Paula Jones Debate
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On May 8, 1991, in a suite at the
Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas. Governor Clinton was at the Excelsior
Hotel delivering a speech. Paula Jones and another AIDC employee, Pamela
Blackard, were working at a registration desk when a man approached the desk and
informed her and Blackard that he was Trooper Danny Ferguson, the Governor's
bodyguard. Ferguson made small talk with her and Blackard and they asked
him if he had a gun as he was in street clothes and they "wanted to
know." Ferguson acknowledged that he did and, after being asked to
show the gun to them, left the registration desk to return to the Governor. Upon
leaving the registration desk, Ferguson apparently had a conversation with the
Governor about the possibility of meeting with plaintiff, during which Ferguson
states the Governor
remarked that Paula Jones had "that come-hither look," He states that "some time later" the Governor asked him to "get him a room, that he was expecting a call from the White House and that he had several phone calls that he needed to make," and asked him to go to the car and get his briefcase containing the phone messages. Ferguson states that upon obtaining the room, the Governor told him that if Paula Jones wanted to meet him, she could "come up." Paula Jones says that Ferguson later reappeared at the registration desk, delivered a piece of paper to her with a four-digit number written on it, and said that the Governor would like to meet with her in this suite number. Paula Jones says that she, Blackard, and Ferguson talked about what the Governor could want and that Ferguson stated, among other things, "We do this all the time." Id. Thinking that it was an honor to be asked to meet the Governor and that it might lead to an enhanced employment opportunity, Paula Jones agreed to the meeting and Ferguson escorted her to the Governor's suite. Paula Jones says the Governor shook her hand, invited her in, and closed the door. A few minutes of small talk ensued, which included the Governor asking her about her job and him mentioning that Dave Harrington, Paula Jones superior within the AIDC and a Clinton appointee, was his "good friend. " the Governor then "unexpectedly reached over, took her hand, and pulled her toward him, so that their bodies were close to each other." Paula Jones removed her hand from his and retreated several feet, but that the Governor approached her again and, while saying, "I love the way your hair flows down your back" and "I love your curves," put his hand on her leg, started sliding it toward her pelvic area, and bent down to
attempt to kiss her on the neck, all without her consent. Paula Jones exclaimed, "What are you doing?," and told the Governor that she was "not that kind of girl," and "escaped" from the Governor's reach "by walking away from him." Paula Jones says she was extremely upset and confused and, not knowing what to do, attempted to distract the Governor by chatting about his wife. Paula Jones sats that she sat down at the end of the sofa nearest the door, but that the Governor approached the sofa where she had taken a seat and, as he sat down, "lowered his trousers and underwear, exposed his penis (which was erect) and told [her] to 'kiss it.' " Paula Jones says she was "horrified" by this and that she "jumped up from the couch" and told the Governor that she had to go, saying something to the effect that
she had to get back to the registration desk. Paula Jones says that the Governor, "while fondling his penis," said, "Well, I don't want to make you do anything you don't want to do,"
and then pulled up his pants and said, "If you get in trouble for leaving work, have Dave call me immediately and I'll take care of it." Paula Jones then left the room (the door of which
was not locked), the Governor "detained" her momentarily, "looked sternly" at her, and said, "You are smart. Let's keep this between ourselves." Paula Jones says that when she left the hotel suite, she was in shock and upset but tried to maintain her composure. She states she saw Ferguson waiting outside the suite but that he
did not escort her back to the registration desk and nothing was said between them. Ferguson states that five or ten minutes after plaintiff exited the suite he joined the Governor for their return to the Governor's Mansion and that the Governor, who was working on some papers that he had spread out on the desk, said, "She came up here, and nothing happened." Paula Jones returned to the registration desk and told Blackard some of what had happened. Blackard confirms this. Following the Conference, Paula Jones went to the workplace of a friend, Debra Ballentine, and told her of the incident as well. Ballentine confirms this. Later that same day, Paula Jones told her sister, Charlotte Corbin Brown, what had happened and, within the next two days, also told her other sister, Lydia Corbin Cathey. Cathey, states that plaintiff was "bawling" and "squalling," and that she appeared scared, embarrassed, and ashamed. Ballentine states that she encouraged Paula Jones to report the incident to her boss or to the police, but that plaintiff declined, pointing out that her boss was friends with the Governor and that the police were the ones who took her to the hotel suite. Ballentine further states that Paula Jones did not want her fiancÚ to know of the incident and
