Cárdenas starts legal defense fund for sex abuse lawsuit

Cárdenas starts legal defense fund for sex abuse lawsuit
© Greg Nash

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) has created a legal defense fund to cover the costs related to a suit that alleges he molested a teenage girl in 2007.

Cárdenas will be able to receive donations of up to $5,000 per year to offset legal costs, according to documents obtained by Politico. Registered lobbyists and foreign agents are barred from contributing and Cardenas is required to report donors’ identities every quarter, the news outlet reported.

“The congressman has established a defense fund in accordance with House rules,” said the attorney advising Cárdenas, Brian Svoboda of Perkins Coie, according to Politico.

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A young woman, who is now in her 20s, accused Cárdenas of drugging and fondling her in 2007.

Politico reports that Cárdenas's accuser, who was then a rising golf star, said the legislator invited her to go golfing.

Court documents allege that Cárdenas gave her water that “tasted distinctly different from both tap and filtered water,” and she collapsed.

Cárdenas’s accuser claims that as he took her to the hospital, he reached under her clothes and fondled her breasts and genitals.

The lawsuit alleges that his accuser did not object at the time because she “did not want to offend Mr. Cárdenas because she trusted him and he was a very powerful man in the community and in her family's lives.”

The accuser’s father worked for the lawmaker on the Los Angeles City Council and Capitol Hill, according to Politico.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiHillicon Valley: State officials share tech privacy concerns with Sessions | Senator says election security bill won't pass before midterms | Instagram co-founders leave Facebook | Google chief to meet GOP lawmakers over bias claims Collins defends ad showing opponent speaking Korean against claims of bigotry Hoyer questions feasibility of new threshold for Speaker nomination MORE (D-Calif.) has called for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee into the allegations against Cárdenas.

Cárdenas has called the allegations “categorically untrue.”