GLORIA ALLRED PRESS CONFERENCE WITH NEW HERMAN CAIN ACCUSER UPDATE: VIDEO, HEADLINES ADDED UPDATE II: CAIN CAMPAIGN: ‘ALL ALLEGATIONS … COMPLETELY FALSE’
Posted on | November 7, 2011 | 140 Comments
UPDATE 3:18 p.m. ET: Video via Nice Deb:
A quick sample of headlines:
Woman: Herman Cain put hand up my skirt
— USA Today
Herman Cain and Sharon Bialek: How it came about
— Washington Post
UPDATE 3:35 p.m. ET: The Anchoress speaks:
The MSM will do its “penance” for ignoring Juanita Brodderick by conferring absolute moral authority upon Sharon Bialek, who (again, if its all true, and we really will never know) has had the good luck of experiencing such a sickening encounter at the hands of a Republican candidate for president, and not a Democrat. She will be believed, at least, and she will not be trashed. And for her sake and her son’s I’m glad of that.
Will conservatives passively accept the power of the media (and Gloria Allred) to choose the GOP’s presidential candidate? Will there be no pushback from conservatives against this?
This presumption would seem to ignore the possibility that Cain’s supporters might react by saying, “To hell with this! We don’t give a damn what happened in 1997! We’re tired of these kinds of sleazy games and we’re sticking with Herman Cain!”
UPDATE 3:53 p.m. ET: Press release from Cain campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon:
Just as the country finally begins to refocus on our crippling $15 trillion national debt and the unacceptably high unemployment rate, now activist celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred is bringing forth more false accusations against the character of Republican front-runner Herman Cain.
All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false. Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone. Fortunately the American people will not allow Mr. Cain’s bold “9-9-9 Plan”, clear foreign policy vision and plans for energy independence to be overshadowed by these bogus attacks.
UPDATE 4:10 p.m. ET: Michelle Malkin seems skeptical of the accuser:
She didn’t report the incident because she was “embarrassed.”
Bialek saw Cain at a Tea Party event last month and asked “Do you remember me?”
“I really didn’t want to be here today.”
At end of her statement, she giggled. She talked about her new hairdo.
Allred confirms that Bialek did not notify NRA about the incident. Bialek smiled. Won’t comment when asked about the “emotional trauma” of the incident.
So Bialek is single with a teenage child, with no discernible means of income, and employing a top Democrat hit woman celebrity attorney and her employment law partner.
Over the weekend at the AFP conference, several people told me that they had reason to believe this story was coming from Chicago. IYKWIMAITYD. And while this kind of suspicion has nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of the accusation, it is certainly interesting. While I have always suspected Team Perry of pushing the story, the idea that Team Obama might be responsible cannot be ruled out.
UPDATE 4:30 p.m. ET: Cornell University Law Professor William Jacobson:
Summary of press conference: Woman alleges that in 1997 after her employment terminated with a National Restaurant Association affiliate, Cain made a single sexual advance at her which she rebuffed and which he stopped after she said no. So the allegation is not one of workplace “sexual harassment” but of an alleged attempt at infidelity.
A variety of people on Twitter are characterizing this as a “serious sexual assualt,” but that is farfetched. Assuming what she says is true, he stopped when she said to stop and she did not allege any actual sexual touching, only an attempt. She says she mentioned to two people at the time that Cain was sexually inappropriate, but did not mention to details to them.
In an interview after Ms. Bialek’s news conference, Joel P. Bennett, a lawyer for one of Mr. Cain’s anonymous accusers, said that Ms. Bialek’s claims were “very similar” in nature to the incident that occurred between his client and Mr. Cain…
“It corroborates the claim,” Mr. Bennett said of Ms. Bialek’s allegation. Asked whether that meant that Mr. Cain had physically touched his client inappropriately, Mr. Bennett said “I can’t get more specific” but added that “I can say it is corroborating.”
EXPECT FURTHER UPDATES . . .
UPDATE 2:38 p.m. ET: The press conference is over and so we now must think about what we’ve just heard.
Did Sharon Bialek’s account of events seem plausible? Yes.
