On Sunday, the conservative Washington Free Beacon released a taped interview of likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton bragging about her successful defense of an accused rapist in 1975. Today, the Daily Beast published an interview with the victim in that case. "Hillary Clinton took me through hell," she says.
Conservatives have been hammering Clinton all week about the Free Beacon tape, which they say proves she's not the advocate for girls and women she claims to be. During the interview, Clinton talks about defending then 41-year-old Thomas Alfred Taylor for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl in Arkansas. She got him to plead to "unlawfully fondling someone under 14," and he spent only a year in jail. During the interview, she laughs:
[Of] course he claimed that he didn't [rape her] and all this stuff. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed — which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.
(The taped interview was conducted in the mid-80s for an Esquire story that never ran.)
The victim in the case, who wishes to remain anonymous, had this to say about the tape:
I would say [to Clinton], 'You took a case of mine in '75, you lied on me … I realize the truth now, the heart of what you've done to me. And you are supposed to be for women? You call that [being] for women, what you done to me? And I hear you on tape laughing.
In addition to Clinton's laughter on the tape, the victim said she was upset about a 1975 affidavit Clinton wrote on behalf of Taylor. In the affidavit, Clinton accused the victim of being "emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing." She also wrote, "I have ... been informed that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body."
The victim disputes these claims and maintains that justice was not served. "I think [Clinton] wants to be a role model being who she is, to look good, but I don't think she's a role model at all," she says. "If she had have been, she would have helped me at the time, being a 12-year-old girl who was raped ... She did that to look good and she told lies on that. How many other lies has she told to get where she's at today? If she becomes president, is she gonna be telling the world the truth? No. She's going to be telling lies out there, what the world wants to hear."
The victim's remarks play into what conservatives would like the public to think about Clinton — that she's a fraudulent and ruthless self-promoter who lacks compassion.
Whether or not you believe Clinton to be a dedicated fighter for women and girls, the way she talked about the case in the interview is jarring. The victim is obviously still disturbed by the whole ordeal, though she says she doesn't remember meeting Clinton in the blur of the proceedings.
Clinton's rep briefly commented during the 2008 presidential campaign about the case, saying that Clinton "had an ethical and legal obligation to defend [Taylor] to the fullest extent of the law. To act otherwise would have constituted a breach of her professional responsibilities."
[Image via AP]