Tara Reade’s attorney asks Biden to authorize search of his Senate papers
Tara Reade’s attorney is asking presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to authorize a search of his Senate papers for a complaint she reportedly filed around 1993.
Reade’s attorney, Douglas Wigdor, wrote a letter to Biden on Monday requesting the candidate “immediately open up” his archives at the University of Delaware and authorize a search to determine whether they contain any records related to Reade.
Reade says Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 while she was a staff assistant to the then-senator. Biden denies the allegation.
Reade said she wrote and submitted accusations of workplace discrimination and harassment by Biden as part of a “Request for counseling” form at the time, Wigdor wrote in the letter obtained by The Hill.
She has said she believes her complaint is in Biden’s Senate records, housed at the University of Delaware. Biden said in an interview with MSNBC last week that he would not authorize the release of his Senate records or allow them to be searched for mentions of Reade’s name.
“The fact is that there’s a lot of things that — of speeches I have made, positions I have taken, interviews that I did overseas with people, all of those things relating to my job. And the idea that they would all be made public and the fact, while I was running for a public office, they could be really taken out of context,” Biden said in the interview.
The university has said that it will not release the records until two years after Biden has retired from public life.
In a statement posted to Medium earlier this month Biden also claimed records of such an allegation would not be recorded in the Senate papers held at the University of Delaware.
“The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files. It is the practice of Senators to establish a library of personal papers that document their public record: speeches, policy proposals, positions taken, and the writing of bills,” he wrote.
Reade previously asked the Office of the Secretary of the Senate to release a copy of the request, but she was denied.
Biden has also asked the secretary of the Senate to locate a possible harassment complaint filed by Reade.
The secretary of the Senate’s office said the Senate legal counsel has advised that the “Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested in Vice President Biden’s letter of May 1.”
A Biden campaign official was not immediately available for comment in response to Wigdor’s letter.
In the letter, Wigdor writes to Biden than it is “obvious” that his “belated request” for the secretary of the Senate to release the information “was disingenuous and sent knowing full well that the Senate (as it has) would defer to antiquated and vague rules procedures to keep the content of Ms. Reade’s Request hidden from the public eye, and protects a former, over 30-year Senate member.”
“It is truly unfortunate that the Senate has chosen to rely (albeit incorrectly) on draconian confidentiality provisions enacted decades ago to conceal the truth about Ms. Reade’s allegations against you from the public. As I am sure you would agree, the Senate’s position is particularly gratuitous where both Ms. Reade and you want this information released,” Wigdor wrote.
Wigdor also sent a separate letter Monday to Dan Schwager, the general counsel to the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, asking for Reade’s request to be released. Wigdor noted in the letter that Biden has also requested for the information to be disclosed.
Wigdor’s firm confirmed to The Hill last week he was representing Reade.
That news was first reported by The Associated Press, which noted that the lawyer donated about $55,000 in campaign contributions to Trump in 2016. He also reportedly donated to some Democrats in the past, including Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.).
Wigdor is known for working on cases related to harassment and assault. He previously represented six women who accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, as well as a number of Fox News employees in cases alleging gender and racial discrimination, according to the AP.