Never-Ending Jones Case Takes Another Turn

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas: Somebody forgot to tell Susan Webber Wright that it's all over. The U.S. district judge who dismissed the Paula Jones lawsuit all those news cycles ago apparently isn't done with the limelight. In a conference call Tuesday afternoon on an unrelated issue, she let slip to Clinton and Starr attorneys that she was considering holding President Clinton in contempt. Would they please have their briefs in by Friday? The two stunned legal teams now will return to an old battleground to fight over perjury issues that didn't even survive the rabid House of Representatives: Whether Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky in his Jones deposition.

Special Report Perjury in a dismissed civil case never caught on with gravity-minded politicians, but Wright's original dismissal -- which found no damages to Jones but surmised that Clinton's behavior (if he did anything) was "boorish" -- certainly telegraphed that Wright wasn't quite done with the Big He. Now Ken Starr, who reconvened his Washington grand jury for unknown reasons on Tuesday, will get a chance to amass evidence for a post-term indictment (if indeed he waits that long). Clinton's lawyers will have to string up the legal tightrope and tiptoe across it all over again, with tens of thousands of dollars in contempt penalties -- and more embarrassment for their boss -- on the line. Worst of all, we'll have to watch.

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