In 1975, a young lawyer named Hillary Rodham aggressively defended a hard-drinking, indigent client against the charge that he had raped a 12-year-old girl.
Now, a tape unearthed by the Washington Free Beacon shows that Clinton likely thought her client was guilty as she reminisced about how she got him off the hook.
“It was a fascinating case, it was a very interesting case,” Clinton says on the tape, recorded years later for a never-published Esquire profile. “This guy was accused of raping a 12-year-old. Course he claimed that he didn’t, and all this stuff.”
She laughs as she tells the interviewer she didn't trust her client.
“I had him take a polygraph, which he passed – which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs,” she chortles.
Clinton fired off 19 subpoenas, affidavits and motions in defense of Thomas Alfred Taylor during the first few months of the case and particularly worked to attack the credibility of the 12-year-old girl who said Taylor had raped her.
"Rodham, records show, questioned the sixth-grader’s honesty and claimed she had made false accusations in the past," Newsday reported in 2008. "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."
On the tape, Clinton says she destroyed the prosecution on a technicality: The forensics lab had mishandled a key piece of evidence — a bloodied pair of Taylor's underwear — and Clinton went to great lengths to show that the underpants had been damaged and couldn't be used as evidence.
"Oh [Taylor] plea-bargained," Clinton said. "Got him off with time served in the county jail."
Clinton was honored by the Children Defense Fund in September 2013 for being "a tireless voice for children."
This story has been updated.
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