In the midst of her book tour, Hillary Clinton finally commented on her defense of an accused child rapist in 1975. The case, handled when Clinton was 27 years old, became an issue again last month when the conservative Washington Free Beacon released a tape of her bragging about her successful defense during a never-published interview with Esquire in the 1980s.
When asked about the case during an interview with the British parenting site Mumsnet, Clinton said she asked to be removed from the case entirely: "I asked to be relieved of that responsibility, but I was not, and I had a professional duty to represent my client to the best of my ability, which I did." She also noted that she was appointed to defend her client as part of a legal aid program associated with University of Arkansas's law school. (Previously, there wasn't a consensus as to whether she chose to take on the case.) She continued:
When you're a lawyer, you often don't have the choice as to who you will represent. By the very nature of criminal law, there will be those who you represent who you don't approve of. At least in our system, you have an obligation, and once I was appointed, I fulfilled that obligation.
Clinton's response clearly explains one part of the scandal: Her court-appointed defense of a child rapist. What Clinton hasn't commented on is the Esquire interview that the Free Beacon released, where she laughs and notes that her client's successful polygraph test "forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs." Clinton might have a harder time explaining why she laughed about defending a child rapist than she did explaining the role of a defense attorney in our legal system.
[Image via YouTube/Mumsnet]