WorldNetDaily repeated Willey's claim that "Clintons stole my manuscript," ignored her credibility problems

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

A WorldNetDaily.com article reported that "Kathleen Willey, the woman who says Bill Clinton groped her in the Oval Office, claims she was the target of an unusual house burglary over the weekend that nabbed a manuscript for her upcoming book. ... [S]he believes the Clintons were behind it." Special Report with Brit Hume, Rush Limbaugh, and the New York Post all repeated the allegation that the Clintons were behind the purported burglary, and Special Report and the Post repeated Willey's earlier accusation about having been "groped" in 1993 by Bill Clinton. But none of these reports noted that independent counsel Robert W. Ray discredited Willey's allegations regarding Clinton in a formal report released on March 6, 2002, citing her inconsistent testimony regarding the alleged incident.

In a September 5 article headlined "Kathleen Willey: Clintons stole my manuscript," WorldNetDaily.com claimed: "Kathleen Willey, the woman who says Bill Clinton groped her in the Oval Office, claims she was the target of an unusual house burglary over the weekend that nabbed a manuscript for her upcoming book, which promises explosive revelations that could damage Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Willey told WND little else was taken from her rural Virginia home as she slept alone upstairs -- electronics and jewelry were left behind -- and she believes the Clintons were behind it." After the publication of the WorldNetDaily article, Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh, and the New York Post's "Page Six" all picked up Willey's accusation that the Clintons were behind the purported burglary -- and in Limbaugh's case, adopted it. Further, both Special Report and "Page Six" noted Willey's earlier accusation that in 1993, then-President Bill Clinton made unwanted sexual advances toward her in the White House. However, the WorldNetDaily article and the other reports failed to note that independent counsel Robert W. Ray discredited Willey's allegations regarding Clinton in a formal report released on March 6, 2002, citing her inconsistent testimony regarding the alleged incident.

The WorldNetDaily article also stated, "Willey points out her story [that Clinton "groped her in the Oval Office"] was deemed credible by the FBI, Independent Counsel Ken Starr and CBS '60 Minutes' producers who allowed her to recount it in front of 29 million viewers." The article offered no evidence to back up Willey's claim of credibility. Nor did WorldNetDaily -- or other media reporting about the alleged theft, or about the book more generally -- note Ray's finding that Willey acknowledged giving false statements to the FBI or that Starr did not include Willey's account of her encounter with Clinton in his original report to Congress, which was released on September 9, 1998.

Moreover, WorldNetDaily reported: "The theft of the manuscript early Saturday morning was suspicious, she [Willey] told WND, coming only days after the first mainstream media mention of her upcoming book, which is expected to include accusations of campaign finance violations and new revelations about harassment and threats by the Clintons and their associates. ... Willey believes the break-in and theft were prompted by teasers of the book's contents published last week in [the August 26] U.S. News and World Report's "Washington Whispers" column and the [August 29] New York Daily News ["Gatecrasher" column]." However, Willey's book has been "mention[ed]" in the mainstream media as far back as 2005, and the book's release date has apparently been repeatedly delayed.

Willey's credibility

On the March 15, 1998, edition of CBS' 60 Minutes, Willey alleged that Bill Clinton fondled her against her will in 1993 during a private White House meeting in which she asked for a paid position in the administration. Clinton denied making any sexual advance toward Willey, consensual or otherwise. As Ray's report noted, "Because the alleged incident [between Willey and Clinton] arose in an employment context, Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled the allegations could be explored during discovery in Jones [v. Clinton]," the lawsuit in which Paula Jones claimed that Clinton sexually harassed her in an employment context.

According to Ray's report, Willey testified to the grand jury that she met with Clinton on November 29, 1993, and "recalled telling him [Clinton] 'there was a financial crisis in my family and that it was very, very serious, and that my days of volunteering were going to have to come to an end, that I really needed a job.' Willey said her demeanor was 'very emotional. ... I was crying, because I was worried.' " Willey claimed that at the end of their conversation, "it was getting a little tense -- well, a little inappropriate." The report continued, "She alleged that he then fondled her." From Ray's report:

President Clinton and Willey disagree on what happened at the end of their conversation. Willey testified, "Right as we got to the door, he stopped and he gave me a hug, which wasn't unusual, and he said, 'I'm so sorry that this is happening to you.' " Willey said President Clinton took the coffee cup from Willey and put it on a shelf, and that "he had [ ] his hands in my hair, and I was pulling away from him ... because I thought it was getting a little tense -- well, a little inappropriate." She alleged that he then fondled her. According to Willey, President Clinton also said, "You have no idea how much I wanted you to come and bring me the chicken soup and see me in Williamsburg that evening." Willey said, "Aren't you afraid somebody's going to walk in here?" He allegedly responded, "[N]o, I'm not."

