Event organizer: Biden, accuser were never alone together

The organizer of a Nevada campaign rally said late Saturday that Joe BidenJoe BidenNew York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Graham invites Giuliani to testify about recent Ukraine trip Booker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications MORE and the former state assemblywoman who accused the former vice president of inappropriate contact at the event were never alone together.

"I have thoroughly reviewed photographic documentation from the event, and spoken to nearly every principle in attendance, as well as staff associated with the event. To the best of our recollection, at no time were Lucy Flores and Vice President Biden alone," Henry Muñoz, co-founder of Latino Victory Project, said in a statement.

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Flores on Friday accused former Vice President Biden, who is expected to announce his 2020 presidential campaign in the coming weeks, of inappropriately touching her at the rally when she was running for lieutenant governor of Nevada in 2014.

Flores wrote in The Cut that Biden put his hands on her shoulders, leaned in to smell her hair and kissed the back of her head while she stood next to the stage at the campaign event.

"My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused," she wrote.

Flores added that she had "never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before."

Muñoz said in his statement that Biden had his own holding room at the event, while Flores waited in the same room that he, organization leaders, advance staff and campaign staff did. 

"In the moments before the Vice President and the candidate went onstage to address supporters and press, they were together just off stage left, and surrounded by security, medical and production staff," Muñoz said.

"Lucy is my good friend and a good friend to Latino Victory, which has strongly supported her political career. I also firmly believe that women need to be supported and heard and that there is a reckoning in our culture that is long overdue. Vice President Biden is also my close friend, to the degree that he presided over my own marriage. These are both individuals that I love and respect," he said.

"Yet at no time were these two leaders alone together and I, and the organization I cofounded and those in attendance, do not believe that circumstances support allegations that such an event took place," he added.

Flores said during an appearance Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Muñoz's statement is  "entirely irrelevant."

"Henry needs to go back and actually read my piece, because I never claimed that I was alone with him. In fact, I very clearly say that this occurred in the chaos of a rally," she said. "This is something that we have known for a long time. ... This isn’t something that’s new.”

She also said that she wants the former vice president "to acknowledge this was wrong."

"I'm glad that he's willing to listen," she said.

"If he is saying he never believed that was inappropriate, then frankly I believe that's a little bit of a disconnection. And ... a sense of not being aware," Flores added. "I want him to change his behavior and I want him to acknowledge that it was wrong."

Her remarks came shortly after Biden in a statement said he has offered “countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort” in his many years on the campaign trail and in public life.

“And not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately,” he added. “If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump executive order aimed at combating anti-Semitism stirs up controversy Booker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications Democrats threaten to skip next debate over labor dispute MORE (Mass.) and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, both 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, said Saturday that they believe Flores.

 

 

--This report was updated at 12:25 p.m.