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Wife of Clarence Thomas asks Anita Hill to consider an apology

By the CNN Wire Staff
Justice Clarence Thomas' wife says her message to Anita Hill was an olive branch. Hill says it was inappropriate.
Justice Clarence Thomas' wife says her message to Anita Hill was an olive branch. Hill says it was inappropriate.
  • Hill's testimony in 1991 almost sank Thomas' Supreme Court nomination
  • Ginni Thomas says she reached out to Hill to extend "an olive branch"
  • Hill says she won't apologize

(CNN) -- The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said Tuesday that she reached out to Anita Hill, whose accusations of sexual harassment almost derailed Thomas' high court nomination 19 years ago.

In a statement to CNN, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas said: "I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get past what happened so long ago. That offer still stands, I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same. Certainly no offense was ever intended."

Hill, a law professor at Brandeis University, turned the message over to campus security, a university spokesman said.

According to a source at Brandeis who spoke on condition of not being identified, the message left over the weekend said:

"Good morning, Anita Hill, it's Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology some time and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day."

Hill, who formerly worked for Clarence Thomas, testified at his 1991 Senate confirmation hearing that he used inappropriate sexual language around her. The testimony dominated the hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which deadlocked on the nomination to send it to the full Senate without a recommendation. The Senate approved Thomas' nomination on a 52-48 vote.

Charles Radin, the Brandeis director of news and communications, said Hill received the voicemail message and turned it over to the campus Department of Public Safety, which then turned it over to the FBI.

"I certainly thought the call was inappropriate," Hill said in a statement to CNN issued by Brandeis. "I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony."

Ginni Thomas is a conservative activist who founded the organization Liberty Central.