For most of 2017, Rep. Al Green (D-TX) had spent his time strategizing for the impeachment of Donald Trump. Yesterday, however, Green shifted gears in a bizarre statement that tended to suggest Green was impeaching himself over an as-yet-unknown scandal. Without any prompting, Green’s congressional office released a joint statement with former staffer Lucinda Daniels that emphasized a relationship as “friends” — mentioning it five times in seven sentences:
A new, out-of-nowhere statement from @RepAlGreen.
Spox: "The attached statement is in reference to a circumstance that occurred in 2008. This circumstance did not involve the Cong. Office, nor the Office of Employment Counsel & did not involve the use of any taxpayer money." pic.twitter.com/EkK9XrwXDL
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) November 27, 2017
Lachlan Markay dug up a 2008 article in the Houston Chronicle that spelled out a settlement between Green and Daniels. The article characterized the complaint as a discrimination suit that had been resolved with an amicable settlement that involved no payment:
U.S. Rep. Al Green has withdrawn a lawsuit he filed in September asking a federal judge to find that he never discriminated against an ex-employee.
Green’s attorney, Ben Hall, asked last week that the case be dismissed because Lucinda Daniels, without payment or promise of money, signed a written agreement dismissing and releasing all claims against Green.
Lawyers for the two sides released the following joint statement Monday: “Congressman Alexander Green and Lucinda Daniels have both resolved and settled their respective disputes without payment, promise or receipt of any money. They regret any circumstances that created this dispute. They do not wish to pursue any litigation against each other. And, they wish each other well.”
As Twitchy’s Sarah D wondered, why bring up a nine-year-old settlement with a new joint statement? Didn’t they already “wish each other well”? Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak reports that there was a lot more behind that settlement than just a discrimination claim, and Green’s office appears to have tried to get ahead of the new revelations. Daniels was going to claim sexual harassment in the office, while Green pre-empted Daniels with a lawsuit of his own:
Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green had sex with a staffer who he said was a drug addict and then sued her when she threatened to go public with claims she suffered a hostile work environment, saying he “will not be extorted or blackmailed.”
Lucinda Daniels, his onetime district director, claimed she suffered a hostile work environment, claimed sexual harassment and demanded $1.8 million. Green sued her, saying she was using their sexual relationship to shake him down at the behest of other unnamed conspirators.
“Daniels has threatened to go public with her complaints if the Congressman does not per her money. Green has done nothing wrong and refuses to pay ‘hush money’ just for political expediency. Green will not be extorted or blackmailed by Daniels. He will not be the victim of a shakedown by Daniels and her agents. Green demands vindication of his actions and now sues Daniels for declaratory judgment relief relating to her workplace allegations and her quest for money,” documents Green filed in federal court in 2008 say.
Daniels also unknowingly dialed the congressman while she was allegedly buying cocaine. Green submitted the voicemail, now sealed, as evidence in the case.
Green also accused Daniels of drug use in his office, claiming that she “fell asleep on the phone” while at work and had a “general appearance of incoherence” that he attributed to drug use. He claimed that Daniels’ complaints only arose when he demanded that she seek treatment for drug abuse and that her threats were an attempt to shake him down. The phone recording would have been powerful evidence … had it gone to trial.
However, it didn’t take long after filing the lawsuit for Green to withdraw the complaint. Rather than pursue the case, both parties agreed to keep quiet, and Green’s office apparently characterized it as a “discrimination” dispute instead. It’s tough to sort out who’s telling the truth here, or whether both or neither were, but Green clearly preferred not to have that litigated in 2008 for some reason. Green apparently admits that he and Daniels had an intraoffice affair, which is hardly illegal but demonstrates a significant lack of good judgment. (Green’s biographical materials on his campaign website and House page do not mention a spouse.)
Raising this out of the blue shows even less good judgment. Why get Daniels to sign a new statement nine years after a non-financial settlement of previous complaints? Does she have more to say? If not, then this was entirely unnecessary — but if so, it’s not going to help keep it buried.