Ray's report, however, pointed out that "Willey's Testimony to the Grand Jury About the Alleged Incident Differed Materially from Her Deposition Testimony Given in Jones v. Clinton," noting that Willey "said at her deposition ... that [Clinton] did not fondle her." Ray also found that Willey contradicted herself on the issue of whether she had told others about the alleged incident. According to Ray's report, Willey "claimed she had never talked to anyone other than [Newsweek reporter Michael] Isikoff, [attorney Dan] Gecker, and [Willey's friend Julie Hiatt] Steele about the details of the incident." But Ray concluded that Willey had, in fact, told several other people about the alleged encounter almost immediately after it happened:

Ruthie Eisen, a former White House volunteer, testified that Willey informed her of the incident the afternoon or evening of the day it occurred. Willey's friend Dianne Martin also testified that Willey called her on the day of the incident and told her about it. Willey saw Linda Tripp not long after the alleged incident, and Tripp later testified that Willey reported what happened.

Ray also wrote that Willey gave false information to the FBI:

The Independent Counsel agreed not to prosecute Willey for any offense arising out of the investigation, including false statements in her Jones deposition, so long as she cooperated fully and truthfully with the investigation. Following that first immunity agreement, Willey gave false information to the FBI about her sexual relationship with a former boyfriend, and acknowledged having lied about it when the agents confronted her with contradictory evidence. Following Willey's acknowledgement, the Independent Counsel agreed not to prosecute her for false statements in this regard.

Ray also noted that White House staffer Linda Tripp's story contradicted Willey's (as to whether any sexual encounter between Clinton and Willey was consensual) and suggested that a jury was unlikely to believe Willey:

Linda Tripp's testimony that Willey had a previous romantic interest in President Clinton (and appeared to view his alleged advances positively) departed from Willey's testimony. Tripp's cooperation with this Office in the Lewinsky investigation ultimately yielded evidence about President Clinton's conduct with Monica Lewinsky that was contrary to the President's testimony. Thus, evidence supplied by Linda Tripp regarding Willey that was consistent with President Clinton's testimony would likely be favorably received by a jury.

Even assuming Willey's testimony was truthful about the incident with President Clinton, her testimony at trial would be subject to further challenge based on the differences between her deposition and grand jury statements, as well as her acknowledgement of false statements to the Office of the Independent Counsel. Concerns about the probative effect of Willey's testimony would likely be sufficient to negate a conclusion that "the person [charged] probably will be found guilty by an unbiased trier of fact."

In short, there was insufficient evidence to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that President Clinton's testimony regarding Kathleen Willey was false. Accordingly, the Independent Counsel declined prosecution and the investigation of potential criminal wrongdoing relating to Willey's allegations is now closed.

In a related trial, Julie Hiatt Steele was charged with obstruction of justice and accused of "making false statements that hindered an investigation into accusations by Kathleen E. Willey," according to a May 26, 1999, New York Times article. The proceedings ended in a mistrial. In a footnote to his report, Ray cited an Associated Press report in which one of the jurors from the Steele trial attacked Willey's credibility:

One of the jurors who voted for acquittal apparently did not believe Willey's testimony. See, e.g., Pete Yost, Retry Julie Hiatt Steele, Jury Foreman Tells Starr Panel Members Vote 9-3 To Convict, New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 23, 1999, at A8 (quoting one of the jurors who voted for acquittal as saying Willey had "'zero credibility'"). The Office decided not to pursue a retrial. The following month the Independent Counsel's motion to dismiss the indictment was granted.

From the article by AP writer Pete Yost:

A juror who voted to acquit Ms. Steele, Thomas Brown, said he felt the prosecutors' chief witness, Mrs. Willey, had "zero credibility."

"I've met liars before, but this is the first time I've met one with papers to prove it," said Brown, a career civil servant at the Treasury Department.

