Ms. Shelton, whom Ms. Jackson represents, was 12 years old in 1975 when she was brutally raped by Thomas Taylor.
Mr. Taylor’s defense counsel was Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Below, read this interview of Jackson by John L. Work, a former investigator with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office and a retired Colorado law enforcement officer.
Work: Thank you so much for joining me, Candice. You’re an attorney, an author, and an advocate. One of your clients is Kathy Shelton, who as a 12-year-old child was the victim of a brutal rape in 1975.
During the pre-trial proceedings against the man who was eventually arrested and charged with that crime, Thomas Taylor, Ms. Shelton encountered Mr. Taylor’s defense counsel, now known to us as Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Please tell my readers how you came to represent Kathy Shelton as an attorney and advocate.
Jackson: During the process of writing my book Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine back in 2005, I became close friends with women like Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey.
Based on my advocacy on their behalf over the years, when Kathy began being contacted by more and more press this year, she reached out to me feeling the need for an attorney to guide and advise her through this overwhelming process.
I was glad to get to know Kathy and represent her both as a lawyer and spokesperson. My foundation, Their Lives Foundation, fits this case like a glove, as my primary mission is to expose abuse of power (particularly when committed by powerful women) and give a voice to victims of power abuse.
Hillary Clinton’s mistreatment of Kathy Shelton is a stark illustration of women victimizing other women out of motives of ambition and ego, but there are hundreds of similar, lower-profile examples of abuse of power out there needing to be exposed. I also plan to continue to investigate and re-examine Kathy’s rape case from a legal and evidentiary angle so that the historical record is more complete with respect to how one of America’s most powerful female leaders chose to conduct herself in this particular situation, with respect to this particular victim.
This investigation will be important regardless of the results of this presidential election. Because the case is so cold, statutes of limitations likely bar any private action on Kathy’s behalf, even if evidence of wrongdoing crossing the line into civil or criminal misconduct were discovered; however, the court of public opinion and the history books warrant turning over every stone to reveal the facts of Kathy’s rape case.
Work: Central to Ms. Shelton’s grievance against Ms. Clinton is the affidavit in support of a pre-trial mandatory psychiatric evaluation, which Ms. Clinton filed with the Court.
In that affidavit, Ms. Clinton made some allegations which were destructive, to say the least, to your client’s character and reputation. Ms. Clinton’s affidavit attacked your client’s veracity, as well as her mental and emotional competence to testify.
The affidavit was devoid of named sources for the accusations. We have no idea who provided Ms. Clinton the information she used and represented as facts to support her motion for a Court-ordered psychiatric examination, because she didn’t include the names of those persons in her affidavit.
Will you please comment on the specific accusations Ms. Clinton made against your client and the effects they produced on Kathy Shelton, both in the short and long terms?
Jackson: What Ms. Clinton (then Ms. Rodham) said about Kathy Shelton in a court affidavit, under oath, was for the most part made up out of whole cloth.
There’s no reason to believe that Ms. Clinton had any credible source or factual basis for the outrageous, insulting, hurtful claims she made in that affidavit.
For instance, Ms. Clinton wrote that Kathy was emotionally unstable, that Kathy was prone to exaggeration, that Kathy had falsely accused people of touching her in the past, that Kathy came from a “disorganized family” (i.e., raised by a single mother) and therefore was prone to fantasize about older men and romanticize a sexual encounter.
These assertions and insinuations were probably typical blame-the-victim tactics of bygone eras, but in the mid-1970s when feminism had come into its own (particularly the anti-rape culture) and even our behemoth of a legal system was slowly catching up to standards of gender equality (e.g., rape shield laws began to be enacted state by state in 1974), one might expect a politically aware feminist and anti-rape advocate like Hillary Rodham to refuse to engage in blame-the-victim tactics — especially against a child victim.
The overall impact on Kathy as a young girl was to leave her feeling completely deprived of justice for the heinous crime committed against her, and leaving her feeling like it was somehow her fault.
I’d like to add, too, that this court affidavit was not the only place where Ms. Clinton has chosen to outright lie about Kathy and about this case.
Hillary’s two previous explanations of how she took the case are at odds with each other. In her audiotaped interview in the 1980s, she told journalist Roy Reed that the prosecutor (Mahlon Gibson) called her and said he had a defendant accused of rape and the guy “wanted a woman lawyer and would I do it as a favor to him.”
In her book Living History, she states that Mahlon Gibson called to tell her that an indigent prisoner accused of raping a twelve-year-old girl wanted a woman lawyer and that Gibson had recommended that the judge appoint Hillary. She states that she told Gibson she didn’t feel comfortable taking on such a client, but that Gibson “gently reminded me that I couldn’t very well refuse the judge’s request.” More recently, Hillary and her spokespeople have insisted that she was “court appointed,” implying that she was required to accept the case.
