1975- Hillary Rodham’s First Litigation Case

In 1975, at age 12, Kathy Shelton is raped by two men in Arkansas. One of the men accused of raping her was 41-year-old defendant Thomas Alfred Taylor whose court-appointed criminal defense lawyer was 27-year-old Hillary Rodham, in her first-time appearance as courtroom litigator.

Hillary Rodham stated in an affidavit that she had received information that Shelton was emotionally unstable and had a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing.

“I have been informed that the complainant is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and to engage in fantasizing.”

Moreover, in this same affidavit, Hillary Rodham stated:

“I have also been told by an expert in child psychology that children in early adolescence tend to exaggerate or romanticize sexual experiences and that adolescents with disorganized families, such as the complainant, are even more prone to such behavior.”

The prosecutors had evidence, among which was the defendant’s underwear, which was bloody. The crime lab took the pair of underpants, tested it and came back with the result of what kind of blood it was, what was mixed in with it. Hillary Rodham fought so that critical items of evidence, such as the semen and blood samples found in the defendant’s underwear could not be used as evidence at the trial, and she won a plea deal for Taylor, securing a significantly reduced charge and sentence. Taylor, who pleaded to unlawful fondling of a child, was sentenced to one year in prison, with two months reduced for time served.

After the case, Hillary admitted that she personally believed her client was guilty of the rape charge, and that she was just doing her job. Later, a leaked audio recording of Hillary is released to the public, in which she recounts the incident and is heard laughing at the situation. After the audio was leaked, she explained she was not laughing at Kathy Shelton herself, she was laughing about the fact she got her client off even though she believed him to be guilty.