The woman known as Jane Doe Number 5 in Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s impeachment report to Congress has gone on the record in an interview with the Wall Street Journal claiming that Clinton sexually assaulted her in 1978 when he served as attorney general of Arkansas.
In the first published account of the alleged incident, the former Clinton campaign worker describes a meeting in his hotel room in which Clinton held her down forcibly on a bed and bit her lips while engaging in sexual intercourse.
After the encounter, she says in Friday’s edition of the Journal, Clinton told her not to worry because he was sterile. When she was leaving the room, he looked at her bruised face and, according to Juanita Broaddrick, said: “You better put some ice on that.”
The account as told by Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal, begins back on a day in 1978 when Attorney General Bill Clinton visited a nursing home owned by Broaddrick, who had been working on Clinton’s campaign for governor. During this visit, Clinton invited her to come to his campaign headquarters whenever she was next in Little Rock.
As it happened, Broaddrick was in Little Rock for a nursing home seminar the following week and called the campaign headquarters to set up a meeting with Clinton. They arranged to meet for coffee in the cafe of the Camelot hotel where she was staying. Clinton pointed out that the environs were a bit noisy, according to Broaddrick, and recommended they adjourn to her room and have coffee there.
It was in the hotel room, after Broaddrick had rebuffed an advance by Clinton, that he got her onto the bed and forced her to have sex, she told the Journal in a detailed account.
Her friend, Norma Rogers, a nurse who had accompanied Broaddrick to the seminar, found her on the bed in what she described in an interview as a state of shock — her lip swollen, mouth bruised, and her pantyhose torn at the crotch. According to Rogers, Broaddrick repeatedly said, “I can’t believe what happened,” as she continued to lay stunned on the bed.
In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Broaddrick said she never went to the police about the incident “because of the mentality of the ’70s. There I was, I was married, I was also in a relationship with another man, and … I was there alone in a hotel room with the attorney general and I didn’t think anyone would possibly believe me.”
Asked why she was telling her story now, she told AP that she was doing it to counter rumors that she had been bribed and intimidated to hush the account. Initially, she had signed a false affidavit after being approached by the Paula Jones lawyers, swearing that there was no sexual assault involved in the meeting between herself and Clinton, wanting to steer as far from the past as possible, but then came Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation.
Broaddrick’s son, Kevin, advised his mother to recant her previous statements and tell the whole truth. “[T]his was another whole level,” he said in an interview. “She knew it was one thing to lie in a civil trial so she could get away from all this, but another to lie to federal prosecutors and possibly a grand jury.”
Thus, after working a deal of immunity with the independent counsel’s office, Broaddrick recanted the version of the story contained in her previously signed affidavit, and told a different story — that the sexual advances by Clinton that day were far from consensual.
After years of avoiding the media — since 1992 when the first rumors of the story began to surface — Broaddrick decided to do an interview with NBC. The interview took place on January 20, but NBC, once in possession of the story, didn’t seem to know what to do with it. As Broaddrick had heard, her interview was slotted to run on the January 29 episode of “Dateline,” but didn’t.
In fact, a significant stir was created over the interview when Anchor Tom Brokaw threatened to resign if the interview was aired. As NBC’s Lisa Myers, who had interviewed Broaddrick, told her, “The good news is you’re credible. The bad news is you’re very credible.”
It was after NBC had let her “hang out to dry,” as Broaddrick termed it, that she turned to the Wall Street Journal to give her story.
White House Spokesman Joe Lockhart dismissed the story by alluding to the Journal’s editorial page as having run spurious allegations of the President in the past. The president’s lawyer, David Kendall, denied the story entirely, asserting that “Any allegation that the president assaulted Mrs. Broaddrick more than 20 years ago is absolutely false.”
“Beyond that,” Kendall concluded, “we’re not going to comment.”
As for NBC, the network is currently maintaining that it has not released Broaddrick’s story, and will not, until it certain the story is solid — “[a] heartening testimony to the elevated standards of journalism that have now apparently seized the network,” Rabinowitz editorialized in the Journal’s account. NBC has declined to comment on any plans to air it.
About the president, Broaddrick says, “I don’t have an agenda where he is concerned. I could care less what happens to the man.” In an interview with the Washington Post published Saturday, she said she did not think it was wrong to keep silent in 1978, but wishes she had come forward in 1992.
And as for going public now, she told the Post, “I feel like I have gotten the biggest weight off my shoulders….”