Side-by-side of Bill Clinton and Danney Williams

Side-by-side of Bill Clinton and Danney Williams

NEW YORK – As Clinton allies fend off renewed charges that Bill Clinton is a rapist, another old accusation is resurfacing, this time from a 30-year-old black man who claims the former president is his father.

Clinton defenders contend the tabloid Star Magazine conducted a “DNA showdown” proving Bill Clinton was not Danney Williams’ father, citing Star Magazine editor Phil Bunton saying at the time, “There was no match, nothing even close.”

But in an interview Tuesday morning, Bunton told WND that no blood sample was obtained from Clinton and Star Magazine never published a story documenting a laboratory test.

“I don’t remember ever seeing any laboratory test that was done on Clinton’s DNA,” Bunton told WND.

Bunton is now the owner of the Rivertown Magazine in Haverstraw, New York.

He affirmed to WND that the tabloid relied on the DNA evidence for Clinton published by independent counsel Kenneth Starr, extracted from the infamous Monica Lewinsky blue dress.

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“We got a lot of phone calls from several people in the media, including the New York Times, wanting to know when we were going to get the DNA back,” Bunton recalled to WND. “We thought it was going to turn out to be his son, but when the DNA came back there was no story there even to write.”

The DNA test released by Kenneth Starr was the second of two DNA laboratory tests the FBI had run on Clinton, but the public record leaves no doubt that Starr withheld the more robust test conducted by the FBI.

The New York Daily News on Jan. 7, 1999, reported that Kenneth Starr had made public only one of two DNA lab analyses and that the results made public came from the less reliable method known as a “polymerase chain reaction” test, or PRC, that experts do not consider sufficiently robust to determine paternity.

Apparently, Starr withheld the more robust test, known as a “refraction fragmented length polymorphism” test, or RFLP. This was the kind of test required to run a side-by-side comparison.

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No lab report

When the Danney Williams story surfaced on the Internet, Star Magazine tried to get saliva samples from the boy and his mother, Bobbie Ann Williams, a prostitute who claims she had a series of sexual liaisons with Clinton that began in February 1984.

Bunton remembered the reporter at Star Magazine who handled the story was Richard Gooding.

“I don’t remember seeing any lab report, and I can’t tell you anything about it,” Bunton said. “Danney Williams looked incredibly like Bill Clinton – the hair and everything. At the time, we really thought we had a winner. When Gooding told me it wasn’t a match, I wouldn’t have taken any interest in looking at the report.”

So, after hearing back from Gooding, Bunton decided not to publish anything. He told inquiring reporters that the results from the two DNA samples “weren’t even close.”

“I really thought it was going to come up a match,” he stressed. “The story was all over Arkansas that Bill Clinton had a relationship with this woman and there was some preacher running around Little Rock saying the child was Bill’s, but that was as far as we got.”

In 1999, Slate magazine also concluded the test conducted by Star Magazine was meaningless because it had only the results publically released by Kenneth Starr.

“The FBI performed two genetic fingerprinting tests on the president’s DNA,” Slate noted. “The Starr report, for unexplained reasons, gives data only for the less specific of the two tests (the PRC test, not the RFLP test).”

The problem, Slate concluded, is that the PRC test had no chance of producing a definitive or reliable result.

“Dr. George Riley of Genelex – a well-regarded forensic DNA lab – calculates that the genetic fingerprint in the Starr report [released by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr] will most likely yield a so-called ‘paternity index’ of only 20 to 30. In other words, a positive test would mean that President Clinton is only 20 to 30 times more likely than a random Caucasian male to be Danney Williams’ father. This would be suggestive but not conclusive.”

Slate further pointed out that with a paternity index of only 20 to 30, some 50,000 white men in Arkansas would get the same test results, in contrast to the legal paternity index threshold that requires a test result of 100.

“Even if Clinton’s genetic fingerprint weren’t published, if Bobbie Ann Williams filed a paternity suit, a judge would probably compel Clinton to give her lawyers a blood sample,” Slate concluded.

