Video: Lawyer: Cain accuser wants to speak out

  1. Closed captioning of: Lawyer: Cain accuser wants to speak out

    >>> the controversy swirling around gop presidential candidate herman cain and word one woman who claims she was sexually harassed by him wants to cheek out. chuck todd our chief white house correspondent good morning.

    >> good morning. today was supposed to be the cowel mention culmination of his attempt to rally washington. instead it's a he said/she said, his accuser is upset and wants to respond to mr. cain publicly.

    >> i absolutely agree we could have been better prepared and in the future we probably will be.

    >> reporter: struggling to move beyond the firestorm that is engulfing his candidacy, herman cain again denied he sexually harassed again. now joel bennett the lawyer for one of the accusers says it was not one isolated incident.

    >> there was more than one incident that my client perceived as sexual harassment.

    >> reporter: he said she wants to tell her side of the story.

    >> she would like to speak out for the record only because mr. cain has stated that he didn't sexually harass anyone, there wasn't any substance to the allegations and basically made it look like she was some type of frivolous claimant, just looking for money.

    >> reporter: bennett says his client hasn't gone public so far because of a confidentiality agreement that was signed 12 years ago as part of a financial settlement, but he says cain 's comments this week may have changed that.

    >> but i do believe that his remarks are a violation of the confidentiality provision of the settlement agreement .

    >> reporter: specifically bennett says cain violated a clause prohibiting any of the parties from making disparaging marks when he said this monday.

    >> i do recall her performance it had been told to me by her boss was not up to par.

    >> i think she's upset about his statements and would like the record to be balanced and clear.

    >> reporter: cain 's statements have evolved this week.

    >> i just started to remember more. remember, 12, in 12 years, a lot of stuff can go through your head.

    >> reporter: by tuesday night on fox, he said he wanted his supporters to know he wasn't ducking the issue.

    >> no, i don't believe it's hurt my campaign at all, just based upon not only the volunteers and the phone calls but the fund-raising has just really gone up dramatically.

    >> reporter: cain 's campaign said it raised nearly half a million dollars on monday alone, the day the story broke. tuesday, the group americans for herman cain , a so-called super pac not directly affiliated with the campaign turned up the heat by invoking race and harkening back to the clarence thomas e-mail an e-mail read "don't let america lynch another black conservative . they are smearing his reputation and attacking his character." asked on fox whether race has played a factor in the story cain said yes.

    >> i believe the answer is yes but we do not have any evidence to support it.

    >> this morning "the new york times" is reporting the first woman to accuse cain of this behavior was paid a one year's severance package to leave $35,000. another source told nbc news the figure might have been closer to $40,000. matt?

    >> chuck todd in washington, thank you very much.

NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 11/2/2011 9:57:09 AM ET 2011-11-02T13:57:09

A lawyer for one of the two women who made complaints of sexual harassment against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has claimed he is not telling the truth about the allegations.

  1. Other political news of note
    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California

The attorney, Joel P. Bennett, told CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 that his client was "very upset" and was considering talking publicly about the case if she was released from a confidentiality clause.

The National Restaurant Association made financial severance agreements with two women while Cain was the organization's CEO from 1996 to 1999. The New York Times reported late Tuesday that one woman was given $35,000, a year's salary, citing three people with direct knowledge of the payment.

Toon-Off: Cain controversy

Asked if his client believed Cain was not telling the truth, Bennett told CNN: "Yes."

"Naturally, she's been very upset about all this since the story broke last Sunday, because Mr. Cain has been giving the impression that she's someone who came out and made false allegations. That's certainly not true," Bennett told the station.

"What I have heard him say on the media is that he never sexually harassed anyone and that there was no validity to these claims ... my client made a good faith, honest complaint of sexual harassment," he added.

Story: Cain accuser got a year's salary in severance pay

"I know her very well and I'm sure she would not make a false complaint," Bennett said.

The lawyer noted that it was unclear which of the two women Cain was talking about at times.

Conflicting statements
Cain has given a series of conflicting statements in the two days since the accusations were disclosed on the website Politico.

On Monday he said he was unaware of a financial settlement given a female employee in connection with allegations Cain had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior. He later acknowledged he was aware of an "agreement" but not a settlement.

He said Tuesday that the two statements were consistent with each other.

"It was an agreement. So it looked like I had changed my story. I didn't change my story," Cain told CNN's Headline News. "The difference between settlement and agreement, it makes a difference to me."

Cain has said the unnamed woman initially asked for a large financial settlement but ultimately received two to three months' pay as part of a separation agreement.

Video: Lawyer: Cain accuser wants to speak out (on this page)

He also acknowledged remembering one woman's accusations against him, saying he stepped close to her to make a reference to her height, and told her she was the same height as his wife.

He has said he is not aware of any other agreements or settlements with any other women, though Politico — which first disclosed the allegations Sunday night — reported that the restaurant trade group had given financial settlements to at least two female employees who accused Cain of inappropriate sexual behavior.

Surging atop the polls only two months before Republicans begin choosing their presidential nominee, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO had scheduled a tour of Washington this week to introduce himself to the nation's power brokers and show he is ready for high office.

Key meetings for Cain
Cain was planning a series of meetings Wednesday in which he will discuss health care reform and likely his own political viability with Republican lawmakers who could help salvage it from the fallout of the sexual harassment allegations.

Slideshow: Herman Cain (on this page)

The extent to which the harassment allegations could harm Cain's campaign remains unclear.

Cain said that rather than the allegations hurting, his fundraising was actually surging — "the highest it has been since I've been in this campaign," he told Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly.

The campaign took in as much as $400,000 in a single day, said Mark Block, Cain's chief of staff.

