Bill Clinton Doesn't Have to Testify for Primary Colors Libel Suit, Judge Says

A judge has ruled that Bill Clinton does not have to provide sworn testimony in a libel lawsuit that a librarian filed over her alleged portrayal in Primary Colors, a fictionalized account of the 1992 presidential campaign.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard Braun said the librarian, Daria Carter-Clark, had not shown that the ex-president "has anything particularly useful to provide." The judge also noted that Clinton said he recalls little about the 1991 event at which he met her.

Primary Colors was a best seller in 1996. Political columnist Joe Klein denied for months that he was the anonymous author of the novel before finally admitting that he wrote it.

Carter-Clark sued Klein and his publisher, Random House, for $100 million, claiming she was depicted as a loose woman who slept with a politician who is a thinly disguised Clinton.

The sexual liaison, as presented in Primary Colors, occurs between the librarian, Ms. Baum, and a Southern governor, Jack Stanton, when he visits her library's adult literacy program during his presidential campaign.

In her lawsuit, Carter-Clark, who runs an adult literacy program, said Clinton visited her Harlem library branch in 1991 while he was governor of Arkansas and running in the Democratic presidential primaries.

Carter-Clark, who says she had no such encounter with Clinton, subpoenaed the former president to recount his visit to the library and confirm that no adulterous activity occurred between them.

The judge, in the pretrial decision made public Wednesday, noted that Klein and Random House have never claimed there was any sexual activity during the real visit. He said Clinton's deposition "would not be material and necessary."

Carter-Clark's lawyer, Regina Darby, did not return calls for comment. Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum praised the judge's decision, calling librarian's request "frivolous."

No trial date has been set.