Jones v. Clinton on "The People's Court"

(On March 31, 1998, at 10 AM, in New York City, the two parties named in the lawsuit, Jones v. Clinton, appeared before Judge Edward I. Koch of "The People's Court," a Ralph Andrews-Stu Billett Production. Both parties agreed to accept Judge Koch's decision as legal and binding, with any monetary award not to exceed five thousand dollars, in accordance with the laws of the State of New York.)

(Theme music up in the background. Paula Jones, the plaintiff, enters.)

ANNOUNCER: This is the plaintiff, Paula Jones. She claims the defendant, her boss, summoned her to his hotel room seven years ago and attempted to grope her, fondle her, and then asked her to perform oral sex on him. She claims her refusal to do so led to humiliation, on-the-job discrimination, and lack of advancement. She's suing him for sexual harassment and is asking for five thousand dollars in damages, and an apology.

(Bill Clinton, the defendant, enters.)

ANNOUNCER: This is the defendant, Bill Clinton. He says he doesn't remember meeting the plaintiff, and if he ever did meet her he never would have done what she said he did. He's accused of committing sexual harassment in the workplace and is being asked to pay five thousand dollars in damages and issue an apology to the plaintiff. Up next, "The Case of the Groping Guv."

(Theme music up and out.)

BAILIFF: All rise. The court of the Honorable Edward I. Koch is now in session.

(Everyone stands as Judge Koch enters and takes his place behind the bench.)

JUDGE KOCH: Thank you, be seated. Now, it says here, Ms. Jones, that you were working at the registration desk in the lobby of the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas, on May 8, 1991, when a state trooper asked you to follow him up to the defendant's hotel room. Is that correct?


JUDGE KOCH: And you worked for the defendant?

JONES: I worked for the state. He was my boss.

JUDGE KOCH: Had you ever met the defendant before?


JUDGE KOCH: And yet you went up to his hotel room. Why?

JONES: Well, I was flattered, and I thought it might lead to a better position, a better job.

JUDGE KOCH: All right. You go to his hotel room. What happened next?

JONES: Well, he shook my hand, and then he said something about how my hair was very pretty.

JUDGE KOCH: He was complimenting you?

JONES: Well, yes, in a way.

JUDGE KOCH: And then what happened?

JONES: He said I had a nice body.

JUDGE KOCH: Yes. And then what?

JONES: He pulled me close to him and put his hand on me.


JONES: On my leg.

JUDGE KOCH: And what did you do when he did that?

CLINTON: Your Honor, I would never--

JUDGE KOCH: (to Clinton) Hold it, you'll get your chance. (to Jones) Go on. What did you do after he put his hand on your leg?

JONES: I said no, don't do that.

JUDGE KOCH: And did he stop?

JONES: He stopped, but then he stood up, and he took off his pants, and then his underwear...

JUDGE KOCH: You're saying he exposed himself to you?

CLINTON: Your Honor, if I could --

JUDGE KOCH: (to Clinton) I said you'd get your chance and you will. (to Jones) And what was your reaction when he did this?

JONES: I was horrified.

JUDGE KOCH: What did you say?

JONES: I think I said something like I'm not that kind of girl. But I was shocked. And scared. This was my boss. I didn't know what to say.

JUDGE KOCH: But you rejected his advances.


JUDGE KOCH: So, you said you would have none of it, and you told him in so many words. Is that correct?


JUDGE KOCH: And then what happened?

JONES: I left. I mean, I tried to leave.

JUDGE KOCH: Tried to leave? What prevented you?

JONES: Well, he did.

JUDGE KOCH: The defendant?


JUDGE KOCH: What did he do?

JONES: He stepped in front of me and blocked the doorway.

JUDGE KOCH: With his pants still down?

JONES: Uh, no, he had pulled them up.

JUDGE KOCH: So, you were there long enough for him to put his pants back on, correct?

JONES: Well, yes. But that wasn't very long.

JUDGE KOCH: No, but unless you're some sort of quick-change artist, it can take a little time. In any case, continue. What happened when he blocked you from leaving the room?

JONES: He said something like, "You're a smart girl, you won't say anything," and made it clear that he knew my direct superior quite well so, I was kind of like, trapped.

JUDGE KOCH: Trapped? You mean, because he knew your direct superior you wouldn't be able to complain about this incident? You were afraid of losing your job?


JUDGE KOCH: And did you complain?

JONES: No. I didn't.

JUDGE KOCH: And did you ever see the defendant again?


JUDGE KOCH: Did you lose your job?