Some conservatives likened the attacks on the Republican presidential contender to the sexual harassment controversy that once threatened to prevent the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who like Cain is among a small number of prominent black conservatives.

But there is no evidence of liberal involvement in the disclosure of the sexual harassment allegations against Cain.

The revelations could end up benefiting his Republican opponents in the short term.

The accusations against Cain, an untested political newcomer, could give Republican primary voters pause at a time when they desperately want a candidate who can defeat Obama.

Cain said Tuesday night on Fox News that he believes there are some Democrats who want him defeated because he's an unconventional candidate "achieving some unexpected, unconventional results," and there could be some on the right "who do not want to see me because I am not the establishment candidate."

'Be forthcoming'
One rival campaign criticized Cain for his handling of the allegations.

"If you are the front-runner and you plan to be the nominee ... be forthcoming so that you are vetted, and we don't get into a situation where you're our nominee and we find out things after the fact," John Brabender, a strategist for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's campaign, told a forum.

Another Republican presidential contender, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, took a jab at Cain when she met Tuesday night with supporters at a Baptist church in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Though not mentioning Cain by name, Bachmann said: "This is the year when we can't have any surprises with our candidate. We have to have a candidate that we can know, when we put them into office, we can trust them with their record of what they have done and who they are."

At the beginning of her speech, Bachmann said that God is "calling" her to run for president, NBC News reported.

"It was an odd feeling for me, when I had the sense that the Lord was calling me to participate in this race," Bachmann told the audience.

She added: "It's not every day you can wake up in the morning, and say to yourself, 'I'm running to be president of the United States of America.'"

The remark won laughs, and Bachmann followed: "You try it. You go home, you look in the mirror and say it!"

Many opinion polls show Cain running about even with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who has business experience as a venture capitalist.

Several other candidates have risen and fallen in the race to emerge as the main conservative alternative to Romney, whose shifting positions on abortion and gay rights and Mormon faith have raised doubts among the party's key evangelical base.

The Associated Press and NBC News contributed to this report.

Photos: Herman Cain

loading photos...
  1. Republican candidates for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, Johnny Isakson of Marietta, left, Herman Cain of Forest Park, right, and Mac Collins of Atlanta, reflected in the mirror on the wall, wait in the green room of WSB-TV studios before the start of a debate between the three in Atlanta, July 10, 2004. (John Amis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Republican senate candidate Herman Cain held a press conference to promote advance voting after casting his ballot with his wife Gloria in McDonough, Ga., on July 13. 2004. Cain married Gloria in 1968, the year after he graduated from Morehouse college with a degree in mathematics. The couple have two children and three grandchildren. (Rob Felt / Daily Herald via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Sarah Palin impersonator Patti Lyons, right, shares a laugh with Herman Cain in the lobby of the Marriott Wardman Park hotel during the Conservative Political Action Conference Feb. 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. In a speech on the second day of the conference, Cain declared that "stupid people are ruining America." (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Herman Cain announces his run for the Republican candidate for president at a rally, May 21, 2011 in Atlanta. Though he never held public office he worked on the Bob Dole and Jack Kemp campaign in 1996, ran for president briefly in 2000 and ran for Georgia state senate in 2004. (David Goldman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Republican presidential hopefuls Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain, cross paths during the taping of a radio show at the Barley House, May 31, 2011 in Concord, N.H. (Jim Cole / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Herman Cain speaks in the spin room following the Republican presidential primary debate June 13, 2011 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Cain repeated his earlier statements the he would be uncomfortable with a Muslim in his cabinet (Darren Mccollester / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Herman Cain speaks during the "'Energy Independence Day Tea Party" rally on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, on July 4, 2011. (Joseph Kaczmarek / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Herman Cain talks to reporters as dozens of Tea Party supporters rally near the U.S. Capitol against raising the debt limit in Washington, July 27, 2011. (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Herman Cain talks to voters from the Des Moines Register's Soapbox during the second day of the Iowa State Fair August 12, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa. The Republican candidates attended the fair in hopes of winning the Iowa Straw Poll, but Cain finished 5th. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Herman Cain visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, Aug. 24, 2011. It was Cain's first trip to Israel where he also attended Glenn Becks "Restoring Courage" event. (Bernat Armangue / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Republican presidential hopefuls, from left, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Ron Paul, Herman Cain, and former Gov. of Utah Jon Huntsman, pose for photographs on Sept. 7, 2011 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., for the Republican presidential candidates debate. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Herman Cain speaks to delegates during the Republican Party of Florida Presidency 5 Convention in Orlando, Florida, Sept. 24, 2011. (Phelan Ebenhack / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Herman Cain talks with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show at NBC Studios on September 30, 2011 in Burbank, California. (Kevin Winter/nbcuniversal / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. After strong comeback and winning Florida's straw poll, Herman Cain makes a campaign stop and launches his new book "This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House," outside The Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub, Oct. 2, 2011, in Milton, Ga. (Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal & Constitution via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Herman Cain signs a copy of his new book for supporter Mary Wargula, of Dunwoody, Ga., Oct. 2, 2011 in Milton, Ga. Cain has written five books, two of which published during his current presidential campaign. (Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal & Constitution via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain arrives to address the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit in Washington on Oct. 7, 2011. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney participate in the Republican Presidential debate hosted by Bloomberg and the Washington Post on Oct. 11, 2011 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. The debate focused the discussion on the economy giving Cain an opportunity to promote his 9-9-9 plan, which was mentioned 24 times in the two-hour event. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Herman Cain announces that he is suspending his campaign as a Republican presidential candidate while his wife Gloria Cain stand behind him during the scheduled opening of a local campaign headquarters on Dec. 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Cain had taken time to reassess the condition of his campaign "because of all this media firestorm stuff," adding, "my wife and family comes first." (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments