent by dispatch to Bill McMillan, one of Ms Jones' lawyers.

Mrs Jones filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in 1994 claiming that in 1991 Mr Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, exposed himself to her in a Little Rock hotel room, and asked for oral sex.

Mr Clinton and Ms Jones agreed a settlement in November. Lawyers for both sides signed a deal for a cash payment which included no apology from Mr Clinton.

The president's lawyer said Ms Jones' allegations were baseless but Mr Clinton wanted to get the dispute behind him.

However Mr Clinton has been unable to dispose of the after effects of the case - the Jones lawsuit kicked off the investigation by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, which has led to Mr Clinton's trial in the Senate.

It was the president's sworn deposition for the Jones case, in which he denied having sexual relations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, that led to his impeachment.

BBC Washington Correspondent Paul Reynolds says that by sending the cheque now it looks as if Mr Clinton is trying to dispose of the Paula Jones case totally in advance of the start of the trial proper.

"This ends it," said a White House official.

However the trial and its attendant publicity rumble on, with evidence due to start on Thursday.

In the meantime, the White House has attacked a brief filed by the House of Representatives' trial managers.

White House Spokesman Joe Lockhart said it read like a cheap mystery.

The brief tells in narrative form of the events which it says justifies the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice against Mr Clinton.

Part of their case relies on circumstantial evidence, for example how Monica Lewinsky was offered a job after leaving the White House.

Our correspondent says it suggests that the House will need to call witnesses, like the president's friend Vernon Jordan, if it is to make that case compelling to Senators.

The atmosphere has been further charged by claims from the pornographic publisher, Larry Flynt, that one of Mr Clinton's accusers, Representative Bob Barr, had had an affair and had paid for his former wife's abortion. Mr Barr has issued a denial.

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