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4 judges recuse themselves from Clinton disbarment trial

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — After four colleagues excused themselves from the case, a recently appointed judge says he has not decided whether to preside over President Clinton's disbarment trial.

The other judges — all Democrats — cited distant political connections to Clinton in exercising their options to pass on the case. The lot fell Wednesday to Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson, appointed June 2 by a Republican governor to fill the term of a judge ousted by the state Supreme Court.

"I don't think I have to make a decision right away," he said.

Clinton's case was assigned to Johnson after Judge Chris Piazza stepped aside. Piazza said Clinton, as governor, had once named him to a panel that hammered out state ethics laws.

The suit filed June 29 by the Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct says Clinton is unfit to be a lawyer because of his deceptive testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.