Clinton Responds to Jones Lawsuit

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LITTLE ROCK: After years of delaying actions until a recent Supreme Court ruling that Paula Jones could proceed with her sexual harassment case, President Clinton's lawyer Bob Bennett has abruptly changed course and come out swinging. Late Thursday he asked an Arkansas court to hold a conference to set a trial date and filed the first formal response to the suit, in which Clinton said he did not remember ever meeting Jones and denied her claim he harassed her during an Arkansas state economic conference. Covering all the legal bases, the filing said that even if Clinton did meet Jones at the Excelsior Hotel, as she claims, he did nothing illegal. And even assuming that Clinton had propositioned Jones, lawyers said, it should be considered "a single overture -- abandoned as soon as she stated it was unwelcome." While a settlement is still possible, Bennett has been encouraged by reports that Jones may have embroidered her story with more salacious details in the years following the alleged incident, especially her contention that she could identify "distinguishing characteristics" on the President's anatomy.