Brown pointed to testimony in this month's trial that after Mrs. Willey was granted immunity from prosecution by Starr's office, she was caught lying to prosecutors about a relationship she had with another man. Starr's investigators subsequently promised in writing a second time that Mrs. Willey wouldn't be prosecuted.

Brown also said Starr's case was "petty and mean-spirited."

"After hearing most of the evidence, I got to thinking this was the government taking the Thursday afternoon bridge club to federal court," said Brown.

Additionally, Ray noted that Willey was not consistent in her claims that she had been intimidated near her home, shortly before giving her Jones deposition in 1998. According to the report:

Willey also alleged that in the period immediately preceding her January 1998 Jones deposition, her cat disappeared, her tires were punctured, and a male jogger whom she did not recognize approached her at her rural home, called her by her name, and asked about her tires, cat (which he named), children (whom he named), attorney, and her attorney's children (whom he also named), saying "I hope you're getting the message" or "You're just not getting the message, are you?" Willey 3/6/98 Int. at 18; Willey 3/10/98 GJ at 123-27. At her Jones deposition, however, Willey testified no one had tried to discourage her from testifying. Willey 1/11/98 Depo. at 86-87.

Willey told the grand jury that even though she was "terrified for my safety" because of these incidents, "I did give consideration to maybe not -- maybe not being very truthful in [her Jones v. Clinton] deposition because I thought that my -- that people close to me were in jeopardy." Willey 3/10/98 GJ at 170-71. Despite the threats, Willey told the grand jury, she "decided that I had to tell the truth" at her deposition. Willey 3/10/98 GJ at 127. As noted below, see infra p. 92 and notes 50-52, there were material differences between Willey's deposition testimony and what she told the grand jury about the incident between her and President Clinton.

Ray also wrote, "This Office investigated whether [Nathan] Landow [a Democratic fundraiser and Clinton supporter] or others had engaged in any criminal acts such as obstruction of justice or witness intimidation with respect to Willey, and determined there was insufficient evidence to support the filing of criminal charges."

The September 5 WorldNetDaily article resurrected Willey's old claims of intimidation without question, reporting: "The break-in, she said, reminded her of the widely reported incident 10 years ago in which she claimed she was threatened near the same Richmond-area home by a stranger just two days before she was to testify against President Clinton in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case." WorldNetDaily also reported Willey's book "promises explosive revelations that could damage Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign" and added: "Among its revelations is Willey's identification of the person who threatened her just prior to her testimony against President Clinton -- a man who turned out to be linked to the Clintons."

On the September 6 edition of Special Report, host Brit Hume also noted that Willey "accused President Clinton of groping her in the Oval Office back in 1993" and mentioned her earlier claims of intimidation by the Clintons, saying: "Willey has accused the Clinton camp of intimidation tactics in the past and now tells WorldNetDaily, quote, 'It's the same thing that happened before. They want you to know they were there. They pretty much managed to terrorize me again.' " On the September 6 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Limbaugh noted Willey's belief that the Clintons stole her manuscript, and added: "Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, as I've said countless times -- when it happens when the Clintons are involved, there is no coincidence." Meanwhile, the Post's "Page Six" item on Willey's allegations reported that she "says he [Bill Clinton] and his senator wife, Hillary, are up to more dirty tricks."

Book publicity

The "first mainstream media mention" of Willey's book was in the "Washington Whispers" column from the October 10, 2005, issue of U.S. News & World Report -- a mention touted by Willey's publisher, World Ahead Publishing, in an October 2005 press release, when the book had, according World Ahead, "a release date scheduled for August 2006." The book was also mentioned in an October 27, 2005, Associated Press report on Willey's visit that month to the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, paid for by World Ahead. In 2005, the publisher was also promoting Candice E. Jackson's book Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine, which featured a chapter on Willey. Willey, Jackson, and Juanita Broaddrick, who alleged Clinton sexually assaulted her in 1978 and was also prominently featured in Jackson's book, toured the Clinton Library together, their trip and admission courtesy of World Ahead, according to the AP. As the September 5 WorldNetDaily article noted, World Ahead Publishing is "WND Books' partner." WND Books is WorldNetDaily's publishing imprint; World Ahead was named WND Books' partner in October 2006.

Subsequently, Willey's book release was apparently delayed a year, until August 2007. The July 2007 edition of Washingtonian magazine reported that Willey's book would be released in "August 2007," and according to Amazon.com, the book was scheduled to be released on August 30, 2007.

