There’s a new development in the Tara Reade story this afternoon. A newspaper in San Luis Obispo, California has uncovered a 1996 court document in which Reade’s ex-husband states that in 1993 Reade told him she was being sexually harassed in Joe Biden’s office. The document doesn’t specify who was responsible for the harassment and doesn’t mention sexual assault. However, Reade’s ex-husband said the incident had a “very traumatic effect” on Reade.

Reade’s then-husband Theodore Dronen wrote the court declaration. Dronen at the time was contesting a restraining order Reade filed against him days after he filed for divorce, Superior Court records show.

In it, he writes Reade told him about “a problem she was having at work regarding sexual harassment, in U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s office.”…

Dronen wrote that Reade told him she “eventually struck a deal with the chief of staff of the Senator’s office and left her position.”

“It was obvious that this event had a very traumatic effect on (Reade), and that she is still sensitive and effected (sic) by it today,” Dronen wrote.

This confirms that Reade told another person about sexual harassment in the office at the time. It also seems to match, generally, with what Reade’s mother said at the time during a call to the Larry King Live show. Perhaps the thing which adds the most credibility to her story is that this declaration was made during a contentious court battle and yet Reade’s ex-husband didn’t dispute it.

Though the ex-husband disputed many statements Reade made in her declaration, he wrote at the time that the alleged incident in Biden’s office and others described in the document “color (Reade’s) perception and judgment” of her civil case.

Here’s a screenshot of the husband’s declaration:

The obvious question is whether or not the ex-husband was also told about the alleged sexual assault and, if so, why that wasn’t mentioned. The San Luis Obispo Tribune did contact Dronen to ask but he issued a statement saying, “Tara and I ended our relationship over two decades ago under difficult circumstances. I am not interested in reliving that chapter of my life. I wish Tara well, and I have nothing further to say.” So he’s not disputing what he wrote back then but he’s not going further and backing up her present story either.

Setting aside the assault question for a moment, this document seems to strongly undercut the denials by Biden and the people who worked in his office, specifically his then chief of staff Ted Kaufman. Kaufman told NPR last month, “She did not come to me. I would have remembered if she had.” But according to Dronen, Reade “struck a deal with the chief of staff.” At a minimum, that suggests Kaufman was aware of the problem at the time.

Right about the time this story went up, Biden’s communications director released a new statement claiming Reade’s inconsistencies prove the “falsity” of her allegations. The statement references an AP story and a story published today by Vox. However, there is no mention of the San Luis Obispo Tribune story.

There’s no doubt there are some inconsistencies in Reade’s story but it’s also fair to say that there have been a number of surprising developments (like the Larry King call) which support her allegation that she experienced sexual harassment in Biden’s office in 1993. That doesn’t prove she was sexually assaulted but it does make the flat denials from Biden’s team look less and less credible with each new report.