Significant questions exist as to all three of Hillary’s explanations.
First, if Hillary’s first version is true and the prosecutor asked Hillary to accept the case as a favor to him (the prosecutor), that implies that Hillary was never under any judicial order or even direct pressure to take the case.
Second, if Hillary’s second version is true, then even if the prosecutor had recommended that the judge “appoint” her, any attorney knows that while it may feel awkward to annoy a judge by refusing the appointment, she was perfectly free to refuse the appointment because she was not a public defender at the time (i.e., it was not in her job description to accept court appointed cases).
Additionally, the judge in question, Judge Maupin Cummings, was the criminal court judge in the county, and Hillary was not doing criminal work at the time.
Therefore, refusing the judge’s request or appointment — made at the recommendation of the prosecutor — would not have unduly pressured Hillary by placing her in fear of annoying a judge before whom she regularly appeared and tried cases.
In either scenario, the bottom line is that whether or not Hillary was “court-appointed” as a favor to the prosecutor or at the request of the judge, it was fully her decision to accept the case knowing the savagely beaten and raped victim was a young girl.
Having been a young, ambitious attorney myself, I can sincerely imagine a 27-year-old Hillary Rodham feeling eager for a challenge, wanting to prove herself in court by taking on a dramatic case of a kind she’d never handled before.
She admits this was her first (and maybe only) felony criminal case, and it’s plausible that she volunteered in order to notch her belt with a win — but at the expense of a young girl who felt victimized by the legal process as much as by the rape itself.
When an attorney agrees to defend a client — even a guilty client — she still has complete control over choosing to employ defense strategies that qualify as unethical, immoral, or illegal.
The anti-feminist, blame-the-rape-victim tactics Clinton chose to employ against Kathy Shelton were not, at that time in Arkansas, illegal (though they are now outlawed under rape shield laws), but such tactics were certainly recognized by feminists and fair-minded jurists as unethical and immoral.
There were plenty of avenues for zealous representation of this criminal defendant without attacking the young victim.
Nearly every detail Hillary chooses to recount in her book and in those audio interview tapes is factually wrong.
For example, in her book she says the defendant was a “distant relative” of Kathy — a fabrication.
Also in her book she says that the defendant worked as an “uneducated chicken catcher” collecting chickens from the large warehouse farms for one of the local processing plants, and in the audio interview she refers to the defendant as “one of these rootless folks” who ended up in Springdale.
She spun such a folksy tale that I can’t help but wonder if she’s confusing this defendant, Thomas Alfred Taylor, with some other client she had, because none of those details are true, even though her two accounts were given many years apart.
A court affidavit signed by defendant Thomas’ actual employer (submitted by Hillary as the defendant’s attorney) clearly states that Thomas worked for the Northwest Arkansas Paper Company, was a “fine” and “conscientious” employee, and had come to this job highly recommended by previous employers. That is not the picture of a rootless, uneducated drifter.
To add more insult to Kathy and her mother, in her book Hillary describes Kathy as living “on the other side of the tracks in Springdale,” insinuating that Kathy was low-class.
Work: The investigating police or sheriff’s deputies apparently gathered only one piece of forensic evidence, which was the defendant’s stained underwear. Common police procedure is to submit such evidence to a law enforcement crime lab for forensic analysis. According to our available information, a lab in and for the State of Arkansas identified bodily fluids from both the victim and from Mr. Taylor on an excised piece of that underclothing. Have you had an opportunity to examine any of the police or crime lab reports that were written about this case in 1975?
Jackson: We have attempted to obtain police and crime lab records and have been informed that the records and physical evidence have all been destroyed or lost over the years.
We are actively tracking down witnesses who may have more information about the chain of custody of this physical evidence and the handling of that evidence by Hillary Clinton.
Work: It is common for defense teams to take custody of evidence from the police for an independent examination on behalf of the defendant. There are two major issues here. One issue is the condition of the underwear after the Arkansas crime lab completed its examination.
During a recorded interview, Ms. Clinton claimed that the Arkansas lab cut a piece of cloth from the underwear for testing and then somehow threw away or destroyed the excised piece of inculpatory material. My eyebrows went up when I heard that one. Any thoughts?
Jackson: Based on Hillary’s other descriptions of this case that are proved to be outright falsehoods, I place almost zero confidence in her self-interested description of how and why the critical physical evidence in this case went missing.
