It is correct that she represented a rapist. The characterization how she got on that case, what she did, and what she was saying on tape is completely and intentionally wrong, though.
- Clinton was assigned by the judge to defend after the indigent defendant stated the wish for a female defense attorney. Clinton was recommended by the prosecutor, and then tried to beg off the case, which was not allowed.
- Since she was the defense attorney, it was her job to question evidence and mount a vigorous defense. Acting as if she did something wrong in getting evidence excluded is completely backwards. It would have been immoral and unethical for her NOT to get evidence excluded if there was an issue with it.
- The police/forensics laboratory accidentally destroyed the DNA evidence that linked the defendant to the case. Clinton didn't have it "excluded," it no longer existed. What court in the free world would allow evidence that had been destroyed to be included in a criminal trial?
Investigators mishandled evidence of Taylor's bloody underwear, cutting out the stain that contained semen for testing, and then losing it.
Washtington Post: Fact Check About Hillary Clinton and the Kathy Shelton Rape Case
- Did Clinton believe the person committed the crime? Not sure why that's relevant. She wasn't the judge. She wasn't on the jury. She was the defending attorney, and was legally and ethically obligated to give him the best defense she was capable of.
- Did she brag about getting the evidence excluded? She talked about it, because she was asked. Is that "bragging?"
- Did Clinton laugh in an interview? Yes, she laughed, but it was more an ironic laugh of disbelief as she detailed about how everything that SHOULD have worked against the defendant wound up turning around and working in his favor. The DNA evidence getting destroyed by the lab. She had her client take a polygraph, and he passed it. She laughed as she recounted that, while saying that this caused her to question the credibility of polygraph tests, in general.
- Does any of that matter? She didn't get her client acquitted, he pled guilty to a lesser crime, which is how most cases are handled.
- Doesn't the lesser crime conviction show she did him a great service? Again, she was supposed to serve to the best of her ability, but, no. The mother of the victim was aggressively pushing for a plea deal, to close the books on the incident and to avoid them having to go through a trial.
If you want to look at the most narrow of answers, the answer is "yes." If you are looking to confirm whether the characterizations of this case are in any way accurate. Then I've laid out some more details for you.
Snopes article about the claims
GWU's Jonathan Turley's legal blog about the claims