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Law and Disorder

Tara Reade's lawyers include a Trump donor, former Sputnik editor

Tara Reade has now accused presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of sexual assault on camera, after Biden unequivocally denied the allegation on TV. And after saying she was having trouble finding legal representation, Reade now has at least two lawyers, The Associated Press reports.

Her main attorney is Douglas Wigdor, a supporter of President Trump — he donated $55,000 to Trump's 2016 campaign — who has also represented women in sexual assault cases against Harvey Weinstein and Fox News hosts. Wigdor told AP his firm is currently representing Reade without charge, and the firm denied any political motivation.

Reade's other new lawyer is William Moran, who "previously wrote and edited for Sputnik, a news agency founded and supported by the Russian state-owned media company Rossiya Segodnya," AP reports. As Reade noted in her interview with Megyn Kelly, skeptics of her allegation sometimes bring up her recent, now-deleted quasi-erotic writings praising Russian President Vladimir Putin to suggest she's "a Russian agent." Moran texted AP Thursday to say he found its focus on his past work "disgraceful." Wigdor said Reade told him she was connected to Moran through Katie Halper, the podcaster who first broadcast Reade's assault allegation.

Reporters who have investigated Reade's account were unable to find any other allegations of sexual assault against Biden, and aides to former President Barack Obama said they uncovered no such allegations when they thoroughly vetted him for vice president in 2008.

At this point, it seems likely Reade won't be able to prove her 27-year-old allegation and Biden won't be able to disprove it.

We do know Reade has been speaking with reporters at major news organizations for more than a year, and that she has substantially changed her story in that time, as have her corroborating witnesses. That doesn't mean her new version of events is inaccurate.

A year ago, Reade steered reporter Laura McGann to a friend who had counseled her through her time in Biden's office in 1992 and 1993, she writes in Vox. At the time, the friend said Biden "never tried to kiss" Reade and "never went for one of those touches," adding, "What was creepy was that it was always in front of people." Now the friend tells McGann she did not want to violate Reade's level of comfort a year ago. "All of this leaves me where no reporter wants to be: mired in the miasma of uncertainty," McGann writes.