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Lawyers for Paula Jones on Wednesday filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Abraham J. Hirschfeld, the New York real estate magnate, for allegedly reneging on a promise to pay her $1 million if she would settle her sexual harassment suit against former President Bill Clinton. Jones said that she dropped her complaint against President Clinton on Nov. 13, 1998, but never received the $1 million that Hirschfeld promised to pay her. On Oct. 1, 1998, Hirschfeld announced that in the interest of ending the litigation, he would pay Jones $1 million on the condition that she settle her lawsuit, which he believed was damaging the country. Later that month, Hirschfeld appeared at a press conference with a $1 million check made out to Jones, the Dallas law firm of Radar, Campbell, Fisher & Pyke, and other parties that have helped finance her lawsuit. The check was to have been held in escrow by Jones’ attorneys until the settlement. The parties later entered into an agreement restating Hischfeld’s intention to pay Jones $1 million, contingent on a final settlement. However, the check was never turned over to Jones or her lawyers, the complaint said, and Hirschfeld has not made good on his promise. The federal lawsuit is the second to be filed against Hirschfeld over his alleged promise to pay Jones. Last year, a complaint filed in federal court in Dallas was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. It was President Clinton’s deposition testimony in Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit that formed the basis of charges brought by Kenneth Starr, then independent counsel, that the former president lied about a sexual affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was impeached on the evidence, but later acquitted before the U.S. Senate. Jones’ attorney, Thomas F. Cohen of Agovino & Asselta in Mineola, Long Island, said Wednesday that he has had no contact with Hirschfeld or his lawyers. Cohen declined to make further comment. Harvard Hollenberg was Hirschfeld’s lawyer in 1998 when the offer was made. However, he was fired along with a dozen other attorneys by the flamboyant mogul in 1999. He said he has had no contact with Hirschfeld in the past two years. Hirschfeld, 81, is serving a 1- to 3-year sentence at the Rikers Island Correctional Facility for soliciting the murder of his business partner. The killing was never carried out. The real estate tycoon became eligible for parole on July 27 of this year. Since his criminal conviction in August 2000, Hirschfeld has acted as his own lawyer in several matters, Hollenberg said. The complaint filed Wednesday alleges that Hirschfeld is in breach of oral promises to make the payment, and in breach of the written agreement between him, Jones and her lawyers. Issues in the case could include whether there was ever a legally binding agreement between the parties, whether it was enforceable in court, whether any party repudiated the deal or whether Hirschfeld intended his promise to be taken seriously. The case has been assigned to Southern District Judge Peter K. Leisure.

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