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Allred says new woman to accuse Cain

High-profile discrimination attorney Gloria Allred says another woman has come forward accusing Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain of sexual harassment.
/ Source: The Associated Press

High-profile discrimination attorney Gloria Allred said Monday that another woman is accusing Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain of sexual harassment and will appear at a news conference in New York City later in the day.

Allred's client — whom she did not identify — would be the first woman to go public with accusations that Cain has engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior, and the fourth to allege misconduct.

Cain has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has called the accusations a "smear campaign" in the week since the disclosure that two women reportedly received financial settlements from the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s after accusing Cain, who led the group at the time, of sexually inappropriate behavior while they were employed there.

A third woman told The Associated Press last week that she considered filing a workplace complaint against Cain over what she deemed sexually suggestive remarks and gestures that included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.

A former pollster for the restaurant association has said he witnessed yet another episode involving a fourth woman. It was unclear whether that woman is Allred's client.

The allegations have rocked Cain's unorthodox presidential campaign just as he was riding high in public opinion polls two months before the leadoff Iowa presidential caucuses. He has emerged in national and state surveys as the leading conservative challenger to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination — adding unpredictability to a race already as volatile as any in recent memory.

As the new accuser surfaced, Cain was in California for what his campaign said were private events and an appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" as he works to stem the fallout of the string of allegations.

In response, Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon assailed Allred, calling her a major donor to Democrats who typically engages in self-promotion. He said the campaign would have more to say on the allegations later Monday.

Last week, Gordon predicted that Cain "could see other baseless allegations made against him as this appalling smear campaign continues."

Federal Election Commission reports show that Allred gave $1,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton and $2,300 to Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Allred has represented several high-profile clients, including Amber Frey, a witness against convicted California killer Scott Peterson. Allred also represented a woman whom news reports accused of having an affair with golfer Tiger Woods.

"I consider sexual harassment the No. 1 problem in the workplace," Allred told the AP in an interview last week. "It denies equal opportunity in the workforce. If (women) don't protest it, they'll have to continue to suffer."

Cain has struggled to respond to the allegations, denying that he sexually harassed anyone but also changing his answers to other pertinent questions. He first denied knowing of any settlements with former employees, then said he recalled one, explaining he had been aware of an "agreement" but not a "settlement."

In recent days, some Republican rivals and party elders have pressed Cain to disclose all information about the allegations.

"Legitimate questions have been raised and that information has to come forward," former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said Sunday, adding that it is up to Cain to divulge the details.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said the best way for Cain to get back on message "is to get all the facts on the table."

Cain's campaign, for its part, has sought to project an image of business as usual. His campaign has suggested that he's benefiting politically from the furor, announcing Friday that donations since the controversy began totaled $1.6 million, described as a fourfold increase over the average take for an entire month.