Lisa Bloom’s and Jill Harth’s statements to The Hill

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Read extended excerpts from the statements that women’s rights attorney Lisa Bloom and New York businesswoman Jill Harth gave in response to The Hill’s story on payments arranged and contemplated to Donald Trump accusers during the 2016 election.

Excerpts from statement of attorney Lisa Bloom concerning her discussions arranging donors to support women considering coming forward with allegations against Donald Trump during the 2016 election:

“As I’m sure you can appreciate, as an attorney I am bound by confidentiality laws and therefore cannot answer some of your questions, but the following should address most.  

“You’ll recall the very polarized and hostile atmosphere of [the] 2016 presidential election. Emotions were running high, there were incidents of violence on the campaign trail, and threats of violence were a real and abiding concern. Nonetheless, several brave women came forward to accuse Donald Trump of harassment and assault, starting with Jill Harth, the first woman to bravely speak out – months before the Access Hollywood recording was released. Jill referred a second Trump accuser to The Bloom Firm, Trump Woman Accuser #2 (“TW2”). Other women came forward as well. By October 2016, I was working with four accusers.

“In keeping with our usual practice, we vetted the women who accused Trump.  For example, our vetting of the woman that we, in good faith believe is TW2, included conducting a background check, asking her for photos (which she said she had) to corroborate her story or portions thereof, review of her social media, factual research, and following up with two other women identified by TW2 to corroborate material parts of her story.  To date TW2 has not retracted her story and I still believe her when she says Donald Trump assaulted her.

“Sexual assault victims are typically afraid and often change their minds about coming forward.  This is particularly true when the accused is wealthy and powerful because victims realize that they are putting their own reputation and ability to earn a living on the line, should they decide to take on powerful men. Multiply that well-founded fear times 1,000 in this case. So it was understandable that TW2 very much wanted to tell her story one day, changed her mind the next day, and on, and on. My job is not to make that big decision for a victim, but to advise her of the pros and cons and help her reach her goal.

“In fact, after we vetted TW2 and agreed to represent her, we advised her of the risks of speaking out and she decided that she did not want to come forward. We respected her decision and parted ways.  I wished her the best and she sent me words of appreciation.  

“Ultimately, two women were willing to go on the record and two were not. On November 3, 2016, Jane Doe (Accuser #3) agreed to speak at a press conference at my office.  During the lead-up to the press conference and after, she and I received multiple death and rape threats. Moments before the press conference was scheduled to begin, Jane Doe backed out.  I understood why. She was afraid. My heart went out to her as did many who could understand her fear and pain. Of course I respected her decision and helped her remove herself from the narrative.

“At that point, several donors came forward with offers of financial help to ensure the safety of the women who would come forward. I was happy to relay those offers of funds for relocation to a safer community and round the clock security.”

“After the aborted November 3, 2016, press conference involving Jane Doe, TW2 contacted me again and said that she had changed her mind again and wanted to come forward.  She said that she was moved by the plight of Jane Doe and wanted to speak out. She asked to be compensated, citing concerns for her safety and security and over time, increased her request for financial compensation to $2 million, which we told her was a non-starter.  We did relay her security concerns to donors, but none were willing to offer more than a number in the low six figures, which they felt was more appropriate to address her security and relocation expenses.”

“After TW2 agreed to come forward again, she again changed her mind several times. We patiently talked her through the pros and cons. Ultimately, we flew to Virginia to meet with her. She was not in the hospital. She said she was at home. We invited her to meet with us at the hotel restaurant and she accepted.   Ultimately, after another heartfelt discussion, she decided that she did not want to come forward, and we respected her decision.

“I can say unequivocally that we did not communicate with Hillary Clinton nor anyone from her campaign. We did not communicate with the Democratic National Committee or Perkins Coie (the DNC law firm) about the Trump accusers.  

“Your questions seem to imply that we were trying to use the prospect of donor funds to entice women to come forward against their will. Nothing can be further from the truth.  Some clients asked for small photo licensing fees while others wanted more to protect their security.  During this difficult and stressful time for everyone involved more than one Trump accuser, including TW2, sent me many, kind appreciative messages thanking me for the sensitivity that I showed them and the time that I spent helping them weigh their options. Months later TW2 sent me more appreciative texts and even a personal gift handmade by her daughter.

“We are a small, private civil rights firm. We do many cases pro bono — for a fee or significantly reduced rate. Our pro bono fee agreements generally say that in the unlikely event the client earns money from photo licensing or media deals, we take one third. This rarely happens, and when it does, it’s generally only a few thousand dollars. But it seems fair to us to have this possibility to help us make payroll, pay rent, insurance and other significant business costs, and our clients are happy to agree to it.