JUDGE KOCH: You know, of course, that in order to prove sexual harassment you must demonstrate it had some kind of negative effect on your workplace environment, such as being discriminated against, getting fired...did anything happen that would constitute discrimination, or something like it?

JONES: Well, for example, on Secretaries Day, everyone in my office received flowers, except me.

JUDGE KOCH: You didn't get flowers on Secretaries Day? I've never even heard of Secretaries Day. Anything else? Is that it?

(Susan Carpenter-McMillan, Ms. Jones's advisor, steps forward.)

CARPENTER-MCMILLAN: There's a lot more, a whole lot more.

JUDGE KOCH: And who are you? Are you her friend?

CARPENTER-MCMILLAN: I'm Susan Carpenter-McMillan, your Honor. I'm the plaintiff's advisor.

JUDGE KOCH: Well, that's fine, but I didn't ask you, I asked her. (to Jones) Ms. Jones, in your own words, please. What else happened as a result of this incident?

JONES: Every day at work I could tell that the word was out. I was ignored; people who used to speak to me no longer did. And I never got a promotion of any kind. They even put my desk on the other side of the room, away from everyone else.

CARPENTER-MCMILLAN: And she was, and still is, traumatized by the incident at the hotel, your Honor. We have a psychological evaluation here...

(Carpenter-McMillan holds up some papers.)

JUDGE KOCH: May I see it? Hand it to Josephine, please.

(Carpenter-McMillan hands the papers to the bailiff, who brings them to Judge Koch. He looks them over briefly.)

JUDGE KOCH: Well, all let's hear from the defendant. (to Clinton) Tell me, what happened that day, May 8, 1991?

CLINTON: Quite honestly, your Honor, I do not recall ever meeting Ms. Jones.

JUDGE KOCH: You're saying you don't remember her at all? You never met her?

CLINTON: Well, this was many years ago, and I met an awful lot of people, I may have met her, but...

JUDGE KOCH: You may have met her. She's saying you asked her up to your hotel room, that you made a clumsy sexual advance, it was you drink?

CLINTON: No. Oh, on occasion I'll have a small shot of cognac with a cigar after a round of golf, but, no...

JUDGE KOCH: I hate golf. And I hate cigars. But I do like an occasional shot of cognac. Still, that doesn't constitute a drinking problem. All right, let me ask you this: is it possible that you had an encounter with this young lady and she somehow misinterpreted your actions in some way?

CLINTON: No. That's not possible.

JONES: He's lying.

JUDGE KOCH: (to Jones) Now you will have to be quiet. You had your chance. (to Clinton) You say you don't have any recollection of meeting Ms Jones before?

CLINTON: I don't honestly recall ever meeting her.

(James Carville, an acquaintance of Mr. Clinton's, steps forward.)

CARVILLE: Your Honor, I'll tell you what's going on here: that woman's out to get this man, to sully his reputation, and to take his money.

JUDGE KOCH: And who are you?

CARVILLE: My name's Jim Carville, and I know this man well, and he'd sooner lie down in the swamp with alligators than associate with trailer park trash like her.

CARPENTER-MCMILLAN: How dare you! That man is a sexual predator and a liar!

JUDGE KOCH: Hold it, hold it! Both of you, be quiet! There will be no name-calling in this courtroom. Bailiff, see that they keep quiet, please.


JUDGE KOCH: (to Carpenter-McMillan) As her advisor, I would advise you to remain silent while I question the defendant. (to Clinton) I'm going to ask you again, because sexual harassment is a serious charge, if you have any recollection whatsoever of the plaintiff, and if so, could there have been some kind of "incident" that occurred between the two of you?

CLINTON: No. I know what you're saying, but no, I can't recall anything like what she described, no. I meet so many people, but, well...(trails off)

JUDGE KOCH: Could you speak up, please, you're mumbling.

CLINTON: Oh, just that I meet so many people, your Honor, that it's always possible that...

JUDGE KOCH: Possible that what?

CLINTON: I don't know.

JUDGE KOCH: Well, I'm getting the feeling you have nothing more you're willing to say on this matter, so...let me go back to you...(to Jones) Are you absolutely sure the defendant did these lewd things?

JONES: Yes, I am.

CARVILLE: Your Honor, if you want me to I could produce dozens of witnesses who'd claim this Jones woman's nothin' but a gold digger lookin' for a big payoff. This is the sleaziest smear campaign since the McCarthy witch hunts.