Nevertheless, three days later, on Jan. 10, 1999, the New York Daily News reported an unnamed source at Star Magazine told a Daily News reporter that the tabloid had concluded from its DNA test that President Clinton was not Danny Williams’ father.

Star Magazine, however, never published that conclusion.

The Daily Mail in London, reporting Jan. 11, 1999, also made clear Star Magazine had decided not to publish any conclusion.

“Star magazine had been expected to run the story of the president’s love child, if true, in its edition currently on sale,” the Daily Mail in London noted. “But the matter does not even get a mention. Last night Star editor-in-chief Phil Bunton said: ‘We investigate dozens of stories every week, and if they don’t prove to be true, we don’t run them.’”

The Los Angeles Times said in a Jan. 12, 1999, report that Star editors “confirmed nothing and pointedly noted that it was only one of a dozen stories they were working.”

“Star editor Phil Bunton said Sunday, ‘We went into it thinking it was more likely to be untrue than true. We might run a couple of paragraphs saying we investigated it and it proved to be untrue,’” the Times report continued. “Of the attempt to match the boy’s DNA to Clinton, Bunton said, ‘There was no match, nothing even close.’”

It became the take-away line that media have repeated since 1999 without realizing that Burton had no scientific basis to make the claim.

Clinton friends buys The Star

About a month after the “DNA showdown,” The Star was purchased by the investment group Evercore Capital Partners LLC, headed by former Deputy Secretary Roger C. Altman, a longtime friend of Bill Clinton.

A New York Times report gave no indication how long the negotiations had gone on, but it’s likely Altman was negotiating the deal at the same time The Star was pursuing the Williams story.

On March 4, 1999, the New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton had attended a private dinner at Altman’s Upper East Side Home. It was a gathering of some 15 people that included business executives, heads of nonprofit groups and Mortimer B. Zuckerman, the real estate developer and owner of the New York Daily News.

On June 15, 1999, the Washington Post reported that Hillary Clinton was in the process of mapping out a $20 million fundraising effort in preparation for her then-anticipated run for a U.S. Senate seat in New York. The newspaper noted Altman was expected to be involved.

On Sept. 14, 1999, Slate ran a “Chatterbox” article noting that Hillary Clinton had dined privately at the Altman home in New York City.

“Chatterbox naively assumed that if Altman didn’t make his tabloids more pro-Clinton, he would be frozen out by the Clintons, and that if he didn’t make his tabloids more respectful, he would be frozen out by respectable society,” Slate commented.

“But according to the Times, Evercore’s purchase of these cheesy supermarket tabloids didn’t prevent Hillary Clinton from attending a dinner at Altman’s home on the Upper East Side in April,” Slate continued. “Since then, the National Enquirer has run a piece alleging that Hillary has committed adultery (with Vince Foster and an unnamed ‘longtime friend’) while serving as first lady.”

This caused Timothy Noah, the author of the Slate article, to raise his eyebrows.

“Chatterbox (who has no opinion about whether these rumors are true, but wouldn’t blame Mrs. Clinton if they were) doesn’t see how Hillary Clinton an dine with Roger Altman ever again; if she does, Chatterbox will be forced to conclude that she lacks even the small quantity of self-respect required to serve in the U.S. Senate,” Noah concluded.

Paternity story: ‘Unproven’ but not ‘false’

On Oct. 3, the Internet “fact checking” site Snopes.com, which generally is favorable to Democrats, examined the Williams claim and concluded it was “unproven.”

Snopes.com cited the evidence published in 1999 by Slate, concluding that without obtaining a sample of Clinton’s blood, the DNA released by Starr was insufficient.

Snopes could find no evidence The Star had ever obtained a sample of Clinton’s blood.

The website noted there is “a plethora of head shots purporting to show a family resemblance between Clinton and Williams” but no hard proof a definitive DNA test was ever conducted.

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