ATLANTA -- Herman Cain's presidential campaign is assailing the woman who accused him of groping her while she sought a job, presumably in an effort to undercut her credibility.
The Republican businessman's advisers issued a news release Tuesday asking -- quote -- "Who is Sharon Bialek?" That document then outlines what it calls her "long and troubled history, from the courts to personal finances."
It lists civil lawsuits that allegedly relate to her in the Cook County Court system in Illinois. It also quotes news reports mentioning her involvement in a paternity case and a bankruptcy filing.
"The fact is that Ms. Bialek has had a long and troubled history, from the courts to personal finances -- which may help explain why she has come forward 14 years after an alleged incident with Mr. Cain, powered by celebrity attorney and long term Democrat donor Gloria Allred," reads the release.
The document contrasts that record with what it says is Cain's "four decades spent climbing the corporate ladder rising to the level of CEO at multiple successful business enterprises."
The release continues to question Bialek's motives:
Curiously, if Ms. Bialek had intended to take legal action, the statute of limitations would have passed a decade ago.
Which brings up the question of why she would make such reprehensible statements now?
The questions should be -- who is financing her legal team, have any media agreed to pay for her story, and has she been offered employment for taking these actions?
Bialek said that Allred agreed to take the case without a fee. She said she was neither paid for her story nor offered a job in return for going public. Bialek has acknowledged that she has had financial difficulties. "I have had bankruptcy and it was after the death of my mother, to help my father pay for medical bills, and a custody battle. Like millions of other people out there I was struggling. I could have sold my story but I didn't," she said.
Cain's rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, called the charges "particularly disturbing" Wednesday in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopolous. "These are serious allegations," he said, "and they're going to have to be addressed seriously."
The Cain campaign has maintained that the allegations are false. Bialek became the first woman to come forward publicly with sexual harassment allegations against Cain after reports surfaced last week that two women had received financial payouts in the 1990s over alleged sexual harassement from Cain and a third woman considered filing a workplace complaint around the same time.
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more