GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain has been huffing and puffing his way around charges that two women who worked for him during the 1990s while he was President of the National Restaurant Association were sexually harassed by him.
The Washington Post
reports that now, however, we may get a clearer picture of just what went on if the lawyer for one victim is successful in getting the company to waive the secrecy part of her settlement so that she can talk about it now.
Cain, over the past few days, since the allegations surfaced, has called the accusations of sexual harassment against him "a witch hunt". The lawyer for one of the women who is a federal worker living in suburban Maryland, Joel P. Bennett, says it's really a shame that she is not allowed to speak up.
“It is just frustrating that Herman Cain is going around bad-mouthing the two complainants, and my client is blocked by a confidentiality agreement. The National Restaurant Association ought to release them and allow them to respond.”
reports that Bennett plans to contact the National Restaurant Association’s general counsel Wednesday to request that the organization remove the non-disclosure language from the woman’s settlement.
“I’m going to ask him to send me something in writing which says that they’re waiving the relevant paragraphs of the 1999 settlement."
Bennett explains that his client is barred from publicly talking about her side of the incidents because of the nondisclosure agreement she signed when she left National Restaurant Association. Cain was President there from 1996 through 1999.
Cain appeared on Fox News on Tuesday, and declined to indicate whether he thinks the nondisclosure agreement should be lifted, saying he is consulting with a lawyer. And the Restaurant Association issued a statement saying it had not yet been approached by the lawyer, but would "respond as appropriate."
Up to now, only Herman Cain's version of any such events has been aired publicly, and has continued to say that his recollections are hazy. He's not losing much support over the controversy and reports from his campaign are that he had a banner fund-raising day on Monday.
Bennett’s client is relatively eager to share her story. But someone she knows who spoke to Politico on condition of anonymity, reveals that she is wary of having her name made public. This source says, the woman “did not create this story,” and yet she feels she has been completely swept up in this hurricane, but she is talking things over with her family if she should make her story public.
The woman’s claim reportedly is that the harassment happened over a period of months, and was not an isolated comment or incident. .
Bennett has said he has his client's permission to talk with the media. He says he knows she is frustrated that Cain has been dismissive of the women's allegations.
“Mr. Cain is making statements that make it look like there was no merit to her complaint. She’s a highly intelligent, educated woman who has a sense of integrity and doesn’t make false claims.”
When reporters asked Bennett whether his client wanted to stay anonymous or go public, he chuckled and said,
“It’s not quiet — it’s far from quiet. The media has staked out her home.”
And Bennett said because of this his client is
“staying with relatives at an undisclosed location.”
Cain appeared on Fox News Tuesday evening and was asked about Bennett's comments. He said he couldn't answer whether he would ask the NRS to waive the confidentiality agreement.
“There are legal implications if the Restaurant Association waives that. I just found out about this today; there are legal implications. We can’t answer that right now. It’s too soon.”