(CNS) - The head of a legal watchdog group said that a federal judge's decision Thursday to impose financial sanctions on President Bill Clinton following his April contempt citation increases the chance that Clinton will lose his license to practice law in Arkansas.
Southeastern Legal Foundation President Matt Glavin told CNSNews.com that the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Weber Wright to have Clinton pay more than $90,000 in sanctions after having lied in his 1998 deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit makes it "more likely" that Clinton will be disbarred.
Glavin further predicted that "the (Arkansas) Supreme Court will announce that it's launching a formal inquiry of the case, and Bill Clinton will voluntarily surrender his license," to practice law in his home state.
Glavin and the SLF had filed a formal complaint last autumn against Clinton with the State Bar Association of Arkansas, charging that Clinton repeatedly violated his oath of professional responsibility and ethics.
The filing sought an inquiry by the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct, but the court said it would not begin such a proceeding until the Jones case and related legal action were completed.
"This is the end of the legal proceeding against the president," Glavin told CNSNews.com. "There's nothing stopping the (Arkansas) Supreme Court from taking action on this matter."
Thursday's decision by Wright appears to have closed the book on the Jones lawsuit, with Clinton's lawyers saying they will not challenge the judge's ruling.
Wright, who issued an unprecedented contempt citation against Clinton in April, ordered the president to pay almost $80,000 to the Dallas, Texas law firm that represented Jones and $9,484 to the Rutherford Institute, which assisted with the Jones case.
The financial sanctions were ordered by Wright "not only to deter others who might consider emulating the president's misconduct, but to compensate the plaintiff," for costs associated with the false testimony, according to the court order.
Wright's ruling cited Clinton's "willful failure to obey this court's discovery orders," while giving a deposition in January, 1998 as part of his defense in the Jones lawsuit.
Clinton was also ordered to pay more than $1,200 to cover Wright's visit to Washington, D.C. to preside over the deposition. Her presence at the deposition was requested by the president's lawyers.
The amount Wright ordered Clinton to pay is less than the damages sought by Jones' lawyers, and more than the $33,737 Clinton's lawyers said they should pay. Jones' lawyers had sought $437,825 for expenses they said were connected with Clinton's false testimony. However, Wright ruled the requested compensation "excessive."
The compensation ordered by Wright Thursday was in addition to the $850,000 that Clinton paid Jones to eventually settle the lawsuit. In agreeing to the settlement, the president admitted no wrongdoing in the case, in which Jones accused Clinton of sexually harassing her in a Little Rock, Arkansas hotel in 1991.
During the president's deposition, Clinton denied having a sexual relationship with former White House Intern Monica Lewinsky. However, evidence indicated that Clinton was involved with Lewinsky, which Clinton eventually admitted.
The Jones case paved the way for Clinton's impeachment by the House in December, 1998, but the president was later acquitted by the Senate.