One of the women who alleges that Herman Cain sexually harassed her in the 1990s will go public Monday afternoon with powerhouse lawyer Gloria Allred.
The woman, whose name has not been released, was a National Restaurant Association employee when Cain was CEO of the organization, but she is not one of the two employees who received settlements to leave her job there. She says she chose not to file a formal complaint at the time, but now that the allegations have been made public, she wants to tell her story.
Details of Alleged Incident Expected
She will hold a press conference with Allred on Monday at 1:30 p.m. EST. According to Radar Online, which first reported on the press conference, she will describe the alleged sexual harassment incident(s) in detail.
This would be the first time the public heard directly from one of the accusers about what Cain allegedly did. The two employees who received settlements are bound by confidentiality agreements, although a lawyer representing one of them is trying to get his client released from her agreement.
The initial Politico report, which was published on Oct. 30, described the allegations broadly: These incidents include conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature, taking place at hotels during conferences, at other officially sanctioned restaurant association events and at the association's offices. There were also descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.
Since then, a lawyer for one of the women who received settlements and a Republican consultant who says he witnessed one of the incidents have given somewhat more specific descriptions, claiming that Cain flirted with the woman at a company gathering at a restaurant and then suggested that she go home with him.
Cain: Only One Incident Occurred
Cain himself maintains that there was only one incident, in which he gestured to his chin and told an employee that she was the same height as his wife. He has vehemently denied any other incidents and vowed to put the baseless allegations behind him.
What his accuser says this afternoon will help determine whether the scandal blows over or consumes Cain's campaign. If voters don't think the incidents she describes are serious, Cain will probably keep his front-runner status. But if the incidents appear more serious than what Cain has acknowledged, he will face backlash both for the allegations themselves and for his perceived lack of honesty about them.
If it's that one person took it one way and you can understand how someone took something the wrong way, but he certainly didn't mean any harm, that's survivable, Brian Kirwin, a political consultant for Rourk Public Relations, told the International Business Times. But if it's something where the common person would think, 'If my boss said that to me, I'd be reporting it,' and he's been saying all along that there's nothing to it, he's very close to toast.
The biggest thing to look for in the press conference is not so much the details themselves, but whether they jibe with what Cain has been saying. If his campaign sinks, in other words, it will be because of the cover-up, not because of the crime.
These charges, in and of themselves, aren't enough to do in a candidate nowadays, Kirwin said. The issue of harassment is almost superseded by the issue of his personal honesty. If a first-person, detailed account comes out, even if it's a he-said-she-said -- if that puts a big question mark on Herman Cain's honesty, he's finished. Republicans have very little tolerance for that, especially in primaries.