It’s clear Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s close ally and adviser, wants to bring the women against the Clintons forward — and he is willing to pay them to do it.
Stone’s Super PAC Stone reportedly paid Kathy Shelton — the Arkansas sexual assault victim whose alleged rapist Hillary Clinton defended in court — $2,500 to appear with Trump before the second presidential debate, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune reported he has also “arranged to pay other women”:
Earlier this year, Stone sought to raise money to pay off the mortgage of Kathleen Willey, who accused Bill Clinton of making unwanted sexual advances toward her during her time as a volunteer in his White House in the 1990s. Stone claimed in an online video interview that Trump had personally contributed to the fund.
An hour before the second presidential debate, Shelton, who was flown in to St. Louis by the company of another Trump supporter, Charles C. Johnson, joined a press conference with Trump and three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct — Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones.
Shelton, who was raped when she was 12 years old, has a different connection to the Clintons than Broaddrick, Willey and Jones, who have all directly accused Bill Clinton of rape, sexual assault or harassment; in 1975, Hillary Clinton was appointed to legally represent Shelton’s attacker. (My colleague, Dara Lind, explained the case in detail here.)
The press conference, which took place just an hour before the debate and was hastily broadcast live on Facebook, was a clear attempt to rattle Clinton before the highly anticipated match up — and a way to combat one of the largest negative news cycles of the Trump campaign, after the Washington Post published a hot mic recording of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women on Friday.
Trump — who tried to pass off his comments on the tape as “locker room banter” — during the debate brought up the allegations of these women, who were in the audience.
“That was locker room talk. I'm not proud of it,” Trump said at the debate. “If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse — mine are words; his was action … There’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that's been so abusive to women. So you can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously.”
Trump reportedly wanted Shelton, Broaddrick, Willey, and Jones to sit with Trump’s wife and children in the family box, however the Commission on Presidential Debates denied the request.