Juanita Broaddrick is an American former nursing home administrator from Arkansas. She alleged in 1998 that United States President Bill Clinton had raped her two decades earlier. Clinton's attorney denied the allegations on his client's behalf.
Allegations against Bill Clinton
In 1997, Broaddrick had filed an affidavit with Paula Jones' lawyers that stated: "During the 1992 Presidential campaign there were unfounded rumors and stories circulated that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late seventies... These allegations are untrue ...." In November 1998, Broaddrick admitted that she lied under oath in an interview with Dateline NBC.
In an interview by Dorothy Rabinowitz for the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Broaddrick claimed that Clinton had told her not to worry about pregnancy, because childhood mumps had rendered him sterile. The alleged incident occurred two years before Clinton's daughter with his wife Hillary Rodham was born. Clinton made no mention of Broaddrick or the alleged incident in his 2004 memoir My Life.
In 1984, Broaddrick's nursing facility was adjudged the best in the state, which brought a congratulatory official letter from the governor. On the bottom was a handwritten note from Clinton, saying, "I admire you very much." Broaddrick said that Clinton tried to apologize to her in 1991, and claimed he had changed. In response to his apologies, as she told The Washington Post, "I told him to go to hell, and I walked off".
Five people have stated that Broaddrick told them about a rape shortly after it allegedly occurred. Of these, two were Broaddrick's co-worker Norma Kelsey and her sister; Slate Explainer proposes that they may have a grudge against Clinton for commuting the sentence of the man who killed their father, noting further that a third corroborator is Broaddrick's current husband, who was involved in an extramarital affair with her at the time. Broaddrick did not tell her then-husband, Gary Hickey, of the alleged assault at the time.
Broaddrick claimed she did not remember the exact date or even year in which she was allegedly raped, but she did supply the name of the hotel (Camelot), and the reason she was visiting Little Rock (a nursing home seminar) when the incident had allegedly occurred. NBC News found that a nursing conference was held in the Camelot Hotel on April 25, 1978. The hotel was located in the state capital, where news reports indicate Clinton was that day, also suggesting that he had no known official commitments that morning. The Clinton White House declined to release his official schedule for the date. Three weeks after this date, Broaddrick attended a Clinton fundraiser. According to The Wall Street Journal (February 19, 1999, p. A18), "Her [Broaddrick's] friend Norma Rogers, a nurse who had accompanied her on the trip", found Broaddrick distraught shortly after the time of the alleged attack.
Public and press reactions
In March 1999, a few months after the allegations publicly aired, 56% of Americans believed the allegations were false, while a third believed that Broaddrick's allegation of rape was at least possibly true. Similarly, 29% of the public felt the press should continue to cover the story, while 66% felt that the media should stop pursuing the story.
According to Jack Nelson, Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, many journalists were skeptical: "This is a story that's been knocked down and discredited so many times, I was shocked to see it in the [Wall Street] Journal today.... [E]veryone's taken a slice of it, and after looking at it, everyone's knocked it down. The woman has changed her story about whether it happened. It just wasn't credible." Joe Conason and Gene Lyons' book The Hunting of the President argued that Broaddrick's claim is not credible and contains numerous inconsistencies. Michael Isikoff's book, Uncovering Clinton, and Christopher Hitchens' book, No One Left to Lie To, argued that Broaddrick's claim is credible and shows similarities to Paula Jones' later allegation of sexual harassment.
Clinton's attorney, David Kendall, denied the allegations on Clinton's behalf. No legal action, civil or criminal, was taken against Clinton or Broaddrick based on the allegation. Broaddrick was never called as a witness during President Clinton's impeachment proceedings in January 1999. In his book, Sellout: The Inside Story of President Clinton's Impeachment, Schippers said he wanted to call Broaddrick as a witness to discuss Clinton's intimidation, but it was too late.
Broaddrick filed a lawsuit against Clinton in the summer of 1999, to obtain documents which the White House may have gathered about her, claiming its refusal to accede to her demand for such documents violated the Privacy Act of 1974. The case was dismissed in 2001. During the lawsuit, Broaddrick's business was audited by the IRS which she charged was retaliation: "I do not believe this was coincidence," Broaddrick declared, "I do not think our number just came up."
- The Washington Post [December 23, 1998 reported that Broaddrick was "Jane Doe #5" in the Paula Jones trial] on February 25, 1999. Her affidavit as Jane Doe #5 was posted by the Washington Post on December 23, 1998.
- Dateline NBC: November 1998. The Washington Post published a story about the interview on February 25, 1999.
- Editorial Commentary, Dorothy Rabinowitz; February 19, 1999; Page A18.
- Wall Street Journal: Juanita Broaddrick Meets the Press. February 19, 1999.
- Kurtz, Howard (February 25, 1999). "Clinton Accuser's Story Aired". Washington Post. p. A15.
- "Is Juanita Broaddrick Telling the Truth?". Slate. March 3, 1999.
- Holland, Keating (March 1, 1999). "Poll: Most believe media should lay off Broaddrick allegation". CNN.
- Myers, Lisa (February 20, 1999). "THE UGLIEST STORY YET". Salon.
- Schippers, op cit, supra
- Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine. World Ahead Publishing, 2005. ISBN 9780974670133 p. 241.