WASHINGTON: Struggling to regain the upper hand in settlement negotiations with the White House, attorneys for Paula Jones say they received a settlement offer -- $700,000 and an apology -- from the Clinton team three weeks ago, and turned it down. The Wednesday press release was an apparent rebuttal to a TIME report that Jones' team, lost in the shuffle of the Lewinsky scandal, was eager to settle. But Jones' attorneys claimed that Mitchell S. Ettinger, second-in-command to Clinton's lead counsel, Robert S. Bennett, had approached them with the offer but never responded when they made a $900,000 counteroffer pending agreement on the language of Clinton's apology. In his own press release, Ettinger dismissed the Jones statement as "erroneous and misleading in all material respects." He said that he had made no such offer, "nor did I have authority to do so. Indeed, I specifically advised them that I had no such authority." Boy -- negotiations sure are complicated these days.