Herman Cain’s campaign on Tuesday challenged the credibility of Sharon Bialek, who has publicly accused the GOP presidential candidate of making an unwanted sexual advance.
The campaign released a memo to the press detailing what it characterized as Bialek’s “long and troubled” history, including a 1999 paternity dispute, to argue that the public should trust Cain over his latest accuser.
“In stark contrast to Mr. Cain’s four decades spent climbing the corporate ladder rising to the level of CEO at multiple successful business enterprises, Ms. Bialek has taken a far different path,” the Cain campaign said.
The Cain campaign goes after Bialek’s employment history and legal record in making its case against her. It lists six civil lawsuits against Bialek, and suggests she has had a troubled worklife.
“Ms. Bialek has worked for nine employers over the last seventeen years,” the campaign wrote.
Bialek on Monday held a New York news conference to highlight an alleged incident in 1997 in which she said Cain sexually harassed and attempted to grope her. Cain has denied the charges.
At the time, Cain headed the National Restaurant Association, where Bialek worked for a short time in 1996 and 1997.
Bialek said she approached Cain for help in finding another job after she left the association.
With Allred at her side, Bialek said Cain, after a dinner in Washington, put his hand under her skirt and reached for her genitals. She also said Cain had taken her head and moved it toward his crotch.
When Bialek asked Cain to stop, she said Cain said, “You want a job, right?”
Cain’s release on Tuesday noted that the statute of limitations had expired and that Bialek could not take legal action against Cain.
“Which brings up the question of why she would make such reprehensible statements now?” the campaign stated. “The questions should be — who is financing her legal team, have any media agreed to pay for her story, and has she been offered employment for taking these actions?”
Bialek has strongly denied financial or political motivation for coming forward, noting that she is a registered Republican and that she opted not to sell her story when coming forward. She said that the bankruptcy proceedings stemmed from trying to pay a parent's medical bills.
“I could’ve sold my story, but I didn’t,” Bialek said on CNN’s “American Morning.” “My whole objective is to tell the truth.”
Bialek also defended employing Allred, a high-profile attorney who has been involved in many celebrity sex scandals and is a prominent Democratic donor. Allred herself said her pro-bono services were not politically motivated.
“I criticized Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner in New York with another client and said he should resign and he did ... I criticized President Clinton ... so, it doesn’t matter to me the party of the man,” Allred said on “American Morning.” “All of that is a deflection by him because he doesn’t want to deal with the sexual harassment issue.”
But Bialek did not completely rule out ever profiting from her story. Asked if she would ever do interviews for money or try to get a book deal, she equivocated.
“This isn’t why I came forward,” she said on Fox News. “… I’d have to think about that. That’s so far off the radar right now.”
The release of the memo suggests Cain’s campaign clearly believes attacking Bialek is the best way for it to weather the story of her accusations. Cain has not yet seen a substantial drop in his poll numbers, and continues to lead the Republican field.
But Bialek said she thought denying the allegations was “misguided.”
“My hope of all hopes is that he won’t [continue to deny the allegations] because I think he is being misguided by his people now,” she told Fox. “I think they are giving him really bad advice.”
An email to Allred asking for response to the Cain news release was not immediately returned.
Cain is expected to sit for an interview with ABC News and Yahoo as part of a candidate forum later Tuesday afternoon, and then conduct a general news conference later in the evening.