According to The Daily Beast Hillary Clinton's first case as a lawyer involved the defense of someone accused of rape.

Is there any evidence (e. g. publicly available court proceedings) that can refute or confirm this statement?

Update 1: Here you can find Archived documents from the Washington County, Arkansas Circuit Court detail a 1975 case in which Hillary Rodham was the defense attorney for an alleged child rapist.. It would be interesting to know whether these documents are real.


There are additional hand written court documents uploaded by Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post that corroborate the court documents in the OP.

Hillary Rodham represented Thomas Alfred Taylor against the State of Arkansas's charges of rape in the first degree in May of 1975.

Charges were reduced to unlawful fondling of a minor child under age 14 in exchange for a guilty plea.


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Did she brag about getting the evidence excluded? She talked about it, because she was asked. Is that "bragging?"
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  • 1
    "destroyed the DNA evidence" When was the first time DNA evidence was used in a criminal case? This was 1975.
    – DavePhD
    Feb 21 '17 at 19:40
  • 2
    @DavePhD - That's how it was referred to in the links. If I call it something different than what is sourced, the history of pendantics here tells me I'd get called out for it - "that's not what your linked article says!". Whether or not they had the capability of testing it back then, it still IS DNA evidence - hair, blood, stained clothing - all of these items have been tested years after the fact in other cases, which is not possible now with it all destroyed. The DNA evidence was destroyed, whether they could test it as such back then, or not. Feb 21 '17 at 19:48
  • 2
    Please add some excerpt from the websites, it seems that a lot of what you say is not easily inferable from the evidence.
    – Sklivvz
    Feb 21 '17 at 21:13
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    @DavePhD - You seem to be acting as if the tapes of Clinton talking are the only record there is. If the lab accidentally destroyed the evidence, and Clinton doesn't say so on the tape, it didn't happen? I'm not sure what point you're trying to make there. If you read the links, which also look into the police records, court transcripts, newspaper reporting of the events, they talk about those events. For instance, the 15 year old did not "see Taylor rape the 12 year old." Feb 22 '17 at 14:26
  • 1
    @DavePhD - you realize that what Norma Chase is saying is that Clinton never sought to exclude any forensic evidence, right? The fact is, despite your claim that we are not talking about "DNA evidence" what was lost by the lab was DNA evidence. They cut out a stained portion of the bloody underwear to test for semen, and then lost the part they cut out for testing. Since it was never tested, there was no evidence to exclude there, apparently. Go back to my point #3 - "Clinton didn't have it excluded, it no longer existed" - your Norma Chase quote confirms what I said, she didn't exclude it.. Feb 22 '17 at 15:25

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