LITTLE ROCK, Ark., July 29 -- A federal judge who held President Clinton in civil contempt of court in the Paula Jones case has ordered him to pay about $90,000 to Jones's lawyers and $1,202 as court costs. In a 19-page order issued today, Judge Susan Webber Wright said the sanctions were necessary 'to redress the president's conduct and to deter others who might consider emulating the president's conduct.' Wright ruled Clinton in contempt of court April 12 for giving 'false, misleading and evasive' answers in his Jan. 17, 1998, deposition in the Jones sexual harassment case. Wright said Clinton's answers were 'designed to obstruct the judicial process.' In his deposition, Clinton denied he had a sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. In August, Clinton publicly conceded he had an 'improper' relationship with Lewinsky, although one that he said did not meet the narrow definition of 'sexual relations' that were used in the Jones case. In today's order, Wright said: 'The court takes no pleasure in imposing contempt citations against this nation's president, and no doubt like many others, grows weary of this matter. Nevertheless, the court has determined that the president deliberately violated this court's discovery orders, thereby undermining the integrity of the judicial system and that sanctions must be imposed to redress the president's conduct and to deter others who might consider emulating the president's conduct.' Wright said $1,202 will go for court costs, $79,999.12 to the law firm of Rader, Campbell, Fisher and Pyke, of Dallas, and $9,484.93 to The Rutherford Institute of Charlottesville, Va.
The judge said the fees and costs she allowed were associated with Clinton's deposition, her order excluding the Lewinsky testimony in the lawsuit, and the subsequent appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. Rader, Campbell, Fisher and Pyke had claimed $437,825 in attorneys fees. The Rutherford Institute, which covered the expenses of the case, had asked another $25,928 to cover that, plus $32,605.00 in legal fees. In a statement issued by Rader, Campbell, Fisher and Pyke in Dallas said Wright's order 'falls far short of awarding the proper amount of attorneys' fees and expenses' to the Jones lawyers. The firm said if the judge had ruled against Clinton immediately after the false testimony, as required by the Supreme Court, $1 million in legal fees and expenses could have been avoided. 'It addition, we feel the court vastly underestimated the reasonable amount of time we spent briefing the perjury and obstruction-of-justice issues for Paula Jones' summary judgment response and appeal,' it said. In Washington, Clinton's lawyers said they would not challenge the ruling. In a statement, Robert Bennett said, 'We accept the judgment of the court and will comply with it.' In November, Clinton agreed to settle the Jones suit out of court for $850,000. Negotiations had been under way since Wright tossed the 4- year-old lawsuit out of court on April 1, 1998. Jones had contended that in 1991, while Clinton was the governor of Arkansas and she was a state clerical worker, he had her summoned to a hotel suite in Little Rock, lowered his pants and made a sexual proposition. ---
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