WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., is suing former President Clinton, Democratic analyst James Carville and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, contending they harmed his reputation and caused him emotional distress during the Clinton impeachment.
Barr, a vigorous Clinton critic who called for the president to resign, is seeking at least $30 million, along with attorney's fees and other costs.
He filed the lawsuit March 7 in U.S. District Court. Flynt, who says he was notified last week, made it public this week.
"It's ridiculous," Flynt said Thursday in a phone interview from his Los Angeles home. "He's been out of the limelight for a while so maybe he's looking for some attention."
The lawsuit, filed along with various news articles and television transcripts, alleges the three defendants took part in a "common scheme and ongoing conspiracy to attempt to intimidate, impede and/or retaliate" against Barr and other House impeachment managers.
Specifically, it accuses Carville of providing Flynt with FBI files and other classified information on Barr's private life for use in a smear campaign. It alleges Clinton approved of the actions.
"I don't know if it's more silly or more frivolous," Carville said. "It's just a political stunt. I think the best thing to do is let the courts handle it."
Flynt printed a 27-page story in Hustler alleging the congressman was a hypocrite who embraced family values in public but didn't follow those standards in his own life.
Flynt denies having contact with Carville or anyone else at the White House, insisting most of the information came from a private investigation and court documents from Barr's divorce.
Barr said in a statement, "James Carville can preach his lies about people on television and Larry Flynt can print whatever he wants in the pages of his smut magazine, but at the end of the day they are going to be held accountable." He said, "Their lies, smears and intimidation will end, and I look forward to this case moving forward."
Democratic-friendly redistricting has pushed Barr, first elected from his suburban Atlanta district in 1994, into a primary fight against fellow GOP Rep. John Linder. The primary election is Aug. 20.
Carville said he suspects Barr filed the lawsuit for political gain among conservative Georgia Republicans.