A newly unearthed audio recording reveals Hillary Clinton engaging in a candid discussion of a case involving a man she defended who had been accused of raping a 12 year-old girl in 1975.
The recording is of an interview with Clinton in which she tells an Arkansas journalist how she obtained a plea bargain for the accused rapist, despite her indication that she knew he was guilty.
Unearthed by The Washington Free Beacon, the conversation is part of a five hour interview that both Hillary and Bill Clinton gave to Arkansas journalist Roy Reed. The tapes from that interview are housed in the special collections department at the University of Arkansas library.
Clinton’s client was 41 year-old Thomas Alfred Taylor.
Described by Clinton in the interview as “one of these rootless folks,” Taylor was a friend of the family of a 12 year-old girl that he allegedly raped. Having just moved to Fayetteville, Ark. and still dating Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham, then 27 years-old, was appointed to represent Taylor, who had requested a female attorney.
“It was a really interesting case,” Clinton told Reed during the interview.
She told Reed how she was able to obtain a plea bargain for Taylor by taking advantage of a prosecutorial error and contacting a scientist who was known to give clients opinions that helped their cases.
“But you know what was sad about it was that the prosecutors had evidence, among which was his underwear,” Clinton told Reed, who has taught journalism at the University of Arkansas.
The Arkansas prosecutors cut out a square portion of Taylor’s underwear, which was covered with blood. The crime lab returned the underwear without the square section which held most of the evidence of the rape.
“I mean I plea bargained it down because it turned out they didn’t have any evidence,” said Clinton, explaining that she then got a court order to take the underwear to a forensics specialist in New York.
“The story through the grape vine was that if you could get [the New York investigator] interested in the case then you had the foremost expert in the world willing to testify, so maybe it came out the way you wanted it to come out,” said Clinton.
Clinton had the scientist, whose name she could not recall, look over the underwear. He determined that they contained only a slight trace of evidence saying that it “can’t prove anything.”
Clinton went back to the Arkansas prosecutor and pushed for a plea bargain.
“Well this guy’s ready to come from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice,” said a laughing Clinton on the tape describing her conversation with the Arkansas prosecutor.
When asked by Reed about the outcome of the case, Clinton said, nonchalantly, “Oh he plea bargained. Got him off with time served in the county jail, he’d been in the county jail about two months.”
In the interview, Clinton indicated that she was certain Taylor was guilty.
“He took a lie detector test!” said Clinton. “I had him take a polygraph test, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.”
Clinton’s rendition of the case in the 1980s interview contains a few more details compared to her 2003 memoir “Living History.”
In the book she does not mention Taylor by name, calling him an “alleged rapist” and saying that she learned upon meeting him that he was “an uneducated ‘chicken catcher.’”
“I conducted a thorough investigation and obtained expert testimony from an eminent scientist from New York, who cast doubt on the evidentiary value of the blood and semen the prosecutor claimed proved the defendant’s guilt in the rape,” she wrote.
Clinton did not mention in the book what she had told Reed that it was common knowledge that the New York scientist would issue favorable opinions to clients.
“Because of that testimony, I negotiated with the prosecutor for the defendant to plead guilty to sexual abuse,” wrote Clinton.
She also did not mention that Taylor was released from jail immediately following the plea bargain.
Clinton’s actions in the Taylor case have been called into question before.
A 2008 Newsday expose of the case obtained court documents showing that Clinton attacked the 12 year-old girl’s character by calling into question her motives.
“However, that account leaves out a significant aspect of her defense strategy — attempting to impugn the credibility of the victim, according to a Newsday examination of court and investigative files and interviews with witnesses, law enforcement officials and the victim,” the Newsday article said.
“Rodham, records show, questioned the sixth grader’s honesty and claimed she had made false accusations in the past. She implied that the girl often fantasized and sought out ‘older men’ like Taylor, according to a July 1975 affidavit signed ‘Hillary D. Rodham’ in compact cursive.”
Clinton’s actions during that case and the newly discovered interview can be viewed as ironic given Clinton’s stance as an advocate of women. In “Living History” Clinton wrote that following the Taylor case, she and a friend opened up a rape crisis hotline in Fayetteville. She did not mention that in the interview with Reed.
The Free Beacon tracked down the victim of the rape. She expressed hostility towards Clinton for getting her rapist off the hook, blaming the attack for a troubled life she has led — which includes prison time for check forgery.