Settling News

Settling News

Settling News

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Nov. 14 1998 3:42 AM

Settling News

All papers--the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times--lead with the $850,000 settlement reached Friday between President Clinton and Paula Jones, which will end Jones' 4-1/2 year sexual harassment case against the President. Under the agreement, Clinton offers no apology to Jones--a condition which "[Jones] had once called her most important demand," notes the NYT. Clinton must pay Jones within 60 days; the money is expected to come from insurance or Clinton's legal defense fund. Real estate magnate Abe Hirschfeld's flamboyant offer to pay Jones $1 million is not part of the settlement. The agreement must first be approved by the federal judge who dismissed the Jones suit in April, but this should be routine.

Advertisement

Purveying the logic of the Clinton side, the President's lawyer Robert Bennett commented, "The president has decided he is not prepared to spend one more hour on this matter." One jubilant White House official quoted in the WP says, "What this means is that not a single one of those 750 days [left in Clinton's term] will be taken up by Paula Jones." All papers conclude that the Jones settlement brings Clinton one step further toward closing the impeachment proceedings.

In other scandal developments, carried in all papers: Independent counsel Kenneth Starr sent the House Judiciary Committee two boxes of new documents on Kathleen Willey, the former White House volunteer who has alleged that Clinton of groped her. The new information--which was not made public--"did not contain a formal accusation of wrongdoing against Clinton," avers the NYT. The papers concur that the material is unlikely to delay the Clinton impeachment inquiry. In a separate development, Hillary Clinton's former law partner Webster Hubbell was slapped with a 15-count indictment yesterday by Starr, who accuses Hubbell of lying to federal regulators. Starr has already brought two indictments against Hubbell; Hubbell has already served 18 months in federal custody. Hubbell's frustrated lawyer, John Nields, commented, "It is not normal for a prosecutor to keep indicting the same person over and over again."

The WP and NYT front stories on a landmark $206 billion settlement proposal reached between eight states and tobacco companies--a topic that the LAT ran as a lead last Wednesday. The states had sued to recover costs of smoking-related medical care. Under the agreement--the details of which should be finalized by Monday--tobacco companies would face various marketing restrictions, including a ban on billboard advertising. Before the settlement is implemented, it must be ratified by most of the other 38 states with pending or contemplated suits against tobacco companies.

With few major new developments in the U.S.-Iraq standoff, all papers run front-page stories on violence in Indonesia. Troops and riot police in Jakarta fired on Friday demonstrations by thousands of anti-government protesters, mostly students. At least five people are dead. The WP writes that it was the "bloodiest day of street battles since the fall of then-president Suharto last May."

An excellent piece in the NYT "Arts" section chronicles the growing dissent to "Washington Consensus," a post-Cold War methodology that favors open markets and freer trade. Alarmed by the global financial crisis, some leaders, notably Europeans, are pushing for stronger global economic regulation. Specific proposals have ranged from establishing a new U.N. Security Council for economic affairs to setting exchange rate targets. However, Washington, buoyed by the "spirit of American capitalism," tends to be averse to increased global regulation.

Those British royals are feuding again. This time, says a WP "Style" article, it's Charles in the doghouse. Apparently Charles' media gurus have spun the prince as steady and reliable, in contrast to Diana's wildness. This is sacrilege against Lady Di. Media stories also contain unpardonable hints that Charles is tired of the shadow of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and actually wants to be king someday. As implicit punishment, Queen Elizabeth II will skip her dear son's 50th birthday fete Saturday night for, um, an unfortunate scheduling conflict.