A prominent attorney attempted to arrange compensation for women who either made or considered making sexual misconduct allegations against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump during the final stretch of the 2016 election, The Hill reported Friday.
According to The Hill, last year, Lisa Bloom — who has worked on numerous harassment cases and also briefly defended film producer Harvey Weinstein earlier this year — represented four women who considered going public with accusations against Trump. Ultimately, two publicly accused Trump of misconduct while two declined to do so.
The report said that clients told The Hill that Bloom sought to arrange compensation for them from “donors and tabloid media outlets.”
According to the report:
California lawyer Lisa Bloom’s efforts included offering to sell alleged victims’ stories to TV outlets in return for a commission for herself, arranging a donor to pay off one Trump accuser’s mortgage and attempting to secure a six-figure payment for another woman who ultimately declined to come forward after being offered as much as $750,000, the clients told The Hill.
The Hill reported that “contemporaneous contractual documents, emails and text messages” chronicled the clients’ claims. One text message exchange “suggested political action committees supporting Hillary Clinton were contacted during the effort.”
What did Bloom say?
Bloom told The Hill that she didn’t seek to pressure women to come forward, but wanted to raise funds so they could relocate or arrange for security after they went public. She did not name anyone who contributed funds. She added that while she represented sexual harassment victims “for free or at reduced rates,” part of her contracts required women to pay her a commission as high as 33 percent if their stories were sold to tabloid outlets.
In a lengthy statement to The Hill, Bloom said she vetted her clients’ stories.
“You'll recall the very polarized and hostile atmosphere of [the] 2016 presidential election,” she said. “Emotions were running high, there were incidents of violence on the campaign trail, and threats of violence were a real and abiding concern. Nonetheless, several brave women came forward to accuse Donald Trump of harassment and assault.”
“Donors came forward with offers of financial help to ensure the safety of the women who would come forward," Bloom said.
“I was happy to relay those offers of funds for relocation to a safer community and round the clock security,” she said.
Bloom added: “I can say unequivocally that we did not communicate with Hillary Clinton nor anyone from her campaign. We did not communicate with the Democratic National Committee or Perkins Coie (the DNC law firm) about the Trump accusers.”
She told The Hill reporters: “Your questions seem to imply that we were trying to use the prospect of donor funds to entice women to come forward against their will. Nothing can be further from the truth.”
In a tweet, Bloom added, “Do not let the right wing undermine the brave Trump accusers. Not today. Not ever. I stand with them.”
Jill Harth, one of Bloom’s clients, told The Hill that “Nothing that you’ve said to me about my mortgage or the GoFundMe that was created to help me out financially affects the facts or the veracity of my 1997 federal complaint against Donald J. Trump for sexual harassment and assault.
“In fact, my comments about him during his candidacy were only made in response to him opening the Pandora’s box about the complaint,” she said, adding that she and Trump had agreed to let “sleeping dogs lie,” but when the media uncovered her complaint, “Donald responded to it by repeatedly denigrating and disparaging me and releasing an old National Enquirer article from the 1990s that he planted.”
Harth said she is thankful for Bloom because “I was besieged by media requests then, and still am today, because Donald continues to stir the pot by supporting others who are accused of doing the same thing he has done to me. He continues to call me a liar and uses the White House as a weapon against me.”