Anita Hill's Detractor Apologizes for Trashing Her

ByABC News

W A S H I N G T O N, June 27, 2001 -- Renouncing ties to the political right that made him a best-selling writer, David Brock now says he smeared Anita Hill with lies to salvage the reputation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Brock, who just three years ago acknowledged writing a misleading 1993 article about President Clinton's sex life that ultimately led to impeachment, has acknowledged going even further to trash Hill.

After her allegations of sexual harassment nearly sank Thomas' nomination to the high court in 1991, Brock set about to write a book "to rehabilitate Thomas and clear his name for the history books."

In his latest book, Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative, the born-again moderate Brock realizes, "I was a witting cog in the Republican sleaze machine."

Brock claims congressional aides, top officials from the first Bush White House, and even Justice Thomas himself — after winning confirmation to the Supreme Court — provided dirt for the smear campaign.

A Supreme Court official said Justice Thomas would have no comment.

Movie Theater

Excerpts of the book appearing in the August issue of Talk magazine reveal Brock "consciously reported a lie" when he debunked allegations Thomas was a pornography aficionado.

Porn became an issue in his confirmation hearings when Hill claimed Thomas had made graphic comments about sex videos to her. At the time, Thomas denied the claim and was narrowly confirmed.

But Strange Justice, a book by two Wall Street Journal reporters published after he rose to the bench, buttressed Hill's charges. Jill Abramson and Jane Mayer wrote that Thomas often rented explicit movies that matched Hill's allegations.

Though he knew better from some of Thomas' "closest friends," Brock wrote a review that savaged Strange Justice as a "left-wing hit job."

"There was no evidence whatsoever, I concluded in the [American Spectator] review, that Thomas ever rented even one pornographic video, let alone was a habitual consumer of pornography," Brock writes.

Intimidation Tactics

Brock claims Justice Thomas, through an intermediary, "stretch[ed] the limits of judicial propriety" by providing "embarrassing personal information" from the divorce proceeding of a friend who had confirmed the porn stories.

In turn, Brock said he used that information to intimidate the friend into recanting her story: "She would give me a written statement retracting the statements quoted in Strange Justice, I told her, or I would blacken her name just as I had done to every other woman who had impugned Thomas' reputation."

Asked by The Washington Post why is he confessing now, Brock said, "I think I owe a debt to the historical record to correct it."

The alleged intermediary, Mark Paoletta, told the Post that Brock's account is "simply not true."

Even Abramson, whose book was trashed by Brock, has trouble trusting his new book.

"Once you admit you've knowingly written false things, how do you know when to believe what he writes," she told the Post.

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