The lawyer for two Arkansas state troopers who alleged marital infidelities by President Clinton when he was governor said Thursday he would not back away from the charges despite apologizing in a letter for any "public pain" suffered by the Clintons.

"This letter conveys charity," attorney Cliff Jackson said in a telephone interview. "We do not back up one bit from the allegations that were made."Two state troopers came forward last week with allegations that Clinton used troopers to arrange and cover up for extramarital trysts while he was governor.

In a letter mailed to Clinton Wednesday, Jackson wrote: "I feel for your pain and that of your family. Forgive my role as an attorney for the troopers (a role which I did not seek and undertook only with great trepidation when the truth of their allegations became apparent) in inflicting such public pain upon you and yours."

He said the letter was sent to counter charges by the White House that he was motivated by enmity and politics.

Jackson, who attended Oxford University with Clinton, wrote in the letter that "there is no incident in our past from which present criticism stems . . . I wish you only the best."

However, Jackson also wrote: "My hope - dare I say expectation? - is that you will genuinely change. I know that you are capable of change, we all are."

Jackson said he was not talking about Clinton's personal life, but his public conduct.

"I am talking about your fundamental nature . . . your casual willingness to deceive, to exploit and to manipulate in order to attain personal and political power," the letter stated.

"I am talking about your willingness to compromise principle until there is no longer any principle left to compromise," the letter stated.

It was signed "your friend (still), Cliff."

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Clinton spokesman Jeff Eller said Thursday the president had seen the letter from Jackson and "didn't really say much." Eller said the president had no intention of responding and declined to elaborate further.

Clinton has denied the allegations by troopers Roger Perry and Larry Patterson.

Clinton, meanwhile, was vacationing at Hilton Head Island, S.C., with his family.

He went for a jog Wednesday shortly after flying to the resort island, where he will join about 335 families for the annual New Year's Renaissance Weekend.

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