A Georgia woman says that she and Herman Cain engaged in a 13-year affair, but the GOP presidential candidate issued a preemptive denial on Monday.
In an interview with the local Fox affiliate in Atlanta, Ginger White said she met Cain in the 1990s and he invited her to meet him in Palm Springs. From there, she said, the affair took off and he flew her to places where he gave speeches and lavished her with gifts.
WATCH: Ginger White’s interview with Atlanta Fox5 News
“He made it very intriguing,” White said. “It was fun. It was something that took me away from my humdrum life at the time. And it was exciting.
“It wasn't complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship.”
To substantiate her claims, White showed the Atlanta reporter phone records documenting 61 calls from a number that the reporter later traced to Cain. The calls were being made as late as September 2011; Cain, who has acknowledged a relationship with White but not an inappropriate one, responded to a text message to the phone number, but told the reporter he was helping her financially.
“This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault - which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate,” said attorney Lin Wood, who Cain hired after several sexual harassment allegations surfaced against him earlier this month.
“Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults - a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life.”
After being criticized for his slow response to sexual harassment allegations in recent weeks, the presidential candidate on Monday refuted the story by appearing on CNN the hour before White’s interview aired.
The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that a story would break Monday night in which a woman is “going to accuse me of an affair for an extended period of time.”
Cain told CNN, “It is someone that I know, who is an acquaintance who I thought was a friend.”
The GOP presidential candidate later elaborated on their relationship, saying she was a “friend, because not having a job, et cetera and this sort of thing.” He said it was “premature” to talk about how long he had known the woman, and that his wife had not met her.
Cain didn’t offer other information, explaining, “I don't want to specify because I don't know what's in the story ... We will address these when they come out, but at this point, I just wanted to give you a heads up. I don't have anything to hide and we will address the details as we know them.”
Once the story broke Cain said, his attorney, L. Lin Wood, would respond.
Cain said he had spoken to his wife about the most recent accusation. “Her reaction was very similar to mine — ‘Here we go again.’ ... As long as my wife believes that I should stay in this race, I'm staying in this race.”
He concluded that he would have a “nice steak dinner” tonight, because he’s “done nothing wrong.”
Even as Cain denied the accusations on television, his lawyer told the station in a statement that his client would not be responding publicly.
“[T]his appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults — a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public,” wrote Wood. “Mr. Cain ... has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media.”
After White’s accusations were made public, her attorney, Edward White, told CNN’s John King that White wasn’t likely to profit off them and had gone public after several media inquiries regarding her relationship with Cain.
“I’m concerned about whether or not she’ll be able to keep her job,” White said.
Earlier this month, Politico reported that two women were paid settlements over sexual harassment allegations against Cain from his time at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. One of the women went public, and two others ultimately accused Cain of sexual harassment. Cain denied ever sexually harassing anyone. His poll numbers initially withstood those allegations, but in recent days he has begun a downward slide.
White said she knows her name will be dragged through the mud, but that she felt it was important to get her story out, especially because she wasn’t happy about how Cain has treated his past accusers.
“I wanted to give my side, before it was thrown out there and made out to be something filthy,” White said. “Some people will look at this and say that is exactly what it is. I’m sorry for that.”
The Fox Atlanta report showed White has had financial problems, including evictions in recent years and a bankruptcy 23 years ago. She said she is struggling like many single mothers and is unemployed.
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