Hillary Clinton—Rape Defense Lawyer
February 25, 2008, 05:20 PM
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A blog item [reappropriate » Blog Archive » Did Clinton Defend a Child Rapist? ] alerted me to this Newsday story with a much more Hillary-friendly headline:, An early look at how Clinton deals with crisis, in which they describe Hillary's "blame the victim" strategy, typical of lawyers who defend rapists:

...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.

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.

Echoing legal experts, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson says the senator would have been committing professional misconduct if she hadn't given Taylor the best defense possible.

"As she wrote in her book, 'Living History' Senator Clinton was appointed by the Circuit Court of Washington County, Arkansas to represent Mr. Taylor in this matter," he said. "As an attorney and an officer of the court, she had an ethical and legal obligation to defend him to the fullest extent of the law. To act otherwise would have constituted a breach of her professional responsibilities."

Seen as an aggressive defense

Rodham, legal and child welfare experts say, did nothing unethical by attacking the child's credibility - although they consider her defense of Taylor to be aggressive.

"She was vigorously advocating for her client. What she did was appropriate," said Andrew Schepard, director of Hofstra Law School's Center for Children, Families and the Law. "He was lucky to have her as a lawyer ... In terms of what's good for the little girl? It would have been hell on the victim. But that wasn't Hillary's problem."

The victim, now 46, told Newsday that she was raped by Taylor, denied that she wanted any relationship with him and blamed him for contributing to three decades of severe depression and other personal problems.

"It's not true, I never sought out older men - I was raped," the woman said in an interview in the fall. Newsday is withholding her name as the victim of a sex crime.

With all the anguish she'd felt over the case in the years since, there was one thing she never realized - that the lawyer for the man she reviles was none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"I have to understand that she was representing Taylor," she said when interviewed in prison last fall. "I'm sure Hillary was just doing her job."[An Early Look At How Clinton Deals With Crisis, By Glenn Thrush, February 24, 2008]

What irks me, as usual, is that there's no mention of race. I have a feeling, from the story, that everyone involved is (a) the same race, (victim and criminal are distantly related) and (b) white, but race is the most important thing in any story like this, especially in the South, and it's the one detail Newsday should not have withheld. You would think that Newsday had never heard of the Scottsboro Boys, the Duke Rape Hoax, or To Kill a Mockingbird.

Hillary's book also leaves it out, but the Newsday reporters actually interviewed the victim and the accused, so they presumably were looking at them and could see what color they are.