Hillary Clinton’s dogged defense of an accused child rapist four decades ago continues to dog her public appearances — even thousands of miles from American shores.
And her story has changed in two ways: she now claims she tried to get out of defending a man she clearly thought was guilty; and she knows enough not to laugh about it anymore.
In a video interview posted Friday on Mumsnet, an online forum in the United Kingdom, Clinton repeated her story that she had been appointed to the case of Thomas Alfred Taylor, an Arkansas man accused of raping a drunk 12-year-old girl in 1975, but said for the first time that she had tried not to accept the job, according to the Washington Free Beacon, which first broke the story in June.
“Clinton had, until this weekend, never previously suggested that she actively sought to be removed as counsel,” the Free Beacon reported.
In the Mumsnet interview, Clinton said defense lawyers under the U.S. system are called upon to represent clients “that you don’t approve of,” but maintained she performed her professional obligations.
In Taylor’s case, that meant using the state’s mishandling of evidence to get her client off from a charge that could have meant a 30 years in a state prison with what amounted to a 10-month sentence in the county jail.
“I was appointed by the local judge to represent a criminal defendant accused of rape,” Clinton told Mumsnet, using the stilted language of a professional lawyer – or the careful word selection of an inveterate political campaigner.
“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,” Clinton said. “He later pled guilty to a lesser included offense.”
The legalistic language – “lesser included offense ” – is a far cry from the evident amusement in Clinton’s voice when she described the case in a taped interview with a reporter for a profile piece that was never published.
In that interview, Clinton jokes about how the client she clearly believed to have committed the crime of raping a child managed to pass a lie-detector test, and describes with evident satisfaction how she torpedoed the case because of the way the state mishandled crucial evidence involving the victim’s blood and her client’s underwear.
If, as she told Mumsnet, Clinton truly tried to avoid defending a man she clearly thought was guilty of child rape, why didn’t she mention during that interview or in her memoir, “Living History,” where she discusses the case at length?
There’s no need to ask why she’s not laughing about it anymore.
Check out Clinton’s Mumsnet interview here. The child rape case segment starts about the 8:45 mark.
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