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Herman Cain's accusers: Should they be allowed to tell their side?
Confidentiality agreements bar the women who say the GOP frontrunner harassed them in the '90s from going public. Time to waive the gag order?
 
Confidentiality agreements compel Herman Cain's accusers to remain silent, but many people say they should be allowed to come forward and speak their piece.
Confidentiality agreements compel Herman Cain's accusers to remain silent, but many people say they should be allowed to come forward and speak their piece.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The list of sexual harassment allegations leveled at Republican presidential frontrunner Herman Cain has grown, with new accusations from a third unidentified women who worked at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) during his tenure. Right-wing radio host Steve Deace and GOP pollster Chris Wilson have supplied fresh details about other alleged harrassment incidents. Meanwhile, Joel Bennet, the lawyer for one of the two original NRA accusers — who'd lamented for days that a confidentiality clause in his client's severance deal has prevented her from going public with her side of the story — publicly pointed out that Cain breached the agreement first by saying disparaging things about the women. Nevertheless, Bennet announced Wednesday night that his client probably wouldn't talk to the press, after all. But if she changes her mind, should she be allowed to talk?

Yes. Let these women tell their side: Gag orders generally shouldn't be broken "without careful deliberation and without the consent of both sides," says The Washington Post in an editorial. But in this case, now that the basic shape of the accusations and payouts have surfaced, "voters are entitled to know the facts.... And they can learn them only if both sides are allowed their say." Cain may not like this airing of dirty laundry, but it's part of playing in the big leagues.
"Let Herman Cain and his accusers talk"

To be fair to Cain, these women must come forward: "If you believe Herman Cain's denial of these accusations," as I do, says Robert Stacy McCain at The Other McCain, then you should demand that we "hear the whole story — the sooner, the better — directly from the accusers." It's "grossly unfair" that Cain has to defend himself against vague, second-hand accusations from anonymous women. We can't judge the credibility of the charges until we can judge the credibility of these women.
"Let her speak: Cain accuser seeks release from confidentiality agreement"

But these women can already talk if they really want to: If Cain's accusers want to tell their side of the story, they can go right ahead, says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. Sure, it would mean breaking the agreements, but "there is no confidentiality jail," and these women could easily argue that Cain violated the deal first. The worst that could happen is that they'd be sued by the NRA. But the NRA may very well elect not to sue — and even if it does, the case hardly looks airtight.
"Who can say what about Cain's sexual harassment cases"

 

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