WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer who alleged Joe Biden sexually assaulted her 27 years ago, is being represented by a prominent lawyer well-known for his work on prominent cases related to sexual harassment and assault.
Attorney Douglas Wigdor told The Associated Press he was not currently being paid for his work with Reade. “We have decided to take this matter on because every survivor has the right to competent counsel,” the firm said in a statement.
Reade has said for weeks that she was struggling to find a lawyer willing to represent her. She’s accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993, when she worked on his Senate staff. He has denied her allegation.
Wigdor represented six women who accused Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood producer, of sexual misconduct. He has also represented a number of Fox News employees in cases alleging gender and racial discrimination at the network, including Juliette Huddy, one of the women who accused Bill O’Reilly of pursuing a sexual relationship with her and retaliating when she refused. In 2018, he spoke out in the media defending Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
Wigdor said he plans to help Reade in her dealings with the media and any independent investigations into her allegations that might occur. He said the two have not discussed bringing a lawsuit based on her claims, but he did not rule that out.
Wigdor suggested Reade’s earlier struggles to find a lawyer to represent her were the result of “politics.”
“I think highly of a lot of these people,” he said. “These are my friends and colleagues, people who I respect, but they tend to be Democrats or liberals, and they were not interested, because of that, in representing Tara Reade.”
Reade first spoke out about her alleged interactions with Biden in 2019, telling journalists he had touched her inappropriately while she worked on his Senate staff. She came forward in 2020, around the time Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee, with new allegations of assault.
She says she didn’t initially disclose the assault allegations because she was scared of backlash and was still coming to terms with what had happened to her.
On Thursday, Reade said she wanted Biden to be “held accountable” and called on him to drop out of the presidential race. Her comments came in her first on-camera interview, conducted by former Fox News and NBC News journalist Megyn Kelly.
Pressed by a Florida television station about Reade’s comment, Biden reiterated his denial of the allegation.
“The truth is what matters,” he told Bay News 9. “In this case, the truth is these claims are flat-out false.”
Kelly said she reached out to Reade recently because “the more I saw her, the more I felt for her.”
She believes Reade chose her to do the interview because Reade could identify with her.
“I know what it’s like to be at the center of a media storm,” Kelly said.
For the interview with Reade, she worked with former NBC producer Rich McHugh, who was Ronan Farrow’s producer when they pursued sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Like Farrow, McHugh left NBC News following a dispute over the network not using the Weinstein material.