Clinton's Lawyer gets the last laugh: Paula Jones settlement check tied up

Attorneys argue over proceeds to Clinton’s $850,000 check.

Paula Jones may have a settlement check from President Bill Clinton for $850,000, but she can't cash it, can't draw interest on it and may have to watch it expire. It seems when the president's lawyer, Bob Bennett, drafted the check on his law firm account on Jan. 12, he added a few other names behind that of JonesE
Robert Bennett, Clinton's lawyer, sincerely wants to make sure everyone gets paid


Bennett added about seven names — names of lawyers. Two of them are Joseph Cammarata and Gil Davis, Jones’ first set of attorneys who helped her win a victory at the Supreme Court that set a trial in motion.

Then there are the names of her second legal team — Rader, Campbell, Fisher & Pyke — the Dallas lawyers who pushed her case ahead and exposed both the Jane Doe’s and Monica Lewinksy.

Another name on the check is that of William McMillan, III, the husband of Jones’ confident, Susan Carpenter-McMillan and Jones’ last lawyer in the settlement talks.

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JonesEformer Texas law firm asked the District Court on Wednesday to order all the parties to endorse the check and put it into an interest-bearing account under the control of the federal court in Little Rock. They noted that checks not acted upon within 90-days become “stale and overdue.”

All the lawyers are now engaged in a nasty fight over how the settlement shall be divided. The team of Cammarata and Davis has filed a lien against Jones for fees and expenses that they say reach $874,571.36 — more than the entire check.

The Texas law firm led by Donovan Campbell fired back in court that the first team abandoned the case and that their legal work was riddled “with malpractice.”

A hearing to decide all this will probably be set in April before Judge Susan Webber Wright. She is unlikely to cut the first set of lawyers out of any settlement. When she accepted their withdrawal from the case in the fall of 1997, she noted the first team had been “effective and zealous” in their representation of Jones.

EVERYONE MUST ENDORSE

For now, the Campbell legal team has asked the judge to order everyone named on the check to endorse it and to then order it deposited. This could mean the most famous settlement check in American history would be shipped back and forth across the country before settling in an Arkansas bank account to await a court decision.

All of this has courthouse observers in Little Rock wondering if Bennett isn't, at least, getting a last chuckle, if not the last laugh on the case which has brought his client to the brink of losing office.

Ron Blome is a producer for NBC News, covering matters related to President Clinton in the president’s home state of Arkansas.


UPDATE: Dershowitz Goes After Bennett....

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