Friday, September 07, 2007

Attorneys argue whether Hillary should be in court

News giant KESQ (Palm Springs, CA) reports:

An attorney for a former Hillary Clinton supporter says the Democratic presidential contender should be reinstated as a defendant in a lawsuit because she allegedly violated campaign finance laws during her bid for a Senate seat in 2000.

Businessman Peter Paul is challenging a lower court's decision to remove the New York senator from his lawsuit in which he claims that Clinton, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and others fraudulently induced him to finance a lavish Hollywood fundraising gala in August 2000... Paul claims he spent nearly two million dollars to underwrite the star-studded event that attracted celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Cher and Diana Ross.

Superior Court Judge Aurelio Munoz dismissed Hillary Clinton from Paul's lawsuit in April 2006, citing [a California] statute designed to reduce frivolous lawsuits...

Today in Los Angeles, Paul's attorney Colette Wilson argued Hillary Clinton broke federal campaign finance laws by helping plan the Hollywood fundraiser. Wilson entered into evidence a videotape of a July 2000 phone call in which the future senator talks with organizers about the event...

The "frivolous lawsuit" statute would not be applicable if the court rules Hillary broke any law during the events in question. In the "smoking gun" videotape, it's pretty clear that Hillary -- and White House assistant Kelly Craighead -- were deeply involved in the planning of the event. In that case, Ms. Clinton would be deemed a defendant in the civil suit.

That should make for some interesting press coverage in the midst of her campaign.

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