Did Bill Clinton Pay Paula Jones $850K? Separating Fact from Fiction

Claims that former president Bill Clinton paid Paula Jones $850K in “hush money” have been circulating online recently. While Clinton did pay Jones $850K in 1998, was it really “hush money”? I decided to dig into the details and separate fact from fiction on this viral claim.

The Allegations Against Clinton

In 1994, Paula Jones filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill Clinton. She alleged that in 1991, while Clinton was governor of Arkansas, he exposed himself to her and propositioned her for sex in a hotel room. The lawsuit sought $700K in damages.

This became a major scandal during Clinton’s presidency. However, the facts of Jones’ allegations were already public knowledge before any settlement payment was made.

The Settlement

In 1998, Clinton reached an out-of-court settlement with Jones. As part of the agreement, he paid her $850K to drop the lawsuit.

Importantly this settlement came four years into Clinton’s second presidential term. It was not paid right before an election, which some social media posts imply through comparisons to Trump.

Clinton did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. He stated that he only agreed to end the lawsuit to avoid the burden and expense of further litigation.

Why The $850K Was Not “Hush Money”

The payment has been referred to by some as “hush money.” However legal experts dispute this characterization

  • Hush money is intended to prevent damaging information from becoming public in the first place. But Jones’ allegations were already widely known before any payment.

  • The payment came from Clinton personally, not secretly through an intermediary like in other hush money cases.

  • It was made to settle a publicly filed lawsuit, not to silence the accuser. Settlements for filed lawsuits are common.

So while Clinton did pay Jones $850K, referring to it as hush money appears to be more political rhetoric than factual. The payment came after Jones’ public lawsuit, not before. It did not prevent the airing of allegations, which were already widely reported on. Legal experts do not consider it hush money in the common meaning of the term.

Contrast With Trump

Some social media posts draw comparisons between Clinton’s payment and Donald Trump’s $130K payment to Stormy Daniels. However, legal experts find major differences between the two situations:

  • Trump’s payment was made secretly right before the 2016 election, not after.

  • It was intended to silence Daniels and prevent allegations from becoming public in the first place.

  • Trump initially denied knowledge of the payment, which was arranged through his lawyer as intermediary.

So while both involved payments to women, the context and timing make the cases very different. The Daniels payment is much more in line with the meaning of hush money.

The Bottom Line

Bill Clinton did agree to pay Paula Jones $850K in 1998 to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit against him. However, despite viral social media claims, legal experts agree this was not “hush money.” The facts of Jones’ allegations were already widely known. The payment came after years of public litigation, not before revelations. It was made to end an existing lawsuit that Clinton claimed was false, not to silence Jones. Context suggests referring to the $850K as hush money mischaracterizes the facts.

Did Bill Clinton Pay Paula Jones 850K


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