Trump-Clinton debate: Bill Clinton sexual allegations still haunting his wife

Bill Clinton sexual allegations - a history of accusations turned into a political weapon

Bill and Hillary Clinton (Getty)

Monday, October 10, 2016

It was one of the most infamous scandals in US history, and one of the enduring images of Bill Clinton's presidency.

In the mid-90s a political scandal erupted with speculation that then-president, 49-year-old Bill Clinton, had conducted an affair with an intern at the White House, 22-year-old Monica Lewinsky. Clinton initially denied the reports, but was later forced to admit them.

Almost 20 years on, it remains a favourite topic for the wags and meme-mongers of Twitter whenever Bill Clinton's name comes up. Yet in reality, the Monica Lewinsky debacle was only part of the story - and it's a story Donald Trump has been happy to dredge up.

Prior to yesterday's debate Trump hosted a press conference with three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual harrassment - Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick. Kathy Shelton was also present at the conference, a woman who was raped at 12 years of age - and whose attacker was defended by Hillary in court.

Jones claims she was escorted to Clinton's hotel room where he exposed himself to her and propositioned her, and even launched a legal case against him. Willey claimed the former president groped her in the White House Oval Office in 1993. Broaddrick has alleged that, in the late 1970s, Bill Clinton raped her in her hotel room.

It is important to stress that Bill Clinton has never been convicted of anything pertaining to these allegations, and in fact was awarded $850,000 when Jones' case collapsed. Yet the allegations continue to dog him and could prove damaging for his wife's campaign.

Even more damaging could be the comments by Kathy Shelton, who has spoken to the media to express her anger at Hillary's portrayal as an advocate of womens' rights after what transpired on her case. While defending her rapist, the Democratic candidate allegedly laughed while discussing aspects of the case on an audiotape from the 1980s. 

When Bill Clinton first admitted the Lewinsky affair to his wife, she says she was incandescent with rage, so angry she was unable to speak. Two decades on and the scandal is still coming back to haunt her.