Just as the Senate is about to begin President Clinton’s impeachment trial in earnest, Mr. Clinton sent $850,000 to Paula Corbin Jones today to settle the sexual misconduct lawsuit that started it all.
Clinton Administration officials said a check for $850,000, the amount agreed to in November to settle the case, was being sent by overnight mail to Ms. Jones and her lawyers. The officials, who asked that their names not be used, said that a little more than half of the money, $475,000, came from an insurance policy against civil liability the President held with Chubb Group Insurance. Most, if not all, of the remainder was withdrawn from a blind trust in the name of Mrs. Clinton, which officials said last year had assets of slightly more than $1 million.
A blind trust that is in Mr. Clinton’s name was reported in financial disclosure forms last year to have less than $100,000 in assets. A White House official said that although the trusts were in separate names, they were, in effect, joint accounts.
It was unclear why the amount not covered by insurance was not withdrawn from the Clintons’ legal defense fund as officials had once suggested it would be. A conservative legal organization said it would sue to prevent Mr. Clinton from using that fund to pay the settlement.
The payment ends Mr. Clinton’s involvement in the lawsuit itself, but its repercussions continue as the Senate prepares to hear opening arguments on Thursday in his trial on two articles of impeachment stemming from Ms. Jones’s complaint. It was in a deposition that the President gave in Ms. Jones’s lawsuit last Jan. 17 that he first denied having sexual relations with Monica S. Lewinsky, a former White House intern.