Lawyer for Cain’s accuser: She wants to tell her side of the story
posted at 7:25 pm on November 1, 2011 by Allahpundit
She wants to, but … she can’t because of the confidentiality provisions in the settlement agreement. That puts Cain in a tough spot. Even though it’s up to the NRA, not him, to waive those provisions, the media will want to know if he thinks they should. If he says no, it looks like he has something to hide and that he’s afraid of what she might say. If he says yes, the NRA might very well issue the waiver and then this story is suddenly rolling along again. Obviously, if she wants to speak publicly, she thinks she has something damaging to say about him.
Lawyer Joel P. Bennett called on the National Restaurant Association, where the woman and Cain worked in the late 1990s, to release the woman from her written promise not to talk about the allegations or disparage the trade group.
“It is just frustrating that Herman Cain is going around bad-mouthing the two complainants, and my client is blocked by a confidentiality agreement,” Bennett said. “The National Restaurant Association ought to release them and allow them to respond.”…
“If we didn’t have a written settlement agreement that says confidential and no disparagement, I think she’d be very comfortable coming forward,” the attorney told The Post on Tuesday. “Not because she would be so hellbent on doing something to Herman Cain — I don’t know that.
“For all practical purposes, Herman Cain has already done that” — waived confidentiality, Bennett said. “But legally that might not constitute a waiver.”
Interestingly, Bennett doesn’t remember being at the NRA to negotiate the terms of the agreement and thinks it might have been handled over the phone “quite expeditiously,” in WaPo’s words. The more pro forma the process was, the more likely it seems this was a nuisance settlement and not some blockbuster allegation that made NRA lawyers scramble. That’s the good news for Cain; the bad news is that Bennett might be right about him having already breached the confidentiality agreement by publicly discussing specific details of the charges. Any employment lawyers care to weigh in on that? After yesterday’s endlessly evolving storyline about whether and when Cain knew about the settlements (click this link and cringe), I’m not even sure that he signed the agreement. Can you breach a contract whose terms you don’t know and to which you’re not a party?
His PAC is now fundraising off of this story, by the way, alleging that it’s another “high-tech lynching” of a black conservative. According to Mark Block, the campaign itself had its biggest day yet online yesterday, raising more than $250,000. I sure hope he’s innocent; if he’s letting blue-collar supporters show solidarity by plowing hard-earned money into his coffers when he knows there’s more to this story than has come out, it’d be a disgrace. Exit question via Conor Friedersdorf: The conservative knock on Romney is that he’ll get rolled by Democrats as president because he stands for nothing. There are no ideological red lines he’ll refuse to cross because, allegedly, there are no ideological red lines for him in the first place. Isn’t Cain in a similar position, though? In his case it’s not a lack of principle that’s the problem, it’s a lack of policy expertise. He frequently hedges his answers by emphasizing that he’ll rely on “experts” and thorough briefings as president to make sound, informed decisions. (He actually deferred to his economic advisor on a question about 9-9-9 yesterday at the National Press Club). But as Friedersdorf says, the more you let experts fill in the policy blanks for you, the more power those experts have to subtly shape your policy decisions. It’s not the same problem as Romney’s — the worry there is that Mitt will be influenced by Democrats, not his own advisors — but it’s a problem if you’re someone who frets about the corrupting effect of the Republican establishment. A lot of those experts and advisors will come from the establishment. How confident are you that Cain will tell them no when they’re pushing him, replete with carefully selected “facts,” to make some deal that’s bad for the right?
Update: Cain was on “Special Report” tonight and was pressed by Bret Baier on whether the confidentiality provisions should be waived. His answer, via the Corner:
“I can’t answer that now because there are legal implications,” Cain told Fox News regarding the Washington Post article that the woman would like to speak. “If the restaurant association waives that [confidentiality agreement] … I just found out about this today. There are legal implications associated with that that I’m not totally familiar with yet, so I can’t give you a definitive answer on that until we consult with our legal attorneys and also talk to some others. We can’t answer that right now. It’s too soon.”
Cain said he was “absolutely” certain he had not violated his side of the confidentiality agreement because he had not named the women involved…
In response to whether he thought his being a black conservative was related to the charges coming out, Cain said, “I believe the answer is yes, but we do not have any evidence to support it.”
He also said he should have been “better prepared” to deal with the story when it broke.