Allegations of an unwanted sexual encounter
“One woman was alleged to have been asked by Clinton to give him oral sex in a car while he was the state attorney general (a claim she denied). A former Arkansas state employee said that during a presentation, then-Governor Clinton walked behind her and rubbed his pelvis up against her repeatedly. A woman identified as a third cousin of Clinton’s supposedly told her drug counselor during treatment in Arkansas that she was abused by Clinton when she was baby-sitting at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock.”
Hillary Clinton ‘laughed’ about a rape case
In 1975, Clinton — then Hillary Rodham — was a 27-year-old law instructor running a legal aid clinic in the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. After a 41-year-old factory worker was accused of raping a 12-year-old girl, he asked the judge to replace his male court-appoined attorney with a female one. The judge went through the list of a half-dozen women practicing law in the county and picked Clinton.
On the recording, Clinton describes it as a “terrible case” and “fascinating.” In her autobiography, “Living History,” she wrote, “I told [prosecutor] Mahlon [Gibson] I really don’t feel comfortable taking on such a client, but Mahlon gently reminded me that I couldn’t very well refuse the judge’s request.”
Ultimately, the prosecution’s case fell apart for a number of reasons, including investigators mishandling evidence of bloody underwear, so in a plea agreement the charges were reduced from first-degree rape to unlawful fondling of a minor under the age of 14. Until the Newsday report, the victim, Kathy Shelton, did not realize that Clinton had been the lawyer on the other side. She has since attacked Clinton for putting “me through hell.” (Follow this link for more on the Shelton case.)
In the recorded interview, Clinton is heard laughing or giggling four times when discussing the case with unusual candor; the reporter is also heard laughing, and sometimes Clinton is responding to him.
Here are the four instances:
- “Of course he [the defendant] claimed he didn’t [rape]. All this stuff. He took a lie detector test. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.” (Both Clinton and the reporter laugh.)
- “So I got an order to see the evidence and the prosecutor didn’t want me to see the evidence. I had to go to Maupin Cummings [the judge] and convince Maupin that yes indeed I had a right to see the evidence before it was presented. (Clinton laughs lightly between “evidence” and “before.”)
- “I handed it [a biography of her expert witness] to Mahlon Gibson, and I said, ‘Well this guy’s ready to come up from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice.’” (Clinton laughs, as does the reporter.)
- “So [Judge] Maupin had to, you know, under law he was supposed to determine whether the plea was factually supported. Maupin asked me to leave the room while he examined my client so that he could find out if it was factually supported. I said ‘Judge I can’t leave the room I’m his lawyer!’ he said ‘I know but I don’t want to talk about this in front of you.'” (Reporter says, “Oh God, really?” And they both laugh.)
Clinton’s recollections may strike some listeners as callous or cynical about the legal process, especially because she implies her client was guilty.
[Update: Reed in an interview published Oct. 12 denied that Clinton was laughing at Shelton. “As far as her laughing, God knows she was not laughing over the notion that this rapist was going to go free," said Reed. “I challenge any fair-minded reader of that transcript to make a case that Hillary Rodham was a coldblooded lawyer who was laughing over the plight of the 12-year-old rape victim."]
Hillary Clinton attacked sexual harassment victims
Hillary Clinton has long been a defender of her husband. Carl Bernstein’s 2008 book “A Woman in Charge” says that Hillary Clinton was involved in a pre-1992 effort to obtain signed statements from women denying they had affairs with Clinton, including Flowers. “There can be no question that Hillary was Bill’s fiercest defender in preventing his other women from causing trouble,” Bernstein wrote.
But her opponents have said that Hillary Clinton has gone too far in defending her husband, specifically on the “Today” show on Jan. 27, 1998, a week after the president was accused of having an affair with Lewinsky.
“I mean, look at the very people who are involved in this, they have popped up in other settings,” Clinton told Matt Lauer. “This is the great story here, for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it, is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.”
This is a famous statement by Hillary Clinton, which came after she referenced what she believed were false attacks by Republican foes: “Having seen so many of these accusations come and go, having seen people profit, you know, like Jerry Falwell, with videos, accusing my husband of committing murder, of drug running, seeing some of the things that are written and said about him, my attitude is, you know, we’ve been there before, we have seen this before, and I am just going to wait patiently until the truth comes out.”
This interview, by many accounts, was certainly pivotal to saving Bill Clinton’s presidency, as his wife forcefully backed him. But although some describe this as a political attack on Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones, by Hillary Clinton’s account, at the time her husband had not yet admitted the Lewinsky affair to her. That did not happen until Aug. 15, 1998, according to her memoir:
“He told me for the first time that the situation was much more serious than he had previously acknowledged. He now realized he would have to testify that there had been an inappropriate intimacy….. I could hardly breathe. Gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at him…I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Up until now I only thought that he’d been foolish for paying attention to the young woman and was convinced that he was being railroaded. I couldn’t believe he would do anything to endanger our marriage and our family. I was dumbfounded, heartbroken and outraged that I’d believed him at all.”
Moreover, at the time of the interview, Lewinsky also denied there had been a relationship. Her attorney had submitted an affidavit on Jan. 12 from her saying she “never had a sexual relationship with the president.” Lewinsky did not begin to testify before the independent prosecutor about the full extent of the relationship until July 27, six months after the “Today” interview. Lewinsky testified for 15 days, after which the president finally confessed to his wife.
When Clinton ran for the Senate, she was asked during a debate whether she misled Americans during the Lauer interview two years earlier. “Obviously I didn’t mislead anyone,” Clinton replied. “I didn’t know the truth. And there’s a great deal of pain associated with that and my husband has certainly acknowledged that and made it clear that he did mislead the country as well as his family.”
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