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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — In a move that could subject President Clinton to further embarrassment, a federal judge Tuesday ordered that the sealed court files in Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit be made public.
U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright put off any release of the documents for at least 10 days to allow all sides to appeal.
But if the files do become public, they could lay bare details about the sex lives of the president and his accuser, including the “distinguishing characteristics” Clinton is said to have on his private parts.
Wright concluded that leaks, disclosures in already released court filings and her April 1 ruling dismissing Jones’ lawsuit left her with no reason to keep the records confidential.
The judge said the names, addresses and other information about women identified in the files will be kept private. But she said other information, including a full transcript of Clinton’s deposition, would be made public.
The files were ordered released at the request of a dozen news organizations, including The Associated Press, The New York Times and the major TV networks.
Lawyers for both Jones and the president had argued against release because of the possibility of a federal appeals court reinstating the lawsuit and allowing a trial. Clinton attorney Bob Bennett also argued that the material might be used improperly in movies and books.
The file contains scores of pleadings, documents and depositions from potential witnesses, including women alleged to have had relationships with the president.
The release of Clinton’s full deposition could provide new opportunities — for the public, at least — to compare the president’s comments with statements and documents from other witnesses in the Lewinsky investigation.