Herman Cain Sexual Harassment Allegations: Confidentiality Agreements Scrutinized As Cain Faces Press (VIDEO)
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's staff called off a press conference in Alexandria, Va. Wednesday morning as he faces sexual harassment allegations. "Excuse me!" he reportedly said, quite loudly, when asked about the controversy. He later said to reporters, "Don't even bother asking me all these questions you're curious about." At least one photographer took a "hard blow to the face" as Cain personnel and hotel security pushed back against assembled photographers, according to the New York Times.
The confidentiality agreements signed by the two women who accused Herman Cain of inappropriate behavior when he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s have drawn increased scrutiny.
A Washington Post report Tuesday said that one of the women wanted to speak out about the alleged incident involving Cain but was barred by a nondisclosure agreement. Her lawyer, Joel P. Bennett, called on the National Restaurant Association, where Cain was president in the 1990s, to release her from the agreement. According to Bennett, the woman wanted to speak out since he said Cain was "bad-mouthing the two complainants." Bennett told Politico Wednesday that he has not heard back from the NRA on whether the agreement can be changed.
The Post reported Wednesday that the woman thinking of going public was concerned about her privacy.
Bennett added in an interview with CBS News that since Cain talked specifics on one of the allegations -- not the woman he is representing -- that the confidentiality agreement may no longer be binding.
A former NRA staffer, Chris Wilson, said on Oklahoma radio station KTOK Wednesday morning that he witnessed an incident in which Cain allegedly sexually harassed a woman. Wilson said that, for legal reasons, he said he could not discuss specifics of what happened, but he said if the woman were to come forward, Cain's campaign would be over.
Two women received financial payouts from the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s after Cain allegedly behaved inappropriately towards them, as Politico reported Sunday. The New York Times reported Tuesday that one of the women received $35,000, equivalent to a year's salary. Cain has repeatedly denied that he sexually harassed anyone but has shifted on what he knew about the settlements.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) called on Cain to "get all the facts out" Wednesday on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown." "If you have a confidentiality agreement that keeps the public from finding out something that the public is interested in knowing the facts, you ought to go on and get the facts out," he said. He added that if the agreement was "keeping the facts from coming out, that's not in Herman Cain's interests."
Cain is scheduled to meet Republican lawmakers Wednesday afternoon on Capitol Hill.
This article was updated to include information from Chris Wilson's radio appearance Wednesday.
UPDATE, 4:50 p.m.: The NRA said in a statement that its representatives would meet with Joel P. Bennett Thursday.