Micahel Lohan, father of Lindsay Lohan, and attorney Lisa Bloom arrive at the Beverly Hills courthouse Tuesday, July 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
During the latter stages of the 2016 presidential campaign ambulance chasing attorney Lisa Bloom presented a series of women she alleged had been sexually harassed, or worse, by Donald Trump at some previous point in his life. One of the accusers was a woman named Jill Harth who claimed Trump cornered her in his daughter’s bedroom (+10 for a salacious detail) and “groped” her. Another client alleged that Donald Trump had raped her when she was 13, but she backed out of a scheduled news conference and her identity remains unknown (at least to me).
Today, the New York Times did a story on how sexual harassment claims have been weaponized by political partisans. One of the cases they focused on was the Trump allegations.
“There is a danger in this environment that unsophisticated individuals who have been abused by powerful people could be exploited by groups seeking partisan advantage, or by lawyers seeking a moment in the limelight,” said Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer who has brought sexual harassment cases against politicians from both parties.
There is an equal danger that innocent politicians and public officials will have their reputation trashed by an unscrupulous lawyer, political operative, or complainant, but the article isn’t all that interested in addressing that particular 800-pound gorilla slouching in the corner of the room.
Ms. Allred’s daughter, the lawyer Lisa Bloom, seized on the political potency of sexual harassment charges against Mr. Trump not long after he clinched the Republican presidential nomination. She said she reached out to a pro-Clinton “super PAC” — though she declined to identify which one — for money to help her vet a sexual misconduct claim against Mr. Trump.
That case collapsed one week before Election Day, but as a result of the attention it generated, several donors reached out to Ms. Bloom “asking how they could help,” she said. She told them that she was working with “a few other women” who might “find the courage to speak out” against Mr. Trump if the donors would provide funds for security, relocation and possibly a “safe house.”
Ms. Bloom would not identify the donors. But two Democrats familiar with the arrangements said a nonprofit group founded by Mr. Brock, American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, gave $200,000, while the fashion entrepreneur Susie Tompkins Buell, a major donor to Mr. Brock’s suite of groups, gave $500,000 to Ms. Bloom’s firm for the last-ditch effort.
It was not productive. One woman requested $2 million, Ms. Bloom said, then decided not to come forward. Nor did any other women.
Ms. Bloom said she refunded most of the cash, keeping only “some funds to pay for our out-of-pocket expenses” accrued while working to vet and prepare cases. She said that she did not receive any legal fees for the work, and that she did not communicate with Mrs. Clinton or her campaign “on any of this.” She said she represented only clients whose stories she had corroborated, and disputed the premise that she offered money to coax clients to come forward.
“It doesn’t cost anything to publicly air allegations,” she said. “Security and relocation are expensive and were sorely needed in a case of this magnitude, in a country filled with so much anger, hate and violence.”
The Democrats familiar with the financial arrangements said Ms. Bloom’s firm kept the money from American Bridge, but refunded the money from Ms. Buell.
Mr. Brock declined to comment, and representatives from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said they were unaware of his work with Ms. Bloom.
Ms. Buell, a longtime friend and financial supporter of Mrs. Clinton who helped found the clothing brand Esprit, would not comment on the financial arrangement. But she expressed frustration that Mr. Trump has escaped the repercussions that have befallen other powerful men accused of similar misconduct.
The allegations against Mr. Trump might “resonate more” with voters amid the current national conversation about sexual misconduct, she suggested.
Pardon me for being cynical but I find it very difficult to believe that Allred or Bloom were going to “vet” anything other than the willingness of her bank to accept the check.
This, in a climate where we are shouted down if we don’t immediately believe every accuser that steps forward (the whole #MeToo and “Believe Women” nonsense just makes my skin crawl because is makes genitalia the only proof necessary to substantiate a career- and marriage-ending allegation that happened decades earlier and implies that women are some higher form of Homo sapiens who would never, ever lie for fun and profit or take revenge or seek attention), is a recipe for abuse. When hundreds of thousands of dollars are flung about searching for a “victim,” it is inevitable that a “victim” will be found.
All of this is leading us back to an era when no accuser is believed because it is assumed that all accusers are being paid. Or, in the words of political operative and prophet, James Carville, “If you drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.”