High-profile attorney Gloria Allred appeared on CNN's "The Situation Room" Monday to defend her client, Sharon Bialek, who accused Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of inappropriate sexual behavior in a Monday press conference.
At the Friar's Club in Manhattan, Bialek became the first woman to publicly accuse Cain of sexual harassment. Bialek said the incident happened after she was let go from the National Restaurant Association and sought Cain's advice for a job. She said, "Instead of going into the offices, he suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg, up my skirt, and towards my genitals." She said that when she protested, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO asked, "You want a job, right?"
Allred said Bialek was disturbed that Cain denied two sexual harassment allegations that surfaced last week from anonymous women, who received settlements from the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. A third woman told the Associated Press that she considered filing a workplace claim but did not. "It did motivate her. It was disturbing to her," Allred said on CNN. "She felt that if she came forward there was a chance he could take responsibility."
Cain called the charges "completely false" in a statement Monday.
Allred said if the allegations were true, then she is disgusted with Cain. "I'm disgusted by sexual harassment," she said. "If the allegations are all true, Cain is a serial sexual harasser."
Allred said her client was not affiliated with any of the other candidates and had not donated to any of them. When asked whether Bialek made advances on Cain, she responded, "Absolutely not." She declined to comment on whether Bialek left a voicemail for lawyer Joel P. Bennett, a lawyer for one of the women who received settlements, who told the New York Times that a woman named Sharon from Chicago left him a voicemail over the weekend. (Bialek is from Chicago.)
Allred repeated that Bialek had no plans to file any criminal or civil charges against Cain, but she wouldn't say if the statute of limitations factored into her decision.
"This is now in the court of public opinion. I find Sharon to be very sincere, very credible," she said. "It's now for the voters to decide. She's not going to tell the voters to do anything in particular."