History Extra: On Friday, November 13, 1998 President Bill Clinton reached an out-of-court settlement with Paula Jones, agreeing to pay her $850,000 to drop the sexual harassment lawsuit that led to the worst political crisis of his career and only the third presidential impeachment inquiry in American history.
The legal battle, in which Hillary Clinton led 4 1/2 years of scorched-earth policy, brought an end to the case with a four-page deal.
The settlement foreclosed the possibility that Clinton’s personal life would be reopened for public inspection at a sensational trial had the lawsuit dismissed in April been reinstated, as many lawyers involved believed it would be. It also may help the president’s allies defend him against independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr’s allegations that he lied and obstructed justice during the case, while providing a new opportunity for the White House to cut a separate deal with Congress to drop impeachment proceedings.
Just hours before the settlement was inked, however, Ken Starr sent new evidence to the House Judiciary Committee stemming from a witness in the Jones case, Kathleen E. Willey, who also accused Clinton of an unwelcome sexual advance.