Schnack says Dr. Phil never contacted him for comment, called Raoul’s request to Illinois Supreme Court for new sentence ‘dangerous’
QUINCY — Drew Schnack thought Wednesday’s interview of 16-year-old Cameron Vaughan of Quincy on the syndicated “Dr. Phil” talk show was “well done.”
However, the Quincy attorney representing 18-year-old Drew Clinton, who was found guilty in October of criminal sexual assault but released in January after an Adams County judge reversed his verdict, had a problem with a comment McGraw made.
Near the end of Wednesday’s broadcast, Dr. Phil McGraw interviewed Rosemarie Aquilina, a judge in the 30th Circuit Court in Ingham County, Mich. Aquilina gained national attention for presiding over the 2018 USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal trial, when she sentenced Larry Nassar to up to 175 years in prison.
After Aquilina gave her opinion on the case, Dr. Phil turned to the camera and said, “We reached out to Drew Clinton’s attorney. He did not respond to our request for comment.”
Schnack says that’s untrue.
“We had one person call the office and say, ‘I watched it, and I was really mad and really disappointed that when they reached out to you, you didn’t respond because I like to get both sides of the story. And I felt like you didn’t do that,’” Schnack said in a Friday afternoon interview.
“I’ve been getting calls like that for the last two days. I wasn’t going to respond, and then I talked to my wife and my secretary, and they said I should respond. Sydney (Smith) and Jill (McCue, legal assistants at Schnack Law Offices) checked emails, phone records, everything. We have nothing to indicate Dr. Phil ever contacted us. Nobody ever mentioned Dr. Phil to us, not at all.
“If (Dr. Phil) contacted me and we missed it, I’m sorry. It’s my fault. But if he didn’t contact us and he can’t prove that he tried to contact us, don’t say that I refused to answer questions.”
Schnack sent a letter to the show on Friday, asking why Dr. Phil made the comment about his refusal to talk about the case.
“Remember all the time you heard (President Donald) Trump bitching about the news media, the fake news?” He said. “I didn’t really put a lot of stock into it. Well, guess what? Dr. Phil says they reached out to me, and I didn’t respond. Sounds to me like maybe the idea of fake news is true as far as national media is concerned.”
Schnack thought the show didn’t give Clinton any cause of action to sue.
“They always said ‘alleged’ or ‘claimed’,” he said.
However, he thought Vaughan “stepped over the line” frequently during the interview.
“What bothered me most was her statement that ‘they found his DNA all over me,’ implying that he had raped her,” Schnack said. “He took his sweatshirt off and put it on her. It’s in the initial transcript. So yeah, there was DNA all over her. There also was DNA in her pubic area. No question about it. (Clinton) has always said he digitally penetrated her and that it was consensual.
“Interestingly, no semen from Drew Clinton was found in her underwear or her pants or anywhere in or on her. Three different DNA experts found none. That’s the issue. People have believed that when she says, ‘His DNA was all over me,’ they are inferring his semen was all over her, and it wasn’t.
“That’s the case right there. If she lies about one thing, she lies about everything. When her best statement is, ‘Well, I thought his penis was in me,’ and the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, well, guess what? ‘I thought’ isn’t beyond a reasonable doubt. What choice does (Judge) Bob Adrian have?”
Schnack says he no longer represents Clinton, and he would like to see the issue die a “natural death.”
“But that doesn’t appear to be happening,” he said. “I’ve always thought the more you stir it, the more it smells.”
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced Wednesday he will ask the Illinois Supreme Court to order Adrian to impose a new sentence to Clinton. Raoul filed a mandamus complaint and a motion for supervisory order asking the Supreme Court to direct Adrian to sentence Clinton “in accordance with state law.”
Schnack called Raoul’s request “dangerous.”
“Ask any attorney who has half a brain and been involved in the criminal justice system, and they will tell you the same thing,” he said. “Adrian makes his ruling, rightly or wrongly, and we accept it. We move on, whether I win or whether I lose. Now, regardless of what decision the trier of fact makes, whether it is a jury or a judge, if you can scream loud enough and get enough vocal people behind you and get on ‘Dr. Phil,’ you can pressure the attorney general in the state of Illinois to file petitions to somehow change a verdict.
“Is this politically motivated? Hell yes it is. How many other adverse verdicts have been out there that the attorney general got involved in? The answer is, I would guess, almost none.”
Schnack says he’s willing to represent Clinton again, but he won’t do it for free.
“I’d love to argue this before the Supreme Court. God, would I love to,” he said. “I’ve got a family to feed, and I’ve got people in my office who like to get paid on Fridays. If I go take on something like this, everybody ends up working for free. Well, that doesn’t go very long.
“The Supreme Court can issue its ruling and do whatever it wants to do, assuming it’ll even take it — which my guess is they won’t. Why wouldn’t Cammy Vaughn want to get on with her life and put this to rest? Enjoy high school and move on. If she needs counseling, get counseling. If she doesn’t need counseling, have a life instead of trying to do whatever they’re trying to do.”
Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?
Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.