Who is Paula Jones, portrayed by Annaleigh Ashford in Impeachment: American Crime Story?

Jones sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment in 1994

Clémence Michallon
New York City
Wednesday 10 November 2021 21:28 GMT
Impeachment: American Crime Story trailer released
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Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, is portrayed in Impeachment: American Crime Story by Annaleigh Ashford.

Jones filed a civil lawsuit against then-President Bill Clinton on 17 January 1994. She alleged that Clinton had sexually harassed her during his time as governor of Arkansas, then defamed her when denying the claims.

The case led to a landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court. On 27 May 1997, the court found that “the Constitution does not grant a sitting President immunity from civil litigation except under highly unusual circumstances”. It thus allowed Jones’ case to proceed.

Clinton settled the lawsuit in November 1998, agreeing to pay Jones $850,000 in exchange for her dropping the charges. The deal included no apology.

Paula Jones on 6 January 1998 in Long Beach, California (Vince Bucci/AFP via Getty Images)

While being questioned in Jones’s case, Clinton denied having had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern. Independent counsel Kenneth Starr later alleged that Clinton had lied under oath and obstructed justice.

The House of Representatives on 19 December 1998 impeached Clinton on the grounds of perjury to a grand jury and obstruction of justice. A Senate trial ensued, and senators voted to acquit Clinton on both charges. He remained in office until January 2001, when his second term as president ended.

Impeachment: American Crime Story is a dramatisation of Clinton’s impeachment and of the events that led to it. The 10-episode season started airing on 7 September on FX in the US and on 19 October on BBC Two in the UK, with new episodes being unveiled weekly.

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