The release was then apparently delayed again. According to the September 5 WorldNetDaily article and the Daily News' August 29 "Gatecrasher" column, Willey's book will be released in November 2007. According to Amazon.com, the book is currently scheduled to be released on November 27, 2007.

From the September 5 WorldNetDaily article:

Kathleen Willey, the woman who says Bill Clinton groped her in the Oval Office, claims she was the target of an unusual house burglary over the weekend that nabbed a manuscript for her upcoming book, which promises explosive revelations that could damage Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Willey told WND little else was taken from her rural Virginia home as she slept alone upstairs -- electronics and jewelry were left behind -- and she believes the Clintons were behind it.

The break-in, she said, reminded her of the widely reported incident 10 years ago in which she claimed she was threatened near the same Richmond-area home by a stranger just two days before she was to testify against President Clinton in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

The theft of the manuscript early Saturday morning was suspicious, she told WND, coming only days after the first mainstream media mention of her upcoming book, which is expected to include accusations of campaign finance violations and new revelations about harassment and threats by the Clintons and their associates.

"Here we go again; it's the same thing that happened before," Willey told WND. "They want you to know they were there. And they got what they wanted. They pretty much managed to terrorize me again. It scared me to death. It's an awful feeling to know you're sound asleep upstairs and someone is downstairs."

The book, "Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton" by World Ahead Publishing, WND Books' partner, is due for release in November. Willey said the stolen manuscript was not the book's final copy.

Among its revelations is Willey's identification of the person who threatened her just prior to her testimony against President Clinton -- a man who turned out to be linked to the Clintons.

Willey believes the break-in and theft were prompted by teasers of the book's contents published last week in U.S. News and World Report's "Washington Whispers" column and the New York Daily News.

Willey said she is writing the book because of persistent misunderstanding about what happened 10 years ago.

"There is so much misinformation out there, and I had been so badly maligned in the press," she said. "I had the opportunity to set the record straight.

"And frankly," she added, "Hillary Clinton is running for president, and it's a story a lot of people should hear."

Willey points out her story was deemed credible by the FBI, Independent Counsel Ken Starr and CBS "60 Minutes" producers who allowed her to recount it in front of 29 million viewers.

Longtime Clinton lawyer David Kendall was not available for immediate response to Willey's new claims, and Sen. Clinton's presidential campaign has not responded.

From the New York Daily News' August 29 "Gatecrasher" column:

Kathleen Willey, who famously alleged that Bill Clinton fondled her in the Oval Office in 1993, is hoping to return to the national spotlight.

The former White House volunteer is set to publish "Target: In the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton" through the conservative World Ahead press in November.

"The timing is intended to hurt Hillary in her Democratic primary campaign, by getting negative stories out there," according to a source.

The book promises new details on what Willey claims were physical and verbal threats from the "Clinton machine" to silence her allegations of sexual assault. A rep for the publisher told us the book would also examine what it says are campaign-finance violations by Hillary.

Among the other piquant claims expected to be revived are that Clinton agents slashed Willey's tires, as well as kidnapped (and probably murdered) her cat.

Meow!

From the U.S. News & World Report's August 26 "Washington Whispers" column:

Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign isn't only a boon for conservative fundraisers and critics. Those who have a bone to pick with Bubba or his wife are also planning to use the campaign to air their grievances again. First up: Kathleen Willey, who alleges that President Clinton pawed her in the Oval Office, then bullied her so that she wouldn't tell. Clinton denies her story. Willey adds to her allegations in Target: In the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Why write it now? "I was so misrepresented and maligned and I know it was a while back, but I think this is a real important time with elections coming up to tell this story."

From the September 6 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

HUME: Kathleen Willey -- who, you may recall, accused President Clinton of groping her in the Oval Office back in 1993 -- is now blaming what she calls "Clinton operatives" for the theft of a manuscript for her upcoming book about her experiences with the Clintons.

Willey says someone broke into her rural home outside Richmond, Virginia, Friday and took a copy of the book, then tried to make it look like a botched burglary.

Willey has accused the Clinton camp of intimidation tactics in the past and now tells WorldNetDaily, quote, "It's the same thing that happened before. They want you to know they were there. They pretty much managed to terrorize me again."

Willey says she does have another copy of the manuscript, which is entitled Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton. It's due out in November.