She claims in her audio interview that it was the state criminal lab that “lost” the crucial evidence. In her book, she doesn’t mention any evidence being lost but rather says that her ‘eminent’ expert from New York “cast doubt on the evidentiary value of the blood and semen” relied on by the prosecutor. So her own accounts are inconsistent with each other.
And her overall proven lies in this case tell me that we can’t count on her description of what happened to the evidence — we need to continue finding the witnesses and documents that can confirm what actually happened.
Given the numerous instances of Hillary Clinton’s demonstrated willingness to break laws and short-cut systems, the possibility certainly exists that she had direct involvement with ensuring that the physical evidence was lost or untestable.
Work: During your recent interview with Sean Hannity you told us that the defense team then took custody of the defendant’s underwear, from which the piece had been cut during the Arkansas crime lab examination – and that prior to sending the underwear to wherever they sent it, someone on Ms. Clinton’s defense team cut all of the remaining stains from the underwear.
When the purported unnamed forensic expert for the defense received the underwear, he or she is alleged to have been prepared to testify during trial that there was no evidence to be found on the material.
Ms. Clinton claimed during a recorded interview that this pretty well blew up the prosecution’s case and led to the plea deal to a less serious charge for Mr. Taylor.
Will you tell my readers how you came to your conclusion that it was Hillary Clinton, or someone else on the defense team, who cut all of the remaining evidence from the underwear prior to sending it out for the independent examination?
Jackson: This is one of the areas of this case that has yet to be fully investigated and exposed; at the present time, I can only disclose that my information has come from a source that so far has been unwilling to go on the record.
Enough questions have been raised, however, to justify suspicion that Hillary Clinton indeed took deliberate action to ensure that the blood and semen samples present on the defendant’s underwear disappeared by the time she showed the sample to her own hired-gun expert.
Work: The second issue with the underwear evidence is this. Every piece of evidence the police gather during an investigation generates a chain of custody report. Anyone who takes the evidence in hand must sign the chain of custody report, and by doing so becomes a witness subject to subpoena for subsequent sworn testimony.
During her recorded interview in the mid-1980s Ms. Clinton claimed that she personally took custody of the evidence and transported it out of state to a Nobel Prize winner’s lab in Brooklyn — which she described as a basement filled with detective magazines.
She could not recall the name of the very prominent scientist to whom she claims to have personally submitted the underwear. This unnamed expert allegedly became the basis for breaking down the prosecution’s case against Mr. Taylor.
Of my twenty-plus years in the criminal justice arena, both as a cop and as a defense investigator, I never met an attorney on either side of a case who would have personally taken custody of a piece of evidence. Doing so would put the lawyer on the witness list, subject to examination by the opposing counsel.
Did you have an opportunity to review the evidentiary chain of custody reports in your client’s rape case?
If so, what did you find regarding who on the defense team actually received the underwear from the police authorities — and the condition of the evidence when it was handed over to the defense team?
Jackson: Your reaction based on your experience is the same as mine, and the questions you raise are the right ones to ask.
We are working diligently to uncover new witnesses and possibly documents that can shed light on the chain of custody issues in this case, but the official police and prosecutor records have ostensibly been “lost.”
I actually do not doubt that Hillary herself personally took the evidence to New York and met with an expert of some kind; however, I have serious doubts as to whether she actually obtained a “special court order” to do this as she claims in the audio interviews, because recently-discovered court dockets for this case make zero reference to any motion or order granting any motion relating to the defense attorney taking the physical evidence out-of-state.
Work: Beyond that, was there any record of how the evidence was sent or taken to the Nobel Prize winner’s lab and do we have his or her report to examine?
Jackson: We have determined with near-certainty that the New York-based blood expert to whom Hillary showed the physical evidence was scientist Alexander Wiener, and while he was not, as Hillary claims, a Nobel Prize winner, he did receive prestigious awards early in his career for his collaboration in discovering the Rh factor in human blood. Many unanswered questions remain, however, as to whether Dr. Wiener actually gave Hillary a formal opinion, prepared any report, or was in fact “prepared to testify” as Hillary claims.
Hillary never actually says anything about hiring him to prepare a report; she makes it sound like she simply met with the expert in New York, heard him tell her after a visual inspection of the underwear that there was not enough sample of blood or semen remaining on the underwear to perform any conclusive testing, and simply returned to Arkansas and informed the court that “I have this guy ready to come in from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice” (meaning, that she told the judge and the prosecutor what the expert would say, and that was enough to pressure the prosecutor to offer a plea to a minor charge).
By the way, on the audio tape where she says that, she’s laughing the whole time, apparently amused at the fact that she was getting a child rapist off and putting him back on the streets.
Work: Following that, was there any notation of the condition of the evidence when the defense team returned it to the police authorities?
