The PJ Tatler

Lawyer: Cain Accuser Doesn't Want to 'Relive Incidents' (Update: NRA Responds)

Attorney Joel Bennett delivered brief remarks on behalf of his client, whom he did not identify except to say that she currently works for the government and who has been married for 26 years, and who in 1999 accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment. Bennett said he was retained by his client in 1999, who stands by the complaint that she made at the time. She does not want to “relive” the incidents, which she says occurred over a period of about a month while she worked for Mr. Cain at the National Restaurant Association. Because she does not wish to relive the incidents and does not want to expose herself and her family, Bennett would not go into any detail about the allegations. He said that the non-disclosure agreement is not restraining her from talking, and he did not call upon the National Restaurant Association to lift that NDA. Bennett said the case was settled before it got to the point at which he would have evaluated it for litigation, and would not comment on the strength of her case. He said he believes that the complaint was filed in July 1999 and settled in September 1999, which would have been after Cain left the NRA in June, 1999. Bennett said the settlement was not a severance agreement, but a settlement of a claim of sexual harassment. He would not describe the amount of the settlement.

Saying that “where there’s smoke there’s fire,” Bennett said that the fact that three women have made claims of sexual harassment against Cain suggest that he has a pattern of misbehavior. He said that Cain’s claims that the accusations are “baseless” are not accurate. His client wanted to respond to those claims, but in a way that would not expose her.

Update: The National Restaurant Association responds:

“We have seen the statement Joel Bennett released earlier today on behalf of his client, a former employee of the Association. The Association consented to the release of that statement, at the request of Mr. Bennett’s client.

“Based upon the information currently available, we can confirm that more than a decade ago, in July 1999, Mr. Bennett’s client filed a formal internal complaint, in accordance with the Association’s existing policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. Mr. Herman Cain disputed the allegations in the complaint. The Association and Mr. Bennett’s client subsequently entered into an agreement to resolve the matter, without any admission of liability. Mr. Cain was not a party to that agreement. The agreement contains mutual confidentiality obligations. Notwithstanding the Association’s ongoing policy of maintaining the privacy of all personnel matters, we have advised Mr. Bennett that we are willing to waive the confidentiality of this matter and permit Mr. Bennett’s client to comment. As indicated in Mr. Bennett’s statement, his client prefers not to be further involved with this matter and we will respect her decision.

“The Association has robust policies designed to ensure that employees with concerns may bring them forward for prompt investigation and resolution, without risk of retaliation. The Association is fully committed to equal employment opportunity and to an environment that is free from any discrimination or harassment.”