Wednesday, December 8, 2021

‘Impeachment: An American Crime Story’: Juanita Broaddrick Explained

Below are spoilers for Episode 9 of Impeachment: American Crime Story. Check out the full review of this series here.

Gennifer Flowers. Paula Jones. Kathleen Willie. Monica Lewinsky. Their names are forever linked to that of former President Clinton, whose extramarital sex and alleged misconduct dominated the news cycle of the 1990s.

But in this mixture, one name is sometimes forgotten: Juanita Broaddrick.

The penultimate episode of Impeachment, written by Sarah Burgess, mainly focuses on the grand jury testimony given by Lewinsky and Linda Tripp, but also introduces the woman who accused Clinton of raping her during his 1978 campaign for governor of Arkansas.

In the episode “The Grand Jury,” FBI agents visit Broaddrick’s home in an attempt to rectify her previous affidavit presented in Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit against the president, in which Clinton denies any wrongdoing. And she does it. But when independent attorney Kenneth Starr is informed that Broddrick has recanted and now claims that Clinton raped her, he is not convinced that it helps his case: “If he did not press on her, then this is not about his crime.”

“Except … for rape. He raped her, ”the stunned lawyer who helped write Starr’s report to Congress. Starr claims he strays from the mission of accusing Clinton of lying and abusing his power, arguing that the record cannot be cluttered with all of his past sexual experiences.

“Put it in a footnote,” Starr says.

Accusations

As she told Dateline in 1999, Broaddrick first met Clinton when he was Arkansas’s attorney general, when he was running for governor. At the age of 35, she volunteered for his campaign for three weeks when he stopped for a campaign at the nursing home where she worked.

“We were so excited,” she said in an interview for the Slow Burn podcast, which featured Clinton’s impeachment in season two. “That is, I saw this ad on TV. I thought he was going to be the best player in the world for Arkansas. “

Then-Governor Candidate Bill Clinton visits Van Buren Nursing Home, Arkansas, where Juanita Broaddrick (right) worked in 1978.

(Getty Images)

In an interview, Broaddrick said she reached out to Clinton hoping to hear his views on the lack of government funding for elderly care. Clinton suggested that she call the campaign office when she was in Little Rock. She did this and arranged a coffee meeting with Clinton at her hotel. According to Broaddrick, Clinton told her that there were too many reporters in the hotel lobby, so they should have coffee in her room. “I said yes right away – I mean, I wasn’t scared,” she said in an interview with Slow Burn. “I’ve never been alone in a hotel room with a man I didn’t know before, but I mean you’re talking about the Attorney General of Arkansas.”

When he arrived, he drew her attention to the old prison, which he wanted to renovate if he became governor. According to Broddrick, he then began kissing her. Broaddrick says she resisted his advances when he pushed her onto the hotel bed until he forced her himself.

“The last thing he told me was, ‘You better get some ice for this,'” she recalled in an interview with the Washington Post in 1999, referring to a lip bite during the alleged attack. ” on sunglasses and walked out the door. ”

Through a lawyer, Clinton denied her charges in 1999.

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Broaddrick did not file a crime report with the police. The accusation was passed on to journalists on the eve of the 1992 presidential election, but was never implemented. It was only in 1998, two decades later, that this accusation was made public.

During the impeachment trial, Broaddrick recanted her earlier denial of the rape charge in the Jones trial, saying she was initially afraid to issue a statement because she thought no one would believe her. She changed her story during interviews with Starr’s investigators and said the president attacked her.

As the Washington Post reported at the time, Starr turned her down because Broaddrick said Clinton never tried to influence her story. Her accusation was marked with an asterisk in their report, where she was called “Jane Doe # 5”.

In January 1999, Broaddrick recorded an interview for Dateline detailing her account, but as NBC delayed airing, she spoke to the Post and New York Times, reporting that the tabloids said that she and her then-husband were paying for their silence, she confirmed the decision to release the information. NBC eventually aired the Dateline interview on February 24, almost two weeks after the Senate acquitted Clinton in an impeachment trial.

Juanita today

Although she managed to overcome the Clinton crisis in early August, Broaddrick will eventually return to the spotlight as a far-right extremist and supporter of Donald Trump during Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. tweeted a statement that went viral: “I was 35 when Bill Clinton, the Attorney General of Arkansas, raped me. I’m 73 now … it will never go away. ”

Broaddrick hadn’t been on Trump’s train to begin with: “I didn’t know what to do with this man,” she recalled in a 2019 interview with The Atlantic. She then watched the May 2016 issue of Hannity, in which Trump called Broaddrick’s lawsuit against Clinton a rape. “I almost fell off my chair. That’s when I was firmly in his corner. It was personal. ”

A few months after his tweet, the Trump campaign invited Broaddrick to sit in the audience – along with Clinton’s accusers – Jones, Willie, and Katie Shelton – during the candidate’s second debate with Hillary Clinton in October 2016. According to the Washington Post, the original plan was for the four women to enter the debating room at the same time as the former president and meet with him in front of a live television audience. But the presidential debate committee stepped in minutes before the event aired.

Prior to the debate, Trump broadcast a press conference-style event featuring women on Facebook. During the event, Broaddrick downplayed Trump’s inappropriate comments about women in the leaked audio recording, stating, “Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don’t think there is any comparison. “

She continued to appear on Fox News, and in 2018 self-published a memoir, You Better Put Some Ice On This. After the #MeToo movement and a reevaluation of past scandals and women convicted by them, Broaddrick redefined. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg published an article titled “I Trust Juanita,” and Richard Cohen of the Washington Post wrote, “I thought Juanita Broaddrick was untrustworthy. I was wrong, ”instigates her listening to the Slow Burn podcast, in which she talks about her experience.

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