After warning that he would submit material on Paula Jones' sex life to challenge her sexual harassment lawsuit, President Clinton's lawyer reversed course Friday and decided not to file the material.
For the second time in the last nine months, lawyer Robert Bennett said he would submit such material and then shifted tactics."The legal team made the strategic decision to focus this brief on the weakness and lack of any legal claim by plaintiff (Jones) in this case," said a statement issued on behalf of Bennett's office.
Bennett on Thursday wrote the judge in the case that he would submit "sensitive information of a sexual nature about Paula Jones" but not make it public.
Friday's statement said, "There is nothing in this filing that will be released, or under seal, concerning Paula Jones' sex life." It accused opposing lawyers of improperly making public the letter to the judge.
"The letter to the judge, which was improperly and perhaps illegally leaked in violation of (the judge's) gag order, reflects counsel's consideration about how best to rebut" Jones' claim that she suffered "sexual aversion" as a consequence of an alleged sexual advance by Clinton, the statement said.
At the White House Friday, spokesman Mike McCurry said, "This is a tactical question about the litigation that I think Mr. Bennett addressed. I don't know the degree to which he consulted with the president." Asked if Clinton felt it was inappropriate to use Jones' sexual history, McCurry replied, "Yes."