Lawyer says he's no longer representing Biden accuser Tara Reade
A lawyer who represented Tara Reade, the woman who has accused Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993, announced Friday that Reade is no longer his firm's client.
Doug Wigdor said the decision to no longer represent Reade was made on Wednesday, the day after CNN published an extensive investigation about Reade's background and past statements. In the report, CNN first revealed problems with Reade's claim that she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Antioch University in Seattle; the school denied to CNN that she ever graduated from the university.
Wigdor had sent CNN a lengthy statement on Monday responding to numerous questions related to the story. However, Reade directly contacted CNN on Monday night to discuss the issue of her degree from Antioch, telling a CNN reporter that she had asked for and received permission from Wigdor to reach out directly.
"Our decision, made on May 20, is by no means a reflection on whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted Ms. Reade," Wigdor said in a statement. "We also believe that to a large extent Ms. Reade has been subjected to a double standard in terms of the media coverage she has received. Much of what has been written about Ms. Reade is not probative of whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted her, but rather is intended to victim-shame and attack her credibility on unrelated and irrelevant matters."
Wigdor said his firm wishes Reade well and hopes that she will be treated fairly.
Reade did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The New York Times first reported news of Widgor's decision.
Reade alleges that in 1993 when she was working as an aide in Biden's Senate office, the then-senator sexually assaulted her. Biden himself has vehemently denied Reade's allegation.
Wigdor, a prominent sexual harassment and assault lawyer, announced that his firm was representing Reade earlier this month. He has represented accusers of Harvey Weinstein, and was a vocal supporter of Christine Blasey Ford when she accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Wigdor supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
Wigdor previously told CNN that Reade wasn't paying his law firm and that he didn't "anticipate ever getting paid for anything."
Wigdor is parting ways with Reade as many aspects of her background have come under scrutiny in light of her allegation against Biden.
On Monday, Reade had told CNN that she received a bachelor of arts degree from Antioch University in Seattle under the auspices of a "protected program," personally working with the former president of the school to ensure her identity was protected while she obtained credits for her degree. She also said that she was a visiting professor at the school, on and off for five years.
But a spokesperson for the university told CNN that Reade "attended but did not graduate from Antioch University" and that she was never a faculty member, but she did provide several hours of administrative work.
University officials confirmed with former university president Toni Murdoch that no special arrangements existed, university spokeswoman Karen Hamilton said.
An Antioch University official also told CNN that such a "protected program" does not exist and never has.
Reade graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2004, gaining admission to the school through its Alternative Admission Program.
Defense lawyers in California are reviewing past criminal cases in which Reade testified as an expert witness, according to The New York Times.
The lawyers told the Times they are concerned over inconsistencies in her education credentials and that her testimony may have improperly influenced the outcomes of their trials.
According to the Times, Reade participated in cases in Monterey County courts for nearly a decade as a government witness on domestic violence. Reade had testified in a 2018 trial that she received a liberal arts degree with a focus on political science when she was asked questions about credentials presented on her resume, according to a trial transcript the Times obtained.
According to the Times, lawyers became concerned after CNN first reported about discrepancies in Reade's education background.
She also told the court that she worked in domestic violence prevention for decades, starting off as a legislative assistant in Biden's office when he worked on the Violence Against Women Act, according to a trial transcript the Times obtained. Reade was a staff assistant in Biden's office, according to a congressional staff list at the time, which is a different position.
The Times reported that Reade maintains that she did not misrepresent her credentials and that she does have a bachelor's degree.
The Monterey County public defender's office has started examining the cases involving Reade and drawing up a list of clients potentially affected by her testimony, Jeremy Dzubay, an assistant public defender in the office, told the newspaper. Roland Soltesz, a criminal defense lawyer in Monterey, told the Times that he believes Reade's testimony significantly swayed the outcome of that 2018 trial in which his client received a life sentence for attempted murder, arson, and armed robbery. He is now looking to reopen the case, according to the Times.
The Sixth District Appellate Program, which makes appeal lawyers available to low-income defendants, is also reviewing all the cases involving Reade, according to the Times.
This story has been updated.
By MJ Lee, Veronica Stracqualursi and Ellie Kaufman, CNN via The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
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