Herman Cain at his old stomping ground in Phoenix, AZ. Herman Cain at his old stomping ground in Phoenix, AZ.

Herman Cain repudiates charges

Herman Cain today repudiated the latest sexual charges by accuser Sharon Bialek, as fresh reports surfaced that make her not credible.

The fourth accuser

The latest charges against Herman Cain come from Sharon Bialek. In 1997 Bialek lost her job with the National Restaurant Association’s educational foundation in Chicago. Herman Cain was then head of the National Restaurant Association. (Bialek did Bialek spoke to the press yesterday, with high-profile attorney Gloria Allred by her side. As an aside: on Fox News Channel’s The Five, commentator Bob Beckel actually said this of Allred:

She doesn’t just chase ambulances; she owns an ambulance service.

Bialek says that she applied for a job with the NRA, and someone in the NRA referred her to Cain. Cain then upgraded her hotel room to a “palatial suite.” That alone, if it occurred, might cause a job applicant to wonder whether the interviewer had something more than a job in mind.

The details that Bialek gave of her interview with Cain are not suitable for publication here. By any reasonable standard whatever, such an episode would be more than legally actionable as “quid pro quo sexual harassment.” It would be a criminal assault, and she would be within her rights, if not civic-duty-bound, to swear out a warrant for his arrest.

So: why didn’t she go to the police? According to Allred, Bialek did complain to her then-boyfriend, and one other male acquaintance. Allred has affidavits from both. But she has no affidavits from anyone who actually saw Herman Cain do what Bialek accuses him of doing.

Bialek’s record

Herman Cain at his old stomping ground in Phoenix, AZ.
Herman Cain addresses the Tea Party Summit in Phoenix, AZ. Photo: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic License

Sharon Bialek’s record is not promising. “Gold-digger!” said columnist Andrea Peyser in the New York Post, according to Newsmax.com.

Sharon Bialek is 50, out of work, and according to one who knows her, she’s a smooth operator living way above her means…Enter Herman Cain.

Newsmax also cited this article in The Daily Mail. It gives more details about Bialek, and portrays a woman looking for a man to “keep” her. Among other things, she has filed twice for personal bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filings cause some to speculate that she is looking for a payoff. (See also this piece in The Chicago Tribune).

The key point: the man she is living with now, did not hear her Herman Cain story until Friday of last week.

She also once had an interesting address: 505 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL. David Axelrod, now one of Barack Obama’s leading advisers, also had an apartment in that building in those days.

This report might or might not be significant: Larry Sinclair, who has for years said that he and Obama once did sex and drugs together, accused Bialek of plagiarism. Specifically, he says that her description of Herman Cain’s behavior matches Sinclair’s own description of Obama’s. Aside from the plagiarism angle, Sinclair observes that Bialek had to read from a script to describe the incident.

[I[f it were my spouse, she would not have needed a piece of paper to “read” the details of the incident!

Herman Cain strikes back

Today at 3:00 p.m. MST (5:00 p.m. EST), in Scottsdale, AZ, Herman Cain spoke to the press himself. Talking very clearly, he made three points:

  1. He never behaved that way with anyone.
  2. He did not even recognize Sharon Bialek, nor her name.
  3. Nothing will stop him from running for President.

In short, Herman Cain flat-out accused Sharon Bialek of slander. And not just any slander: misprision of a felony. He had his own high-profile attorney by his side, but said nothing about whether he would sue Bialek. (Considering her financial history, Cain might seek nothing more than to have a judge find in open court that Bialek is a liar.)

Herman Cain speculated that the Democratic Party’s “machine” was recruiting his accusers (five at last count). Sharon Bialek is not the only accuser to have a Democratic Party or Obama connection. So that theory might be correct. But those accusers are just as likely to be all “after the money.” (Cain’s campaign manager earlier accused Governor Rick Perry. Perry in turn accused Mitt Romney. Both accusations have come to nothing.)

What happens next is anyone’s guess. But clearly Herman Cain is playing for keeps, and for high stakes. Is anyone else (other than the accusers themselves) playing games? If so, those are now very dangerous games.

Related:

Herman Cain: another Clarence Thomas?

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

candidate, election, politicians, president, Tea Party


Terry A. Hurlbut

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

Comments (8)

  • The behavior Cain is accused of (putting his hand up her skirt) isn’t exactly the kind of thing one does before witnesses. Expecting “affidavits from anyone who actually saw Herman Cain do what Bialek accuses him of doing” isn’t that far from expecting a rape victim to produce affidavits from someone who actually saw the rape.

    While I’m still undecided, the steadily increasing number of accusers is of great concern. I’m not sure if the better comparison would be Clarence Thomas or Tiger Woods.

    • Your comparison fails on this ground: only a conservative political figure would ever be

      1. a target of an organized conspiracy of spurious complainers, or
      2. vulnerable to the same.

      A liberal political figure has the defense of “it’s not something to complain about, but to celebrate.”