If you had 14 years to develop a narrative of an event that happened in 1997, would your account of that event be plausible? Also, yes.
We have here the basic “he-said, she-said” problem involved in such cases. What Bialek says happened would be very bad if it actually happened as she describes it. But there were no witnesses, there is no evidence, and the affidavits of two people to whom Bialek told her story in 1997 are inadmissable as hearsay. You could not convict Herman Cain in court based on such evidence, and yet the behavior described, if it is not criminal, certainly does fit within the category of “sexual harassment.” However . . .
There is no need to minimize the seriousness of sexual harassment in order to understand the difficulties that arise from trying to reach the hurdle of “beyond a reasonable doubt” involving private behavior where witnesses and evidence are lacking, and where the rights of the accused are derided as irrelevant. Liberals who hold candlelight vigils for condemned cop-killers will, without any sense of irony, insist that whenever a man is accused of sexual misconduct by a woman, the man must automatically be presumed guilty.
Well, it is not for me to decide how people react to this accusation, and so I will cease to offer my own reaction, except to say: Why wait 14 years? Oh. That’s right: The accused is leading the GOP field for president.
So if you make a pass at a woman, and are rejected, you can kiss good-bye whatever plans you had for becoming president — as a Republican.
I’ll be back to aggregate the headlines and blog reaction.
UPDATE 2:08 p.m. ET: Cain allegedly fondled her leg and tried to kiss her while they were alone in a car, Bialek says. When she said stop, he did. And so your headline is:
DISGRUNTLED FORMER EMPLOYEE SAYS
HERMAN CAIN MADE A PASS AT HER
UPDATE 2:01 p.m. ET: Bialek “reached out” to Cain after being terminated from her job. He met her at the Capitol Hilton in July 1997, where he had arranged for her to have the presidential suite. Bialek and Cain met at the lobby bar, then went to dinner at an Italian restaurant.
UPDATE 1:57 p.m. ET: The accuser is Sharon Bialek.
UPDATE 1:40 p.m. ET: Either the press conference is late in beginning or else the cable news networks aren’t carrying it live. Will update as soon as facts are available.
* * * PREVIOUSLY 1:15 p.m. ET * * *
Gloria Allred will hold a 1:30 p.m. press conference at the Friars Club in New York. I’ll blog updates live. Greta Van Susteren has the press release:
Herman Cain and Sexual Harassment
New Woman Who Alleges Sexual Harassment By Cain
To Hold News Conference With Her Attorney Gloria Allred.
A woman who alleges that she was sexually harassed by Presidential hopeful, Herman Cain, when she sought his help with an employment issue when he was President of the National Restaurant Association will hold a news conference with her Attorney, Gloria Allred on Monday, November 7th, at 1:30 p.m. (e.s.t.) at the Friars Club, 57 East 55th Street New York, NY 10022.
The woman is not one of the three women who have previously been reported to have alleged sexual harassment by Cain.
Ms. Allred’s client will be the first to give her name and to speak out about details of what she alleges occurred between her and Cain.
Note: Credentialed Press Only – Cameras may begin to set up at 12:30 p.m. at the Friars Club.
Note: There will be no interviews or questions answered before the news conference.
My personal feeling is that this is the best thing that can happen to Herman Cain in this situation. He cannot refute vague accusations, and the credibility of his accusers cannot be assessed so long as the accusers remain anonymous. So for a woman to come forward, under her own name, and make her accusations under the glare of the Klieg lights — this is good news if Cain is innocent, as he has insisted. More headlines:
Lawyer: 4th Cain accuser will speak publicly Monday
— Washington Post
Because I was out running “honey-do” errands this morning, I missed the initial announcement. Smitty posted the first alert and then called to tell me about it. Smitty’s “zombie/brains” metaphor is clever.
Perhaps at some future flesh-time meeting, Smitty and I can have a discussion about the factors involved in deciding whether a breaking news development should be headlined with clever metaphors, puns, allusions, etc. At any rate — spilled milk, water under the bridge, hindsight 20/20 — our cleverness quota having already been amply fulfilled on this story, I decided to go with the Joe Friday just-the-facts-ma’am headline on this follow-up, which will be the live-blog report.