“I have spent my career representing women and some men who have been the victims of sexual harassment and assault. I am gratified at the change we are experiencing as a society where we are saying enough — and where people who have not been victims are doing what they can to support those who are. I hope that these changes will substantively alter the environment so women no longer have to put up with sexual misconduct. And I hope that those who come forward will no longer have to pay the heavy price that victims of the past had to pay. And I sincerely hope that anyone who has done these terrible things will no longer be afforded the privilege of serving the nation, regardless of political party.  As I write this, I am in Washington D.C. with another pro bono client, Marion Brown, who I represented against Democratic Congressman John Conyers.”

Excerpts of Lisa Bloom statement concerning her assistance to client Jill Harth:

“I always find it curious that people question how civil rights attorneys like me get paid, when no one asks how much money Donald Trump’s lawyers make. We do many pro bono cases at my law firm, The Bloom Firm. In these cases we help people for free or at a sharply reduced rate. This was the case for all four of the Trump accusers we represented in 2016.

“Without revealing any particular client’s agreement, our standard pro bono agreement for legal services provides that if a media entity offers to compensate a client for sharing his or her story we receive a percentage of those fees. This rarely happens. But, on occasion, a case generates media interest and sometimes (not always) a client may receive an appearance fee.  As a private law firm we have significant payroll, rent, taxes, insurance and other expenses every week, so an arrangement where we might receive some compensation to defray our costs seems reasonable to us and is agreed to by our clients.

“Jill Harth was the first woman to bravely speak out about sexual harassment and assault against Donald Trump — months before the Access Hollywood recording was released. She had filed a sexual harassment case against Donald Trump and had given sworn deposition testimony about his harassment of her in the 1990’s. Hence no one could claim that she was making up the story in 2016. In addition, her ex-husband was a corroborating witness to her allegations. My team and I worked hard reviewing her legal documents, conducting legal research, talking at length to Jill and witnesses, advising and advocating for her. I will not reveal the details of any of that work.

“I was proud to represent her and I still am. For months, Jill was the only woman brave enough to speak out about being sexually harassed by Donald Trump. She endured a tidal wave of hate for it. It was very painful for her. And as a New York City makeup artist, Jill lost jobs after she came out publicly against Donald Trump. I believed that people wanted to donate to help her, so we set up the GoFundMe account. Other donors reached out to my firm directly to help some of the women I represented. 
“We did not communicate with Hillary Clinton nor anyone from her campaign on any of this.

“We are not assisting Jill Harth with the sale of her memoir, nor would we take any of her book sales. I do look forward to reading her book.”

Excerpts of statement of Jill Harth concerning attorney Lisa Bloom’s work on her behalf:

“Nothing that you’ve said to me about my mortgage or the Go Fund Me that was created to help me out financially affects the facts or the veracity of my 1997 federal complaint against Donald J. Trump for sexual harassment and assault. In fact, my comments about him during his candidacy were only made in response to him opening the Pandora’s box about the complaint. 

“I went to a rally for Trump in January 2016 in South Carolina. We met and we had an understanding that we would let ‘sleeping dogs lie’ in regards to that old complaint.  But once the media rediscovered the complaint, Donald responded to it by repeatedly  denigrating and disparaging me and releasing an old National Enquirer article from the 1990’s that he planted.  

“The media stole photos off my website and social media and used them without permission or payment.  Lisa Bloom helped me protect my copyright for my website and to get some compensation for the photos that were already being used. Lisa Bloom guided me with who to tell my story to as it was being done anyway inaccurately without me saying a word.  I was besieged by media requests then, and still am today, because Donald continues to stir the pot by supporting others who are accused of doing the same thing he has done to me.  He continues to call me a liar and uses the White House as a weapon against me.

“Having to retell my experiences of Donald Trump’s harassment is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I consider myself lucky to have had Lisa Bloom by my side after my old lawsuit resurfaced. She advised me with great competence and compassion. As we were telling our stories, all of us were hit with frightening threats, hate, and lies dredged up by Trump’s investigators.

“Another accuser, who I knew and referred to Lisa, asked for monetary assistance so she could relocate. She kept changing her mind about whether she wanted to tell her story and ultimately she didn’t, which I understand. Lisa was patient and kind to her, as Lisa always was with me.”

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump sexual misconduct allegations Hillary Clinton John Conyers Lisa Bloom
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