From the September 6 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: Kathleen Willey, the manuscript for her book to be published in November has been stolen. She's convinced a Clinton operative has stolen her manuscript. Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, as I've said countless times -- when it happens when the Clintons are involved, there is no coincidence.

From the September 7 edition of the New York Post's "Page Six":

KATHLEEN Willey, who claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the Oval Office in 1993, says he and his senator wife, Hillary, are up to more dirty tricks. Willey tells World Net Daily she was recently the target of a burglar who broke into her house and swiped a manuscript of her new book, which contains revelations that could supposedly damage Hillary's presidential bid. "Here we go again," Willey told WND. "It scared me to death. It's an awful feeling to know you're sound asleep upstairs and someone is downstairs." "Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton" will hit stores in November. A rep for the Clintons had no comment.

From an October 5, 2005, press release by World Ahead Publishing:

Kathleen Willey, one-time political fundraiser and former Clinton White House employee, will author a book revealing the campaign of threats and intimidation she faced at the hands of Clinton's operatives. The book will be published by Los Angeles-based World Ahead Publishing, with a release date scheduled for August 2006.

[...]

News of Willey's upcoming book was first made public in Paul Bedard's "Washington Whispers" column in the current issue of "US News & World Report." The reporter noted that Senator Clinton's office refused to comment on the issue.

From the October 10, 2005, issue of U.S. News & World Report, Paul Bedard's "Washington Whispers" column:

Right as she steps up her 2006 re-election campaign, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will face new criticism stemming from a years-old event. Kathleen Willey Schwicker, who says she was groped in the Oval Office by President Clinton as she sought a job, tells us she is going to release a new book that slams Hillary for not stopping the White House spin machine from crushing her. "It's not so much about the incident but about what they would do to an ordinary American woman," she tells us. "Hillary Clinton champions herself for female workers' rights and for women, but she doesn't. She didn't support the women involved in all of Clinton's messes."

From an October 27, 2005, AP article:

Two women who accused former President Clinton of sexual misconduct say they've been targeted by a campaign of intimidation intended to silence them.

A publisher of a book critical of Clinton and his wife Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., paid for the trip by Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broddrick [sic] to visit the Clinton Presidential Library on Wednesday.

"If she (Mrs. Clinton) is such a champion of women and women's rights and women's empowerment, then she needs to explain her role in what they tried to do to us," said Willey, who said the former president fondled her when she met privately with him outside the Oval Office to seek a job in November 1993.

[...]

Willey, a real estate agent in Powhatan, Va., said she wanted to see how Clinton's official schedule accounted for his time on the afternoon of Nov. 29, 1993, the time of the alleged assault.

An electronic schedule listed the time between noon and 3 p.m. as "lunch, phone and office time."

The women's trip and $7 library admission were paid for by World Ahead Publishing. The women were accompanied by Candice Jackson, a Los Angeles attorney and author of "Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine." Willey said World Ahead would also publish a book she is writing.

Willey said the museum complex brought back good memories. "I don't regret those days. It was a wonderful experience marred by one horribly tragic day," she said.

From the July 2007 issue of Washingtonian magazine:

Tired of Hillary Clinton? Then enjoy July, because it's the only pause in books about her for the rest of the year.

Few women in the world have been as closely examined, or as frequently attacked, as the former first lady and would-be president. Ever since the 1993 book Hillary Rodham Clinton: A First Lady for Our Time by Donnie Radcliffe, a cottage industry of Hillary books has sprung up. Here's a year in the life of the niche publishing market:

The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party by David Horowitz and Richard Poe (April 2007)

The Extreme Makeover of Hillary (Rodham) Clinton by Bay Buchanan (May 2007)

The Very Unofficial Hillary Clinton Coloring Book by George LeBorts and Wojciech Wilk (May 2007)

A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Carl Bernstein (June 2007)

Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. (June 2007)

Target: In the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton by Kathleen Willey (August 2007)

Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will by L. Brent Bozell and Tim Graham (September 2007)

God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life by Paul Kengor (September 2007)

For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton in the White House by Sally Bedell Smith (October 2007)

Can She Be Stopped? Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States Unless . . . by John Podhoretz (October 2007)

Hillary Clinton (People in the News) by Dwayne Epstein (November 2007)

Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation From Mussolini to Hillary Clinton by Jonah Goldberg (December 2007)

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