You don’t have a case

‘I’m sorry, but you don’t have a case’

By William Dodd

The quote is by Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer specializing in sexual harassment cases.  Katz gained notoriety in the ’90s by attempting to dismiss the validity of the Paula Jones sexual harassment case against Bill Clinton.  According to court transcripts, Jones claimed that in 1991, then-governor Clinton, after inviting Jones to his hotel room, had “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.”  Jones alleges that Clinton then dropped his pants and exposed himself to her and asked her to kiss his exposed self.

In trying to legally diminish the Jones case, Katz made several public statements in 1998 regarding the interpretation of valid sexual harassment incidents.  Katz’s comments were all in the context of “even if Jones’s allegations are true.”

  • In March of 1998: “Paula Jones’ suit is very, very, very weak.  She’s alleged one incident that took place in a hotel room that, by her own testimony, lasted 10 to 12 minutes.”
  • In April 1998: “[This was] clearly a one-time incident that took place in 10 to 12 minutes, she was not forced to have sex, she left on her own volition” and thus not enough to create a valid sexual harassment claim.
  • Later in 1998: “If a woman came to me with a similar fact pattern, I would probably tell her that I’m sorry, it’s unfair, but you don’t have a case.”

Christine Blasey Ford, who has come forward as an accuser of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, is not alleging that Kavanaugh did anything close to what Bill Clinton is alleged to have done with Paula Jones.  It seems that Debra Katz, with her interpretation of sexual harassment, would be the perfect lawyer for Judge Kavanaugh to engage and have in the foxhole with him to fade the Blasey Ford allegations.  Katz is experienced and adept at spinning her clients’ cases in the media and downplaying the validity of sexual harassment allegations.

But wait: it turns out that Katz will not be available to help Judge Kavanaugh.  She is a big Democratic Party donor.  The Washington Post has just reported that she has already been engaged by Christine Blasey Ford to represent her with her allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.

The Katz flip on the interpretation of valid sexual harassment incidents could go down as one of the great instances of legal hypocrisy in recent years.  Unfortunately for balance in our judicial system, it seems more and more that legal hypocrisy is a disease of lawyers primarily representing those with Democratic Party leanings.  Even though attorney Katz is unwilling to be honest with her client, hopefully leading senators on both sides of the aisle will have the political integrity and fortitude to say to Christine Blasey Ford: “I’m sorry, but you don’t have a case.”

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