Robert S. Bennett, Washington’s Go-to Lawyer in a Scandal, Dies at 84

THE NEW YORK TIMES – Robert S. Bennett, one of the nation’s leading criminal defense lawyers, who was known for his representation of the powerful and celebrated caught up in scandals, died on Sunday at his home in Washington. He was 84.

The cause was kidney failure, his daughter Peggy Bennett said.

Mr. Bennett most famously represented President Bill Clinton when he was mired in trouble after lying about having had an intimate relationship with a young White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

Mr. Bennett was initially the president’s personal lawyer in a lawsuit brought by Paula Jones that triggered the scandal.

Ms. Jones, an Arkansas state clerical worker, contended that when Mr. Clinton was the state’s governor, he made unwanted sexual advances to her in a Little Rock hotel room.

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“Mr. Bennett was a robust warrior for his clients, not least for his ability to deliver an earnest defense of them not only inside the courtroom but outside it as well, before television cameras and reporters.”

In addition to his association with Mr. Clinton, Mr. Bennett was sought after by several other prominent political figures ensnared in scandal in Washington.

In September 1992, Mr. Bennett found himself shuttling from courtroom to courtroom in Washington’s federal courthouse, sometimes on the same day, to defend simultaneously two former secretaries of defense, one a Democrat, Clark M. Clifford, and the other a Republican, Caspar W. Weinberger.

Mr. Clifford, who had spent more than a half-century at the pinnacle of influence in the nation’s capital and served as defense secretary under President Lyndon B. Johnson, faced fraud charges in connection with a banking scandal …

“In the case of President Clinton, whose dalliance with Ms. Lewinsky came to light in the Paula Jones lawsuit, Mr. Bennett readily told reporters that the Jones filing was ‘tabloid trash with a legal caption.'”

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