If there was ever any doubt that the Herman Cain scandal was slowly slipping into a more sensational phase, then Gloria Allred’s presence at a Monday news conference with an alleged victim of the Republican presidential candidate erased any doubt.
When model Kelly Fisher brought a claim against wealthy film producer Dodi Fayed for breaking off their engagement, Allred represented her. (All was forgiven after Fayed died along with Princess Di.)
And when two of Tiger Woods’ alleged mistresses needed legal advice, they tapped Allred. Same with the porn star Ginger Lee, who claimed that ex-New York Congressman Anthony Weiner (D) asked her to lie for him in his crotch-tweeeting scandal. She also represented Nicole Brown’s family in the infamous murder trial of O.J. Simpson.
On Monday, when Allred appeared at a New York press conference before a swarm of reporters — at one point, before the famed attorney even got to the microphones, her name was announced as if she were some sort of prize-fighter — it only seemed right that as she spoke, the crawl on cable-news stations announced that the Michael Jackson verdict had been reached.
In fact, Cain might have gotten lucky with the Jackson verdict timing; the Cain news was almost entirely obliterated on the cables by breathless anticipation of the Jackson verdict.
(Allred, incidentally, once filed a complaint against Jackson, claiming child endangerment).
With that, the tabloid vortex was complete and inescapable. Allred’s celebrity touch has already booked the pair on CNN’s Piers Morgan Monday night, and Bialek is slated to guest on two morning news shows on Tuesday.
Knowingly, the Cain campaign took to Twitter about 30 minutes before the presser with this golden nugget: “Welcome to the campaign, Gloria Allred. What took you so long?”
It was a tongue-and-cheek acknowledgement of Allred’s role as a fixture behind a microphone, standing next to an alleged victim, accusing a high-powered man, or organization of some misdeed.
And there Allred was on Monday afternoon standing next to Sharon Bialek, a Chicago homemaker, single mom and Republican, who accused Cain of unwanted and aggressive sexual advances.
Bialek said that she was embarrased by the alleged incident. She claims that Cain put his hand up her skirt, reached for her genitals, and tried to force her head near his crotch in July 1997 while they were in a car outside the National Restaurant Assoication.
Bialek said that she wanted to add something to the story that had so far been missing. A name, a face, and a voice.
“I wouldn’t be here if it were not for the other women,” Bialek said. “I want you, Mr. Cain, to come clean.”
And Allred, who by now has become a staple in this routine of how powereful men, and not-so powerful women interact, said that she was disgusted by Cain, who she accused of serial sexual harassment.
“We need to know the truth about those who are running for office,” Allred said. “Enough is enough.”
There are two schools of thought that come with Allred’s arrival on the scene. One says that Cain just became the luckiest Republican presidential candidate around because the case has effectively jumped the shark, residing now in a murky, scandalous, tabloidy region where Bialek is just another castoff woman trying to get back at a powerful man.
The other school of though is this: Bialek, with Allred by her side, has added a name, a face, a voice and graphic detail, which will make it harder for Cain to say, don’t even go there.