Jackson: There’s not even any notation in the court documents available to us so far that says the evidence was returned at all! These are the irregularities that raise so many serious questions about how Hillary Clinton chose to conduct herself in the case.
Work: This case was filed in 1975. That is forty-one years ago. Witnesses may have grown old or died. Did you have an opportunity to interview or speak with any of the police officers or crime lab experts who were involved in the case?
Jackson: We are still in the process of contacting all persons who had any involvement with this case. The number of years that have passed has certainly been a stumbling block to this investigation, but we have contacted certain people with first-hand information and plan to contact more witnesses in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Work: The online court record is incomplete. There are no transcripts or records of hearings included with the online file. Did Kathy Shelton actually take the witness stand during any pre-trial proceedings? Was there a probable cause or preliminary hearing conducted, which should have included at least the investigating detective in charge of the case? If so, did you have the opportunity to review any existing transcripts which would have been done by a court reporter?
Jackson: Kathy does not recall taking the stand, which is not surprising since the case didn’t get to trial, and it would be unusual for the crime victim to be a witness for a preliminary hearing. However, Kathy has very definite memories of facing Hillary personally on at least two or three occasions during the pretrial proceedings.
The first was during a line-up of suspects. The next was at least one meeting where Hillary and a few other people were present and Hillary and others asked her questions. I think that was a formal witness interview, probably part of the discovery process the defense was entitled to.
Kathy remembers feeling like Hillary was “rude” and “cold” and Kathy felt “like she doesn’t like me.”
Work: The online court file includes Ms. Clinton’s affidavit in support of a Court-ordered psychiatric examination of your client, but no record is within the online file indicating that the request for the examination was granted by the Court — or that the examination was performed.
Did Kathy Shelton actually undergo that psychiatric examination and did you have an opportunity to examine the psychiatrist’s report?
Jackson: We do not believe that the defense exam was actually performed, likely to due to the plea bargain eventually being reached without the need to go to trial.
Work: Having reviewed the available court file as it exists online, it seemed to me that the prosecution cut and ran pretty quickly to a plea deal, given the exceptional brutality of this crime.
What about medical reports and medical witnesses who could have testified to Ms. Shelton’s injuries and her emotional condition following the rape? Did you have an opportunity to review any of that material or to speak with the medical personnel, and if so, are you at liberty to share any of that information with my readers?
Jackson: All hospital and medical records supposedly have been lost or destroyed, and we are exploring every avenue to see if some of the records exist in some form or another. The extent of Kathy’s physical injuries (not to mention emotional and psychological trauma) inflicted by this defendant, Thomas Alfred Taylor, truly amounts to one of the most violent rape and beatings I have ever examined.
He nearly murdered Kathy, and her life was saved only because as the perpetrators were coming back to finish her off, she managed to crawl to the porch of a nearby house and the woman in the house turned on the porch light, scared away the criminals, and the woman got the suspects’ license plate number (and of course called for medical help for Kathy).
The prosecutor and judge certainly seem to have taken quite a casual, cavalier attitude toward letting this criminal defendant off lightly given the nature of the crime and the age of the victim.
Work: Providing a vehement defense for accused clients is of course incumbent on all defense attorneys. During my career in criminal justice I met many attorneys who accomplished that task both ethically and with great skill, without a full-scale assault on the victims’ characters and reputations. You alluded to the same idea during your interview with Sean Hannity. Do you have any additional opinions you’d like to share with my readers on how Ms. Clinton proceeded in representing Mr. Taylor?
Jackson: As the final trial date approached, the defendant reached a plea bargain with the prosecutor, approved by the judge, sentencing him to one year in jail plus four years’ probation, with credit for time served (about two months).
A handwritten notation on the final judgment states that the judge had no objection to the defendant being released during the day to go to work, so apparently this convicted rapist didn’t even truly serve his year in jail; rather, according to documentation I’ve uncovered, he was allowed to go to work each day and he worked at a paper plant that was located mere minutes (0.3 miles!) from where Kathy Shelton lived.
Kathy lived in daily fear of ever running into him again.
Thankfully, she doesn’t recall ever seeing him again, but she lived in fear of that possibility. Hillary Clinton’s brazen lies about Kathy, forcing her to take a lie-detector test, demanding a psychiatric examination based on nothing but lies, left Kathy feeling like she was the one on trial, like she was one who shouldn’t be believed, and like what happened to her was something she was “asking for.”
It’s no wonder that when people ask Kathy Shelton what she wants people to know from her story, she says, “I want people to know that when you hear Hillary talk about how she’s for women and children, she put me through hell as a young girl, and she didn’t have to act like that.”