We now have a face — well, two faces — on the Herman Cain scandal, and we’re getting some insight into how Cain plans to defend himself against Sharon Bialek’s compelling if less-than-verifiable story.
In short, Cain plans to drag Bialek through the mud.
That started last night.
“After attacking Herman Cain through anonymous accusers for a week, his opponents have now convinced a woman with a long history of severe financial difficulties, including personal bankruptcy, to falsely accuse the Republican frontrunner of events allegedly occurring well over a decade ago for which there is no record, nor even a complaint filed,” Cain spokesperson JD Gordon said in a release.
There’s expected to me more talk like this at Cain’s press conference responding to Bialek scheduled for 5 PM Eastern.
Reports out today show that Bialek has had a troubled financial past, declaring personal bankruptcy twice, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Records show she twice has filed for personal bankruptcy, first in 1991 and then again in 2001. In the latter case, she claimed $5,700 in assets and more than $36,000 in liabilities. Among the creditors seeking payment was a management firm demanding back rent of $4,500, four credit card companies and a lawyer asking for his legal fees.
The IRS filed a tax lien against her in 2009 for nearly $5,200. In August, the Illinois Department of Revenue claimed Bialek owed the state more than $4,300, including penalties and interest, relating to income taxes from 2004, according to county records.
Financial problems, of course, have little to do with whether or not one is sexually harassed, but they are the exact kind of thing people looking to tear Bialek down will use. To wit: “Jobless & shameless gal going for gold,” reads the headline on Andrea Peyser’s New York Post column Monday.
Bialek took to the airwaves this morning to tell her story and defend against attacks like this. From The Atlantic Wire’s excellent summary of Bialek’s day on TV:
Bialek lamented that America has not come very far since the 1990s in dealing with sexual harassment. “It’s a shame, too, because here we are today, going through the the same difficulties, and it’s amazing that we as women are still fighting these things and are still embarrassed to talk about these things as we were back then.”
“I expected this … [but] this is not about me,” Bialek told ABC, according to the summary. “I am not the one running for president.”
Bialek is represented by Gloria Allred, which is a right wing attack meme in itself. According to The Atlantic, Allred told TV Monday she took the case pro-bono and has no political motivations for doing so, “saying though she’s given money to President Obama, she also represented one of the women Democratic Rep. Anthony Wiener sexted with before he resigned.”
But that hasn’t stopped the Cain campaign pointing to Allred as a reason to believe Bialek is a craven liar.
“It is noteworthy that Gloria Allred is a celebrity lawyer who specializes in generating publicity for herself and her clients,” Gordon wrote in the Cain statement. “The questions the media should be asking are who’s paying for Gloria Allred’s fee, how did Ms. Bialek get introduced to Ms. Allred, and was she paid to come forward with these false accusations or was she promised employment?”
Meanwhile, new details are emerging about the women who accused Cain of sexual harassment and (in the case of one, allegedly) settled with the National Restaurant Association. For some reason known to no one, the Daily — Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only newspaper — published details about one of the accusers that no one else has until now.
Cain has already trashed those women (in effect) by claiming he’s never harassed anyone and calling their claims — claims that produced tens of thousands in settlements — against him “baseless.”