ANALYSIS: Tara Reade’s Claim Against Joe Biden Has More Corroborating Evidence Than Christine Ford’s Claim Against Brett Kavanaugh
Former Senate staffer Tara Reade has more supporting evidence for her sexual misconduct accusation against former Vice President Joe Biden than Christine Blasey Ford had for her claim against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Seven people have now corroborated details of Reade’s story. Reade has accused Biden of both sexual harassment and sexual assault. Biden and his campaign have adamantly denied Reade’s accusations.
Ford’s accusation against Kavanaugh, which earned support from virtually every high-profile Democrat, lacked that level of corroboration. There’s no evidence that Ford and Kavanaugh ever met in high school — the time of the alleged assault — and her primary corroborating witness, Leland Keyser, ultimately said she didn’t have confidence in Ford’s account.
Other than Keyser’s account, the biggest piece of corroborating evidence Ford had against Kavanaugh was the result of discussions nearly 30 years after the alleged assault was said to have taken place.
Notes from therapy sessions Ford and her husband had in 2012 and 2013 show that she discussed an alleged high school assault, though she didn’t name the alleged perpetrator. Other friends said they’d had discussions with Ford about the alleged assault, though not before 2012.
Reade’s case easily surpasses that level of corroboration.
The latest piece of evidence came in the form of a 1996 court document showing that Reade’s now ex-husband said she had told him that she had been a victim of sexual harassment while working in Biden’s Senate office in 1993. That revelation came three years after the alleged assault.
Reade’s husband is at least the seventh person to say he heard part or all of Reade’s story decades ago.
Reade’s ex-neighbor, Lynda LaCasse, said Reade alleged to her in the 1990s that her boss in Washington, D.C. had sexually assaulted her.
Reade’s brother, Collin Moulton, also corroborated details of Reade’s account and said she had told their mother about the alleged incident.
Moulton’s position is backed up by the fact that Reade’s mother appears to have referenced her daughter’s alleged issues at Biden’s office while calling into a 1993 “Larry King Live” episode.
Lorraine Sanchez, who worked alongside Reade in the mid 1990’s for a California state senator, said that Reade had complained to her that her former Washington, D.C. boss had sexually harassed her.
Two anonymous friends of Reade have also backed up her story.
Reade’s case against Biden hasn’t been without criticism. As with Ford, aspects of her story have provided ammunition for doubters.
Skeptics have pointed out that the story Reade told to journalists changed over time, escalating from a sexual harassment accusation to a sexual assault accusation. Three former Biden aides who Reade says she told about alleged harassment from Biden have denied her account.
The difference between Reade’s account and Ford’s is that while both gave skeptics reason to question their accounts, Reade’s accusation has more corroboration from third parties relatively close in time to the alleged assault than Ford’s.
But the corroboration of Reade’s account hasn’t been enough for many high-profile Democrats to offer her the same support they offered Ford.
Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a prominent defender of Ford, called Reade’s accusation “ridiculous.” Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who also showered Ford with praise, said she “stand[s] by Vice President Biden. He’s devoted his life to supporting women and he has vehemently denied this allegation.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, who said in December 2017 that any candidate or elected official “who has engaged in sexual misconduct” should “step aside,” has thrown his full support behind Biden.
“I’m very familiar with the vice presidential vetting process. They look at everything about you. They looked at the entire history of Joe Biden, his entire career,” Perez told ABC’s Martha Raddatz.
“And I’ll tell you, if Barack Obama had any indication that there was an issue, Barack Obama would not have had him as his vice president. Barack Obama trusted Joe Biden. I trust Joe Biden and those investigations have been done.”
And while Ford’s Kavanaugh accusation had issues, it was still stronger than other Kavanaugh accusations Democrats hyped against the Supreme Court nominee.
Julie Swetnick, the client of disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti, alleged without any evidence whatsoever that Kavanaugh was involved in gang rapes in high school.
Despite that lack of evidence and despite the fact that Avenatti’s track record provided good reasons to doubt him, some in the media still gave Swetnick’s claims credence.
And Swetnick’s accusation wasn’t even the thinnest claim against Kavanaugh to receive credulous press coverage.
CNN and The Hill both spread a bombastic accusation against Kavanaugh, before later updating their coverage to note that the man who made it retracted his claim and apologized for making it.
A Rhode Island man called Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s office and claimed that Kavanaugh and one of the judge’s high school friends, Mark Judge, had drunkenly sexually assaulted a friend of his while in Rhode Island in 1998, a transcript from a Senate Judiciary Committee interview with Kavanaugh showed.
The man retracted the claim shortly after it became public and said he made a “mistake” in leveling the false accusation. “I have recanted because I have made a mistake and apologize for such mistake,” he wrote on Twitter.
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