that she "just want[ed] this thing to go away." Paula Jones continued to work at AIDC following the incident in the hotel suite. One of her duties was to deliver documents to and from the Office of the Governor, as well as other offices around the Arkansas State Capitol. Paula Jones says that in June 1991, while performing these duties for the AIDC, she encountered Ferguson who told her that Mrs. Clinton was out of town often and that the Governor wanted her phone number and wanted to see her. Paula Jones refused to provide her phone number to Ferguson. Ferguson also asked her how her fiancÚ, Steve, was doing, even though she had never told Ferguson or the Governor his name, and that this "frightened" her. Paula Jonessays that she again encountered Ferguson following her return to work from maternity leave and that he said he had "told Bill how good looking you are since you've had the baby." Paula Jones says that she was "accosted" by the Governor in the Rotunda of the Arkansas State Capitol when he "draped his arm over her, pulled her close to him and held her tightly to his body," and said to his bodyguard, "Don't we make a beautiful couple: Beauty and the Beast?" Paula Jones additionally says that on an unspecified date, she was waiting in the Governor's outer office on a delivery run when the Governor entered the office, patted her on the shoulder, and in a "friendly fashion" said, "How are you doing, Paula?"
Stuart Taylor, the Washington attorney and journalist whose November 1996 article in the American Lawyer pumped fresh blood into Paula Jones' charges of sexual harassment against President Clinton, is now doing the backstroke. Taylor, who has become a mainstream media celebrity since he defended Jones' allegations (and accused feminists of hypocrisy for not giving them the same credence as Anita Hill's), now says that new disclosures could seriously undermine Jones' charges that on May 8, 1991, then-Arkansas Gov. Clinton sexually harassed her in a Little Rock hotel room. Most damaging, Taylor told Salon Magazine, are statements by Carol Phillips, a former receptionist in then-Gov. Clinton's office who was friendly with Jones. In an interview with Taylor for an article, Phillips said that the day after the alleged harassment incident, Jones "came by the governor's office," and, "in a happy and excited manner," volunteered the information that "she went up to meet the governor and they met in a room and they just talked." Phillips told Taylor that she concluded that their meeting had been "totally innocent." Taylor also quoted Phillips as saying that Jones had described Clinton during the meeting as "very gentle with her. I remember her saying, 'He is so sweet, he is such a gentle person.'" Against Jones' complaint that Clinton's alleged sexual advances left her "frightened and horrified" (Jones charges Clinton dropped his trousers and asked for oral sex), Taylor said Phillips' statements "make her case look less compelling ... If Jones has been lying about that, she may be lying about other things." Further undermining Jones' case, Taylor says, is his disclosure in the Legal Times article that Daniel Traylor, Jones' original attorney, is resigning from the case. Taylor quoted the Little Rock lawyer as saying Jones never mentioned to him the "distinguishing characteristics" on Clinton's genitals that she later described to two other lawyers who joined her legal team. But while Taylor admits the new disclosures may weaken Paula Jones' case, he insists it has not been crippled. And he is not about to admit that he was less than prudent in his original article. "When I wrote about the case last November, I asked the Clinton people repeatedly if there was anybody they knew who could discredit Paula Jones' story," Taylor said. "Their line was that Clinton had never met Paula Jones, that nothing happened and this was all completely made up. They now say that a meeting might have taken place. And against this new background, Carol Phillips' statements are a strong piece of evidence for them that no sexual harassment occurred. I think that's the reason why I was able to find Carol Phillips now, and not back then." Taylor continued: "I told the Clinton people, 'You should have told me about Phillips last year. I could have written a better informed piece.' But no, I don't have any regrets about the piece. I wrote it with the information I had then. Now I have more."