Media challenge silence surrounding Paula Jones case

Thursday, March 12, 1998

LITTLE ROCK (AP)—Media groups who sought unsuccessfully to lift a code of secrecy in Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton said March 11 that they plan an appeal.

A dozen media organizations, including The Associated Press, had asked U.S. district court Judge Susan Webber Wright to lift a gag order in the case and make public Clinton’s deposition and other documents.

Wright rejected their request March 10, along with a similar one made by Judicial Watch Inc., a Washington-based conservative group. The media groups subsequently filed a notice of appeal March 6 to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.

Media groups argued that the secrecy order should be lifted on First Amendment grounds, adding that leaks of secret information have rendered the gag order ineffective.

But Wright said media were “using gossip, speculation, innuendo and questionable sources” and that lifting the secrecy order would jeopardize the parties’ right to a fair trial.

Related stories:

  • President’s deposition in Jones case will remain off limits 3.10.98
  • Clinton attorneys argue to keep Jones case under wraps 2.19.98