In the mid-1980’s, Hillary Clinton is interviewed by journalist Roy Reed about her defense of child rapist Thomas Alfred Taylor. This tape is available in the Special Collections Department of the University of Arkansas Libraries and were part of an interview that was intended for an Esquire magazine profile that was never published.
“The prosecutor [Mahlon Gibson] called me a few years ago, he said he had a guy who had been accused of rape, and the guy wanted a woman lawyer,” said Clinton in the interview. “Would I do it as a favor for him?”
“It was a fascinating case, it was a very interesting case,” Clinton says in the recording. “This guy was accused of raping a 12-year-old. Course he claimed that he didn’t, and all this stuff”
“I had him take a polygraph, which he passed – which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs,” she added with a laugh.
“The crime lab took the pair of underpants, neatly cut out the part that they were gonna test, tested it, came back with the result of what kind of blood it was what was mixed in with it – then sent the pants back with the hole in it to evidence,” said Clinton. “Of course the crime lab had thrown away the piece they had cut out.”
“The story through the grape vine was that if you could get [this investigator] interested in the case then you had the foremost expert in the world willing to testify, so maybe it came out the way you wanted it to come out,” she said.
“I handed it to Gibson, and I said, ‘Well this guy’s ready to come up from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice,’” said Clinton, breaking into laughter.
“So we were gonna plea bargain,” she continued.
“I said, ‘Judge I can’t leave the room, I’m his lawyer,’” said Clinton, laughing. “He said, ‘I know but I don’t want to talk about this in front of you.’”
“So that was Maupin [Cummings], we had a lot of fun with Maupin,” Clinton added.
“Oh, he plea bargained. Got him off with time served in the county jail, he’d been in the county jail for about two months,” said Clinton.
Taylor, who pleaded to unlawful fondling of a child, was sentenced to one year in prison, with two months reduced for time served. He died in 1992.
“You know, what was sad about it,” Clinton told Reed, “was that the prosecutor had evidence, among which was [Taylor’s] underwear, which was bloody.”
Clinton was suspended from the Arkansas bar in March of 2002 for failing to keep up with continuing legal education requirements, according to Arkansas judicial records.