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Elizabeth Warren says she has drafted document for Mike Bloomberg to release people from NDAs

Candidates target Bloomberg at debate
Candidates target Bloomberg at debate 13:30

After repeatedly targeting Michael Bloomberg in the debate on Wednesday, Elizabeth Warren challenged him again in a CNN town hall Thursday night, reading aloud a document she drafted to release former employees from nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) regarding allegations of workplace misconduct at his media company.

"So, I used to teach contract law. And I thought I would make this easy," Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor said in the town hall. "I wrote up a release and covenant not to sue. And all that Mayor Bloomberg has to do is download it. I'll text it. Sign it. And then the women, or men, will be free to speak and tell their own stories." 

She also tweeted the document on Thursday evening.

"Mike Bloomberg can easily release the women who have accused him of sexual harassment-and who voluntarily want to speak about their experiences-from their non-disclosure agreements," Warren wrote.

Bloomberg has not responded to Warren's latest remarks or her document.

During the debate, Warren pressed Bloomberg on how many women had signed confidentiality agreements.

"The mayor has to stand on his record. And what we need to know is exactly what's lurking out there," she insisted. "He has gotten some number of women, dozens, who knows, to sign nondisclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace." 

Bloomberg protested that none of the agreements "accuse me of doing anything, other than maybe they didn't like a joke I told." 

It isn't clear how many NDAs have been signed by Bloomberg LLP or what they stipulate. The multi-billionaire would not agree to let women speak freely about their experiences working for his company. "They signed the agreements and that's what we're going to live with," Bloomberg said. "We're not going to end these agreements because they were made consensually."

Warren also framed Bloomberg's refusal as a question of electability in the debate.

"We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against," Warren said.

It used to be that nondisclosure agreements were standard legal documents meant to keep employees from revealing trade secrets and corporate strategies, but during the #MeToo movement they have drawn scrutiny for another reason. Because some companies turned to NDAs as part of settlements with women who alleged sexual harassment, critics claim the restrictions shield abusers while silencing workers. 

Violating a nondisclosure agreement by talking publicly about the underlying claims can come with the threat of penalties for the alleged victims, although courts may not enforce the terms if disputes arise.   

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