American Crime Story season 3: Who is Paula Jones on Impeachment?

Impeachment: American Crime Story -- Pictured: Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones. CR. Kurt Iswarienko/FX
Impeachment: American Crime Story -- Pictured: Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones. CR. Kurt Iswarienko/FX /

American Crime Story season 3, otherwise known as Impeachment, opened with the premiere “Exiles” but if you thought this was solely going to be Monica Lewinsky’s story, you were probably surprised by the focus on Paula Jones.

The doe-eyed civil servant, played by Annaleigh Ashford, is introduced after a magazine runs a story about her encounter with President Bill Clinton at the Annual Governor’s Quality Conference in 1991.

Spoilers ahead of the Impeachment premiere

Her husband Steve (Taran Killam) responds like a man prone to reducing even the most serious matters down to how it affects him and his ego. But what Paula alleges happened is a serious crime.

From her recounting of her brief interaction with the president, he’d come onto her after she came to his hotel room at his request. His advances escalated from an unwanted kiss to the leader of the free world exposing himself. Horrified and embarrassed, Paula fled the scene.

In “Exiles,” Paula decides to contact a lawyer to see what can be done so that her husband can save face. By the way it’s played in the episode, it seems the only thing Paula actually wants is an apology, but she tacks on a role on Designing Women for her husband Steve and ultimately is about to be used by the Republican party to land a strike against Clinton.

There are two things that’s true about the president so far in this series, he has harassed more than one woman, and he can’t help but lie. Those two things have left him vulnerable to the likes of Anna Coulter (Cobie Smulders) and other Republican political operatives who plan to exploit them by pushing Paula toward filing a sexual harassment suit to force the president into a situation that could see him lying under oath.

This will have major repercussions in American Crime Story season 3 as Paula’s allegations are the catalyst for the events that set in motion Clinton’s impeachment.

Where is Paula Jones now?

While Impeachment is fictionalized, it is a retelling of real life events that did shape the course of American history and politics. Paula Jones is not one of the show’s original characters, she’s a real woman who did file a lawsuit against Clinton in 1994 seeking $700,000 dollars in damages, according to the Washington Post.

The real life Paula Jones made a public appearance during the 2016 Presidential election when then candidate Donald Trump held a press conference with Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey. All three women have accused President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct. Jones maintains that the president harassed and assaulted her despite his continued denial that he did.

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Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more American Crime Story season 3 coverage. New episodes of the series debut Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.