Friday, June 8, 2018

Bill Clinton: #MeToo, Now Versus Then

His last official photo (see this)

So the long-ignored matter of Bill Clinton's personal misbehavior with women is finally getting some attention, however reluctantly, from the news media. See, for example, the WaPo's opinion piece this week titled Bill Clinton's #MeToo reckoning.

Good luck on holding him to any kind of a reckoning. He's always gotten a pass on his sexual abuse of female employees, and that probably won't change now.

Consider, for instance, how the sexual harassment lawsuit brought against Clinton by former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones was dismissed by a federal judge in 1998. (Jones appealed the dismissal and Clinton, who had lied under oath in the discovery phase, feared going to trial so much that he settled out of court for $850,000 when Jones had sued for only $700,000 in the first place - who had the leverage in that negotiation?).

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright, a Clinton-appointee, held that even if Jones' allegations were true Clinton's actions would not constitute sexual assault. Read the judge's opinion and see what you think.
Plaintiff states that upon arriving at the suite and announcing herself, the governor shook her hand, invited her in, and closed the door. ... She states that a few minutes of small talk ensued, which included the governor asking her about her job and him mentioning that Dave Harrington, plaintiff's ultimate superior within the AIDC and a Clinton appointee, was his "good friend." ... Plaintiff states that the governor then "unexpectedly reached over to (her), took her hand, and pulled her toward him, so that their bodies were close to each other." ... She states she removed her hand from his and retreated several feet, but that the governor approached her again and, while saying, "I love the way your hair flows down your back" and "I love your curves," put his hand on her leg, started sliding it toward her pelvic area, and bent down to attempt to kiss her on the neck, all without her consent. ... Plaintiff states that she exclaimed, "What are you doing?" told the governor that she was "not that kind of girl," and "escaped" from the governor's reach "by walking away from him." ... She states she was extremely upset and confused and, not knowing what to do, attempted to distract the governor by chatting about his wife. ..

Plaintiff states that she sat down at the end of the sofa nearest the door, but that the governor approached the sofa where she had taken a seat and, as he sat down, "lowered his trousers and underwear, exposed his penis (which was erect) and told (her) to 'kiss it."' ... She states that she was "horrified" by this and that she "jumped up from the couch" and told the governor that she had to go, saying something to the effect that she had to get back to the registration desk. ... Plaintiff states that the governor, "while fondling his penis," said, "Well, I don't want to make you do anything you don't want to do," and then pulled up his pants and said, "If you get in trouble for leaving work, have Dave call me immediately and I'll take care of it." ... She states that as she left the room (the door of which was not locked), the governor "detained" her momentarily, "looked sternly" at her, and said, "You are smart. Let's keep this between ourselves."

Plaintiff states that the governor's advances to her were unwelcome, that she never said or did anything to suggest to the governor that she was willing to have sex with him, and that during the time they were together in the hotel suite, she resisted his advances although she was "stunned by them and intimidated by who he was." ... She states that when the governor referred to Dave Harrington, she "understood that he was telling her that he had control over Mr. Harrington and over her job, and that he was willing to use that power." ... She states that from that point on, she was "very fearful" that her refusal to submit to the governor's advances could damage her career and even jeopardize her employment.

To recap, Jones alleged that Governor Clinton dropped his pants and took out Little Willie, asked her to orally copulate him, and when she refused he reminded her that he could intervene with her supervisor and cause her to lose her job. That sounds like both sexual assault and sexual harassment to me. But maybe the standards on that have changed, because Judge Susan Webber Wright thought otherwise back in 1998.
The Court finds plaintiff's attempt to restate her sexual assault claim in the guise of an equal protection claim to be no more meritorious now than when it was raised in the context of a due process claim. Although the governor's alleged conduct, if true, may certainly be characterized as boorish and offensive, even a most charitable reading of the record in this case fails to reveal a basis for a claim of criminal sexual assault as there is no alleged conduct that could be characterized as "forcible compulsion" or "sexual contact" for purposes of establishing a claim under the provision cited by plaintiff.

Putting aside the matter of which provision of law the plaintiff was citing, was the judge serious that Clinton's actions were merely "boorish and offensive" and not criminal sexual assault? What more would he have to have done to constitute criminal sexual assault?

Maybe Harvey Weinstein can cite that opinion in his defense today.


Anonymous said...

TSB: Good post!! It's always fun to go back and catch up what these cats have been doing since they got involved with the Clintons. gwb

Wright was appointed to a seven-year term on the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by Chief Justice John Roberts. She was appointed on May 18, 2009, and her term expired on May 18, 2016.[11] Wright is a former judge of the FISA court.[1

Anonymous said...

TSB: I'm betting Anthony Bourdain's suicide and preceding "dark mood for days"
had to do with this from May 21, 2018 regarding his girlfriend of the past couple years Asia Argento:
Argento alleged in an October 2017 New Yorker article by Ronan Farrow that she had been sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein in the 1990s. She also said that she had consensual sexual relations with him multiple times over the course of the next five years. She confirmed that a scene in Scarlet Diva where her character is accosted by a movie executive was indeed a reference to Weinstein.[27] Later, Argento stated that the "article did a huge disservice to me and to my truth by simplifying all this," and accused Farrow of "misrepresenting" what happened to her.[28]
After being criticized for her account in Italian media and politics, Argento moved to Germany to escape what she described as a culture of "victim blaming" in Italy.[29]
Argento delivered a speech on 20 May 2018, following the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, calling the festival Weinstein's 'hunting ground', alleging that she was raped by Weinstein in Cannes when she was 21. She added, “And even tonight, sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women."[30]

TSB said...

Judge Wright has been around for awhile. I should add that she partially made up for her ruling against Paula Jones by a later ruling that Clinton had lied and obstructed justice in his deposition about Lewinsky. Clinton continued to lie about his lying until he finally acknowledged it in a settlement with the Special Counsel on his last day in office.

TSB said...

Re Bourdain, I can't imagine the emotional wear and tear of being in a realationship with an actress.

Anonymous said...

TSB: I never watched his show, but now I really like the guy. As Juan Cole said yesterday, he is the only American tv personality that actually portrayed
the Palestinians as they really are without stripping them of their essential humanity. gwb PS: My wife says it is now very dangerous to be running for almost anything in the upcoming Mexico elections. Candidates are being assassinated left and right all over the country and nobody can figure out who's doing it or why, much less catch any of them.

TSB said...

I've watched some of his shows, but something about him always bugged me. As for the Palestinians, personally I think it strips them of their essential humanity when we whitewash their 70 years of genocidal rage and violence towards the Israelis. It's now who they are. See this performance at a kindergarten graduation in Gaza last month:

Having failed to kill the Jewish state 70 years ago, they have to live with it now, peacefully or otherwise. (The twenty percent of Israel's citizens who are Arabs do so peacefully).

Anonymous said...

Dinosaurs are the last to know when their time has passed.