Donald Trump hosts surprise panel with Bill Clinton’s accusers ahead of presidential debate

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ST. LOUIS — Before presidential debate on Sunday, Donald Trump held a brief news conference with women who have accused Bill Clinton of rape and unwanted advances.

Trump appeared in a Facebook Live posted on his page. The Republican nominee held it just an hour and a half before the debate kicks off.

He said the four “courageous” women — Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Kathy Shelton — asked to be there. “And it was our honor to help them,” Trump said.

Jones, the first of four women to speak during the unusual pre-debate meeting, offered a message about Trump: “They should all look at the fact that he is a good person. He is not what other people are saying he’s being.”

In 1998, Bill Clinton agreed to an $850,000 settlement with Jones. She is a former Arkansas state worker who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill Clinton in 1994 for allegedly exposing himself to her in a Little Rock hotel room. The settlement included no apology or admission of guilt.

Jones said of Trump, “He’s going to make America great again.”

Kathleen Willey, a former White House volunteer, has said President Bill Clinton forced himself on her in 1993. She says she’s supporting Donald Trump, in part, because he “can bring peace to this world.”

Willey also claimed that Hillary Clinton helped try to discredit her. Her accusation has never been independently verified by a judge or jury. Bill Clinton has long denied the accusations and Hillary Clinton has declined to address them.

Shelton was raped as a 12-year-old. Hillary Clinton was asked by a judge overseeing the case to represent her alleged attacker. After the prosecution lost key evidence, Clinton’s client entered a plea to a lesser charge.

Broaddrick, a former Arkansas nursing home administrator, first claimed 17 years ago that Bill Clinton raped her during a meeting in Little Rock in 1978.

“Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don’t think there’s anything worse,” Broaddrick said during the panel.

Broaddrick said that three weeks after the alleged assault, Hillary Clinton approached her at a political event and thanked her for helping with Clinton’s campaign for Arkansas governor. Broaddrick has claimed that she interpreted Hillary Clinton’s comment as an attempt to force her silence about the alleged assault, but there were no witnesses to the conversation. Hillary Clinton has never commented on Broaddrick’s charge.

Broaddrick sued Bill Clinton in 1999, but the case was dismissed in 2001.

Trump did not take questions during the 3-minute news conference. He dodged a question from a reporter who asked about his lewd comments about women.

The women are expected to attend his 9 p.m. debate with Hillary Clinton.