The 700 pages of information revealed by Paula Jones' lawyers could be a bonanza for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's criminal investigation, regardless of whether the material is admitted in Jones' civil case, legal experts said Saturday.
The Jones lawyers on Friday detailed at great length alleged attempts to cover up President Clinton's sexual past, including job offers and hush money - all of which could be used by Starr.And sworn testimony by other women claiming sexual encounters with Clinton could be submitted by Starr to House Republicans for a possible impeachment inquiry.
At the same time, these experts said the volumes of documents did not particularly strengthen Jones' own sexual harassment lawsuit.
"The Jones papers seemed more relevant to the Lewinsky allegations than to the defense of their own case," said Michael Zeldin, a former career federal prosecutor. "I was surprised at the paucity of evidence to support her allegations. They haven't come up with anybody but the usual suspects. The one bad thing for Clinton was the allegations of a pattern of obstruction."
The Jones attorneys included in their filings allegations that Clinton, White House aide Bruce Lindsey and a former Arkansas trooper tried to keep individuals quiet in Jones' case. In some cases, jobs were offered, in others hush money, according to depositions in the case.
Starr is investigating whether the president had an affair with former intern Monica Lewinsky and sought to cover it up.
Zeldin said Jones' own case has problems because there was only a single act of unwanted sexual advancement and that's "one word against another." None of the other women cited in the documents fit Jones' claim: that she was denied proper raises and promotions for rejecting Clinton.
Zeldin said the case of Kathleen Willey is the strongest allegation of a parallel case to Jones, because Willey testified that Clinton made an unwanted sexual advance when the two of them were alone.
But there are differences, too. Willey, a volunteer, went to see Clinton about a paid job. Jones says Clinton had a trooper summon her to his hotel room.
"There's a parallel but the chances for misinterpretation are greater in the Willey case," said former Justice Department prosecutor Barbara Nicastro. She said Willey approached Clinton while "overly distraught" about her family finances, "and behavior that could be questionable might have been mistaken. You have a hysterical woman, you may kiss her on cheek and say everything's going to be cool."
Clinton said in his deposition that he may have kissed Willey on the forehead to console her.
Zeldin, commenting on the strength of the Jones case, said, "It almost seems like they're saying `We don't have any evidence of our claim, just hints of it.' "
The Jones lawyers submitted depositions in which individuals contended:
- At Clinton's direction, Buddy Young, the former supervisor of Clinton's security detail, threatened to "destroy" three troopers if they spoke out about his sexual liaisons.
- Clinton lawyer M. Samuel Jones III was quoted by another lawyer as saying Jones' job in 1992 was to hunt down women who were claiming that they had affairs with Clinton and pay them hush money to "make them go away." Jones labeled the account as "totally untrue."
- Dolly Kyle Browning testified she had a long sexual affair with Clinton, and was contacted by Lindsey, threatening to "destroy her" if she told the truth. Clinton has denied an affair with her.