Sharon Bialek: Herman Cain knows who I am

Sharon Bialek
Lawyer Gloria Allred attends a news conference with Sharon Bialek (L) during a news conference in New York November 7, 2011.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 11:48 a.m. ET

Sharon Bialek, the first woman to step forward publicly with sexual harassment charges against Herman Cain, suggested Wednesday the presidential contender was lying yesterday when he said he doesn't remember Bialek.

On MSNBC Wednesday, Bialek recounted an incident, which others have said they witnessed, in which she approached Cain at a Tea Party rally.

"I simply grasped his elbow and leaned in towards him to acknowledge he knew exactly who I was," she said. "He acknowledged who I was."

Bialek declined to reveal what she said to Cain at the event, but she said, "It was simply a few statements to jar his memory ... That was only a month ago."

At a press conference on Tuesday, Cain said he did not recall ever seeing Bialek before she came forward with her allegations on Monday. "I tried to remember if I recognized her, and I didn't. I tried to remember if I remembered that name, and I didn't," he said.

Bialek said she was "very disappointed but not surprised" by Cain's response, which she said "disrespected me and millions of other women across the country who are violated in the same way in the workplace."

Bialek earlier this week charged that, after a dinner meeting with Cain in 1997, Cain attempted to fondle her. Bialek had arranged the meeting to seek employment help from Cain, who was at the time head of the National Restaurant Association.

Before Bialek came forward, it was reported that two unidentified women had filed sexual harassment complaints against Cain at the NRA in the 1990's. Then, a third unidentified woman alleged she was also harassed by Cain more than a decade ago. Bialek's public statements prompted one unidentified women who file a complaint to also reveal her identity -- Karen Kraushaar.

Kraushaar said she was interested in holding a joint press conference with all the women who say they were harassed by Cain.

Bialek said on MSNBC that she would be "all for" the joint press conference as long as her attorney Gloria Allred is also on board. Bialek added she is "proud" of Kraushaar for coming forward.

"If [my statements] just made one person come forward, it was worth it," she said.

Joel Bennett, the lawyer for Cain accuser Karen Kraushaar, said today that a joint press conference with women who have complained of harassment by Cain could be as early as tomorrow or Friday. He said Kraushaar is reaching out to the other woman who filed a complaint with the restaurant group.

"As of this time, we have not heard from the other women who have stated that they were sexually harassed," Kraushaar said in a statement. "We are still hopeful that they will have the courage to come forward, but we completely understand if they choose not to."

Cain's campaign yesterday sent an email to Cain's supporters aggressively attacking Bialek and calling into questions her motives. By citing her history in other lawsuits and her troubled financial history, Cain's campaign suggested she was seeking a financial payoff.

Bialek maintained today, "I'm doing this because it's the right thing to do," not for financial reasons.

Allred, who appeared on MSNBC with Bialek, said Cain's motives for attacking Bialek need to be questioned.

"He has a financial and a political motivation," Allred said -- namely to "be able to raise more money for his campaign [and] also to sell his book. His political motivation is to... stay on top" of the Republican presidential field.

While some have suggested Allred has a partisan motive (she donates to the Democratic party), Allred pointed out that she also represented a woman who came forward with complaints of sexual misconduct against disgraced Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Allred pointed out that Weiner resigned a day after her famous press conference with her client.

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