A lawyer with connections to Donald Trump and a number of high-profile #MeToo cases has dropped Joe Biden’s sexual assault accuser as a client.
As The Associated Press reported, top New York City attorney Douglas Wigdor announced that he was no longer representing Tara Reade, dropping her as a client just two weeks after he started representing her. Wigdor released a statement saying his decision to stop representing Reade was not a reflection of the veracity of her sexual assault claim, but did not offer further explanation of the move, the report noted.
Wigdor did take aim at what he saw as a “double standard” in Reade’s treatment by the media. A number of reports have cast doubt on her claims that Biden sexually assaulted her in a secluded part of the U.S. Senate in 1993.
An extensive report from PBS News that included interviews with dozens of former staffers in Biden’s office found many who said they had never seen Biden behave in that way, and he had a reputation as being respectful of the women who worked in his office.
Other former staff members cast doubt on Reade’s claim that she was pushed out of the job after complaining about sexual harassment, including a former supervisor who said that she struggled in keeping up with the demands of the job.
Further reports found that Reade could not back up claims about her academic history, which The Associated Press noted was leading to pressure on Wigdor’s law firm to offer a response.
“Wigdor fielded numerous media questions in recent weeks surrounding inconsistencies in Reade’s biography and the legal challenges she’s faced,” the report noted. “This week, The Associated Press and other media outlets published extensive biographies of Reade, revealing she appears to have exaggerated her educational achievements, was mired in endless financial difficulties and faced frequent lawsuits with individuals who said she defrauded them or failed to pay bills.”
Wigdor has represented a number of high-profile sexual assault accusers, including six women who accused disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, as well as Fox News employees who claimed gender and racial discrimination against the network. Wigdor had connections to Trump as well, giving close to $55,000 to support Trump in the 2016 election.
Biden has categorically denied Reade’s claims, saying the incident never happened and calling on news outlets to thoroughly investigate the claims, believing it would be shown to be unfounded. He also asked for the secretary of the Senate and the National Archives to release any information about a complaint Reade said she filed.