Celebrity-sleaze lawyer Gloria Allred showed up late for her press conference to debut the fourth woman to accuse Herman Cain of sexual harassment, and decided to break the ice with a visibly grumpy press audience by describing Cain’s alleged offense against her clients as follows: “He decided to provide her with his idea of a stimulus package.” Short of actually appearing in a clown suit, it would have been hard to imagine a better way for Allred to make a farce of her big announcement.
Unlike the other three Cain accusers, Allred’s client has a name, and a specific allegation. She’s a former employee of the National Restaurant Association’s educational foundation from Chicago named Sharon Bialek, who feels she was unfairly terminated for failing to raise sufficient funds, fourteen years ago. She says she reached out to Cain for help getting a new job. When she arrived in Washington to meet with him in 1997, she discovered he had upgraded her hotel suite… presumably as glittering bait for the predatory trap she claims he sprung upon her after driving her to the National Restaurant Association offices.
There, in an encounter witnessed by no one else, Bialek claims Cain “put his hand under my skirt, grabbed my leg, and reached for my genitals” while trying to force her head down to his crotch.
“What are you doing? That’s not what I came here for!” Bialek recalls herself saying. Cain’s response, in classic casting-couch style, was supposedly, “You want a job, don’t you?” She nevertheless says he backed off after she objected to his behavior.
Bialek filed no complaint, although Allred says she’s got sworn affidavits from Bialek’s boyfriend at the time, and another male acquaintance, that she complained to them about Cain’s “inappropriate behavior.” She now says she just wants Cain to admit to her accusations and “come clean” so he can get back to his presidential campaign, which makes one wonder why she would hire a high-powered celebrity lawyer. It will be fun to watch the parade of Democrat Party hacks from the Nineties rolling across interview sets and explaining how Bilek’s accusations are somehow (a) more credible and (b) worse, even if true, than Bill Clinton’s behavior.
Allred sounded a lot less forgiving than her client, introducing Bialek with a lengthy tirade about the dangers of electing an unknown and inexperienced president again, which is probably not the attack on Herman Cain that Obama supporters wanted to hear. Of course, a sincere woman could hire a buffoonish attorney with a dodgy reputation, and Allred’s overheated introduction is not what Americans will see on the evening news shows tonight.
Bialek didn’t sound especially credible to me, although I’ve heard other reactions to the contrary, so it remains to be seen how the public will react. She’s an unhappy former employee of the National Restaurant Association making “he said, she said” allegations that are virtually impossible for Cain to “disprove,” after a week of saturation media coverage made him an easy target. That doesn’t seem like the kind of fuel this story needed to remain alive with a public growing tired of “breaking news” about nameless people making vague allegations about things that happened 15 years ago.
As for Cain, his campaign released a statement immediately:
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.
A poll finally surfaced that shows Cain’s popularity suffering from the sexual harassment scandal, courtesy of Reuters:
The poll showed the percentage of Republicans who view Cain favorably dropped 9 percentage points, to 57 percent from 66 percent a week ago.
Among all registered voters, Cain’s favorability declined 5 percentage points, to 32 percent from 37 percent.
The survey represents the first evidence that sexual harassment claims dating from Cain’s time as head of the National Restaurant Association have taken a toll on his presidential campaign.
A majority of respondents, 53 percent, believe sexual harassment allegations against Cain are true despite his denials. Republicans were less likely to believe they are true, with 39 percent thinking they are accurate.
It was an online poll of “adults,” so it is recommended the data be consumed with a very large grain of salt.
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