      We have willing dames enough. There cannot be
      That vulture in you to devour so many
      As would to greatness dedicate themselves,
      Finding it so inclin’d.

      MacBeth IV.iii.74-77

      • My comparison has nothing to do with liberal or conservative and it is perfectly valid. You compared what is happening to Cain with what happened to Thomas. Thomas had only one accuser, Cain is up to five (at latest count), Woods had how many…. a dozen or so.

        One more thing…. Cain is now declaring he won’t get out of the race. My observation is that not long after a public figure under this kind of fire claims they won’t step aside, it isn’t long before they do.

      • Remember when Dems used GOP rules to kick Tom DeLay out of sepkaer position because of allegations, nothing more? Press ignored Dems failure to hold themselves to a similar standard.

  • Herman Cain deserves the benefit of the doubt until and unless there is conclusive evidence of inappropriate behavior; however, a few key points remain unaddressed.

    First, the NRA paid significant settlements to not one, but two women who accused him of acts following a similar pattern. If someone has made baseless charges that can’t be backed up, it’s unlikely that they would be paid a year’s salary to ensure their silence in the matter – otherwise, it would be open season for false allegations. It’s more reasonable to conclude that there was enough credibility, evidence or both behind the NRA incidents to justify settlements at that level.

    Second, Cain is an intelligent man, and chooses his words carefully when the situation warrants it. I’ve looked at his actual quoted statements on the matter, and they reflect a lawyer’s skill in appearing to say one thing while literally meaning something else. For example, he can honestly state that has never committed acts of harassment if he doesn’t consider his acts to be harassment, but an over-reaction on the part of others. He can also honestly claim that harassment never took place if settlements were reached and signed that stated as much. The other speech pattern I’ve noticed is a heavy reliance on stating what he can or can’t recall, rather than whether actions did or didn’t take place. That’s a classic approach to present the appearance of a fact while not technically asserting it, so that there is room to maneuver if facts are later confirmed.

    His behavior reminds me of Bill Clinton’s back in 1991-2, when he used carefully-crafted statements and appearances with his wife to present the image of credibility in the face of accusations from several women. Ms. Bialek is being taken about as seriously as Gennifer Flowers was back then, and Clinton got away with it until the Lewinsky affair. The man stood under oath and played games with the meaning of the word “is” to mislead through a crafted series of factual statements, but reality caught up with him. Was the Lewinsky affair really a surprise change in his character then, or simply a confirmation of what many tried to call out early on?

    Cain is innocent until proven otherwise, but savvy business organizations don’t pay a year’s salary to silence baseless claims, and his verbal hedging is sending the message that there are things he is only willing to address indirectly, or not at all. He should request that the NRA release the non-disclosure provisions of these settlements, make the details public, address them candidly for whatever they are, and get back on track with an issues-focus campaign.

    • First, they weren’t settlements; they were severances, or rather, remittances.

      Second, those acts that Bialek accuses Cain of committing go way beyond harassment. They constitute felonious assault. I could get arrested for doing that to any woman who did not at once agree to let it continue. And any ;man who had done that to my wife, while she was alive, would have had to answer to me and the law.

      Third, savvy business organizations quite often do pay generous remittances to people to avoid the distracting hassle of a court battle, especially since courts these days have removed the presumption of innocence from any man (but not necessarily any woman) who finds himself in the same or similar situation. That is why a savvy man never agrees to a face-to-face alone with a woman without a chaperon.

      That said: in Cain’s place, I would be on the phone to the present head of the National Restaurant Association, asking them to break the seals. Especially since one of the women involved has already blown the gaffe. For all we know, Cain has done just that, and the NRA has simply told him that they would get back to him.

  • Whether they are technically referred to as severences or remittances, it is the basis for them that is the topic of controversy to be resolved.

    It’s wrong for me or anyone to speculate as to the content of those documents, and like you, I hope that they are release sooner than later to get the facts out. What is factual, though, is that at least one of the two women has stated through an attorney that the agreement was the closure of a process that began with accusations of behavior on the part of Cain, that the amount was roughly a year’s pay, and that the payment was conditioned on her silence regarding the matter.

    A year’s salary is a lot of severance for someone in that level of position, and the degree to which it’s atypical says a lot about the importance of making her and her accusations go away.

    That another, similar agreement was reached to make a second woman go away and remain silent adds to the perception that there’s a pattern.

    That there is at least one man who claims to have witnessed behavior many would consider questionable adds to that perception.

    Add two other women making claims of questionable behavior, and the perception that there is not just an incident or two, but a pattern, starts to form. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and while there’s not a fire yet there’s a LOT of smoke.

    Rightly or wrongly, it’s up to Cain to change that perception. Clinton’s character showed through his denial. Do did Anthony Wiener’s, Ted Haggard’s, Gary Hart’s… and the list can go on.

    Cain has an opportunity to truly set himself apart as different from the typical, but to do that his response needs to be as distinctly different, too. So far the pattern on his part seems all too familiar, but time will tell.

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