The PJ Tatler

Cain Describes Hand Gesture in Sexual Harassment Allegation (Updated)

This seems innocuous, but the fact that Cain is having to talk about it instead of what he’d planned to talk about this week probably isn’t helping. The description is from an interview that Cain did with Fox’s Greta Van Susteren, which will air on her show tonight.

Van Susteren asked Cain how often he saw the woman.  “I might see her in the office because her office was on the same floor as my office,” Cain said.  Van Susteren asked whether the woman traveled with Cain, who spent a lot of time on the road speaking to restaurant associations around the country.  “No, never,” Cain said.

Cain said the woman was “younger than I was,” but he could not recall her age.  Pressed, he said, “It would have had to have been late 30s, early 40s.”

Van Susteren asked what Cain did that led to the accusation.  There were reportedly more than one accusations in the complaint, but Cain said he recalled just one incident.  “She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying — and I was standing close to her — and I made a gesture saying you are the same height as my wife.  And I brought my hand up to my chin saying, ‘My wife comes up to my chin.'”  At that point, Cain gestured with his flattened palm near his chin.  “And that was put in there [the complaint] as something that made her uncomfortable,” Cain said, “something that was in the sexual harassment charge.”

That’s a whole lotta nothing. But it’s not the entire complaint, since Cain says it was “in the sexual harassment charge.”

I’ve come around to seeing how the allegation could have been resolved and a settlement paid out, without Cain knowing directly about it. I was assuming that the NRA would have paid the settlements themselves, but it’s probably the case that the association’s insurance paid them. The association’s lawyers would have had him recuse himself from the investigation, to shield him and the association from any hint that he was leaning on the investigation in any way. So if he is recused, and the insurance company concludes that a settlement will cost less than the legal case will and they strike a fairly cheap settlement with the accusers, then you get a settlement without Cain having any direct knowledge of the details. And, he never sees the settlement figures. The association’s lawyers would simply tell him that it’s resolved, and that’s that.

Update: On the other hand, Cain is remembering more this afternoon than he did this morning.

When van Susteren asked how much money was involved, Cain said. “Maybe three months’ salary. I don’t remember. It might have been two months. I do remember my general counsel saying we didn’t pay all of the money they demanded.”

Van Susteren is a lawyer, and that question looks like a very shrewd bit of cross-examination. This morning on Fox, Cain said he didn’t know there was a settlement at all. Now he’s acknowledging knowing that there was, and that he had some idea of the size of the settlements. Hm.