CARPENTER-MCMILLAN: Speaking of sleazy smear campaigns--

JUDGE KOCH: Hold it, hold it, be quiet! Bailiff, restrain them, please.

(The bailiff steps between Carpeneter-McMillan and Carville and motions to them to be quiet.)

BAILIFF: Get back!

JUDGE KOCH: Okay, now, Ms. Jones, you're asking for five thousand dollars in damages? Is that right?


JUDGE KOCH: Hey, what did I say before? Don't you understand English? Let her speak for herself. You weren't in that hotel room, were you?


JUDGE KOCH: Then keep quiet. (to Jones) Ms. Jones. You want five thousand dollars and an apology from the defendant, is that correct?

JONES: Yes, your Honor.

JUDGE KOCH: All right, I'm going to take a short recess. I think I have enough information.

(Judge Koch gets up and exits.)

(Music up.)

(CUT TO: Former CBS Anchorperson Carol Martin, in the studio.)

MARTIN: While the judge thinks it over, let's see what you think...

(A graphic appears showing: Plaintiff 53% Defendant 47%)

MARTIN: According to our Internet poll, it's a toss-up, with the public siding slightly with the plaintiff. What about the folks out there with Harvey Levin. Harvey?

(CUT TO: Harvey Levin, legal consultant and co-executive producer of "The People's Court," amidst a crowd of onlookers.)

LEVIN: This is a tough one, Carol. Remember, as the judge stated, to prove sexual harassment one must demonstrate that it had a negative effect on the workplace environment or worse.

LEVIN: What do you think, ma'am?

(He turns to an old woman holding several shopping bags.)

WOMAN: I think they should lock the man up. Forget the money, they should throw the man in jail. What he did was a sin, a mortal sin.

LEVIN: Score that one for the plaintiff.

(Levin points the microphone at a puffy-cheeked college student in a "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" jacket.)

LEVIN: How about you?

STUDENT: He shouldn't have to pay a dime, because nothin' happened, okay?

LEVIN: So you don't believe her.

STUDENT: No, not at all. And he shouldn't have to apologize either, 'cause nothin' happened.

LEVIN: Ring one up for the defendant.

(He turns to an elderly man in a baseball cap)

LEVIN: You, sir. Who do you believe? Her? Or him?

MAN: I don't believe either of 'em. I think she went up there willingly, had a good time, and when she never got a second chance she decided to talk, and make a lot of money.

LEVIN: (to camera) Carol, the folks here on 33rd Street are sharply divided. And I'm not so sure myself.

MARTIN: Well, let's find out what happens. Here comes Judge Koch.

(CUT TO: Judge Koch enters and takes his seat behind the bench.)

JUDGE KOCH: In a case of this kind it becomes a contest, if you will, between two litigants to convince a jury, or in this case a judge, of their version of what happened during a private moment between the two parties. It's a "He said, she said" situation, and quite frankly I'm not sure either side has a good explanation for what did or didn't happen. (to Clinton) Mr. Clinton, I find the fact that you claim to have no memory of meeting one of your employees to be disingenuous, and I strongly suspect that something went on between yourself and the plaintiff, however, short of seeing some tangible proof, I can't ask you to make an apology. However, I feel that as her former employer, you owe her something for her troubles, therefore: judgment in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of five thousand dollars. (He bangs the gavel.)

(The litigants and their respective entourages file out of the courtroom and are met by court reporter Curt Chaplin.)

CHAPLIN: Here comes the plaintiff, Paula Jones...Are you happy with the decision?

JONES: Not really. I wanted an apology more than I wanted the money. I feel like he got away with it.

CHAPLIN: Nevertheless, you're five thousand dollars richer, and Judge Koch did rule in your favor, so congratulations. Don't forget to see Josephine and sign your documents on the way out.

(As Paula Jones exits, Bill Clinton enters.)

CHAPLIN: And here's the defendant... Mr. Clinton, you seem disappointed by the judge's decision.

CLINTON: I am. I want to be cleared of this charge. I feel that awarding her money for something I didn't do is wrong.

CHAPLIN: What are you going to do?

CLINTON: I'm filing a countersuit and taking it to "Judge Judy."

CHAPLIN: Well, good luck with that. Don't forget to stop by Josephine and sign your documents on the way out.

(Clinton exits.)

CHAPLIN: And there you have it, Carol, "The Case of the Groping Guv."

(CUT TO: Carol Martin, in the studio.)

MARTIN: Thanks, Curt. And thanks for watching. See you next time on "The People's Court." 'Bye.

(Theme music up and OUT.)

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