A lawyer representing Tara Reade on Monday challenged presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to authorize a search of senatorial papers archived at the University of Delaware for any documents or records pertaining to Reade’s allegation that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993.
In a letter to Biden, attorney Douglas Wigdor accused the former vice president of portraying a false transparency when earlier this month he requested that the Secretary of the Senate release Reade’s alleged Request for Counseling (the official name of the form she would have submitted in 1993).
“We are aware that you recently requested that the Secretary disclose information related to Ms. Reade’s Request for Counseling,” Wigdor wrote. “However, it is obvious that your belated request for the disclosure of this information was disingenuous and sent knowing full well that the Senate (as it has) would defer to antiquated and vague rules and procedures to keep the contents of Ms. Reade’s Request hidden from the public eye, and protect a former, over 30-year Senate member.”
The Office of the Secretary on Friday told Wigdor it was not authorized to reproduce any such complaint and that “disclosing even the existence of such specific records” would violate federal law.
Biden has categorically denied Reade’s allegations, and said that if she filed a complaint against him in 1993 it would be in the National Archives, not in his senatorial records at the University of Delaware.
In the letter, Wigdor challenged Biden’s commitment to transparency as well as his assertion that Reades’s complaint would not be in the Delaware archives.
“Given that you have repeatedly made a blanket denial of any knowledge of any complaint made by Ms. Reade against you, I am sure you would agree that we all deserve to know whether there are, in fact, any records that corroborate Ms. Reade’s allegations in your Archives, particularly in light of the Secretary’s present obstinacy,” he wrote. “To be frank, we cannot see any legitimate basis to preclude a simple search of the Archives for documents related to Ms. Reade, and see no reason why an efficient, diligent and fair search of the Archives cannot be completed in short order.”
Wigdor also penned a second letter to the Dan Schwager, General Counsel of Office of the Secretary of the Senate. Wigdor reiterated his request for a copy of Reade’s complaint, claiming the office has no “statutory or legal basis” for refusing production.
Although he’s been an open supporter of President Donald Trump, donating approximately $55,000 to his 2016 presidential campaign, Wigdor has insisted that his representation of Reade is not politically motivated.
“We have decided to take this matter on because every survivor has the right to competent counsel,” his firm said in a statement to the Associated Press.
To that end, Wigdor has also donated hefty sums to Democratic politicians, including New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and New York Attorney General Letitia James, according to the AP.
Reade, a former Biden Senate staffer, initially came forward last year claiming she was fired from Biden’s team in retaliation after complaining that he inappropriately touched her shoulder, neck, and hair during meetings. Earlier in 2020, however, Reade added to her allegation that Biden sexually assaulted her in the Capitol building. Reade said she didn’t initially disclose the assault allegations due to fear of backlash and was still coming to terms with what she endured.
See below for Wigdor’s letters to Biden and the Senate Secretary’s Office.
[Images via YouTube/the Hill screengrab, Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images]
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