"Hillary Clinton is the war on women," Kathleen Willey, Clinton accuser, told Fox News pundit Megyn Kelly. "She needs to be exposed for all the terror campaigns she waged against the women who were in the wrong place at the wrong time with her husband."
As the nation gears up for the 2016 election cycle, and the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidential run, some media , especially on the right, have begun digging up some "Crazy Clinton Conspiracies of the 1990s."
Kathleen Willey, who accused President Clinton of sexual harassment in 1993, is the latest to weigh in. Judging from the enormous response on Twitter to Willey's segment on Megyn Kelly's show, this probably won't be the last we hear of Willey before the 2016 election cycle.
Time may be on Willey's side. It's difficult, after all, to remember details of a controversy that happened over 20 years ago. Is Willey truly a credible commentator on Hillary Clinton's potential presidency?
The Schuster Institute's Founding Director Florence Graves may have the answer. In 1999, Graves's year-long investigation with Jacqueline E. Sharkey for The Nation magazine, "Starr and Willey: The Untold Story," exposed in vivid, documented detail why none of Willey's allegations could be trusted.
The investigation revealed that Kathleen Willey, who accused President Clinton of sexual harassment, was in fact seeking an affair with the president, and that Willey had lied to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's own investigators, a fact that Starr tried to keep secret.
The article was based in part on information in hundreds of pages of sealed Independent Counsel documents to which Graves obtained access. The article also revealed that not long before President Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives, Starr gave Willey -- presumed to be a key witness against the president if Starr decided to indict President Clinton -- an extraordinary second immunity from prosecution agreement after discovering she had lied during the independent counsel investigation about an affair of her own that became relevant during the investigation. Willey had lied when she denied to prosecutors that she had once tricked a boyfriend by telling him (falsely) that she was pregnant with his twins and insisting he must accompany her to an abortion clinic.
The article uncovered other major new evidence that raised questions about Starr's decisions to rely on Willey and to indict Julie Hiatt Steele, Willey's former friend who refused to help corroborate Willey's claims. Steele was the only person indicted in the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, apparently because she undercut the credibility of Willey, the person Starr reportedly hoped to use to indict President Clinton.
Steele's trial ended with a hung jury and Starr decided not to re-try her. Both resulted in part, according to Steele's attorney, from Graves's article, which gave the most detailed account of the questions about Willey.
The Boston Globe wrote that Graves "helped hand Starr his hat on the only indictment in the Lewinsky matter."
The March 2002 final report of the Independent Counsel (written after Starr resigned) confirmed that prosecutors knew Willey had serious credibility problems.
If the media continues to pull old stories from the Clinton presidency as a way to prepare for Hillary Clinton's possible presidential candidacy, they must also do their homework and highlight the solid investigative reporting done around these controversies.
The public may have forgotten about Willey's very questionable credibility, but Graves's investigation should serve as a reminder.
Read the full article at The Nation.
Learn more about the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University and their reporting on such social justice and human rights issues, including human trafficking and modern-day slavery.