Lawyers seek to quit Clinton case

Little Rock (Reuter) - Lawyers representing Paula Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton yesterday sought to withdraw from the case because of "fundamental differences" with their client.

But they said they still had "full confidence" in the merits of the suit in which Ms Jones says Mr Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, exposed himself and asked her to perform oral sex in a May 1991 encounter. He has denied the accusations.

Attorneys Gilbert Davis and Joseph Cammarata cited "certain fundamental differences of opinion" with Ms Jones in a cryptic five-page motion filed with US District Judge Susan Webber Wright in Little Rock.

"This motion is based on differences of opinion between [the attorneys and Ms Jones] as to litigation strategy and related matters," the lawyers said.

Ms Jones has reportedly turned down a settlement supported by the lawyers in which she would receive $700,000 (pounds 443,000) and a statement of regret from Mr Clinton. She supposedly wants a full apology, which Mr Clinton's lawyer, Robert Bennett, has rejected.

"It's never been about money, it's always been about language," Susan Carpenter McMillan, Ms Jones' spokeswoman, told CNN.

Court insiders also said the lawyers wanted out because they had not been paid. They said in the motion that virtually no pre-trial work, including discovery, had been done. The case is set to go to trial next May. Mr Bennett, who was on holiday in Australia, said in a statement that "there is no settlement offer on the table" and blamed the withdrawal motion on "a nasty and highly personal dispute amongst Paula Jones, her attorneys and her public relations representative, Susan Carpenter McMillan."

He said he hoped the trial would not be delayed. Ms Jones has already met with a new legal team in the case, Ms McMillan said.

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