Rightwing websites are trying hard to create a mountain of shame for Hillary Clinton in her representation of an accused rapist as a court-appointed lawyer in a 1975 case in Fayetteville. It’s not a new story, but the recent unearthing in the UA archives of an interview she gave Roy Reed about the case has reopened the subject.
The national media has picked up some of the right-wing reporting, but has declined to fully re-examine the case. There have been some significant omissions, as Michael Cook points out in a piece in Talk Business.
She was appointed by a circuit judge to the case. The accused rapist wanted a woman lawyer, of which there were only a handful in Washington County at the time. And, then-Prosecutor Mahlon Gibson tells Cook, Clinton didn’t want the case because she didn’t feel comfortable representing the accused. Unable to get off the case, she did what lawyers are ethically bound to do — represent the accused to the best of her ability and raise doubt about the evidence. The result was a light sentence. As Gibson notes, Clinton went on to establish a rape hotline in Washington County.
Callous bitch insensitive to a 12-year-old victim? Able lawyer doing her job and with a lengthy record of support for women? You’d have to be blindly partisan to adopt the first position without qualification.
Though some mainstream press has picked up the reporting begun by the rightwing Washington Free Beacon, including at least one interview with the now 51-year-old victim (she told an interviewer in 2008 that Clinton was just doing her job; now she’s critical), nobody until Cook was interested in the prosecutor. He’s readily available. Why didn’t anyone call? Not news? Didn’t fit the narrative? Anyway, Michael Cook called.