Newly discovered audio recordings of Hillary Clinton from the early 1980s include the former first lady’s frank and detailed assessment of the most significant criminal case of her legal career: defending a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl.
In 1975, the same year she married Bill, Hillary Clinton agreed to serve as the court-appointed attorney for Thomas Alfred Taylor, a 41-year-old accused of raping the child after luring her into a car.
The recordings, which date from 1983-1987 and have never before been reported, include Clinton’s suggestion that she knew Taylor was guilty at the time. She says she used a legal technicality to plead her client, who faced 30 years to life in prison, down to a lesser charge. The recording and transcript, along with court documents pertaining to the case, are embedded below.
The full story of the Taylor defense calls into question Clinton’s narrative of her early years as a devoted women and children’s advocate in Arkansas—a narrative the 2016 presidential frontrunner continues to promote on her current book tour.
Her comments on the rape trial are part of more than five hours of unpublished interviews conducted by Arkansas reporter Roy Reed with then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and his wife in the mid-1980s.
The interviews, archived at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, were intended for an Esquire magazine profile that was never published, and offer a rare personal glimpse of the couple during a pivotal moment in their political careers.