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Whitman Goes on Defense About Ex-Maid's Status; Gloria Allred Promises to Prove Otherwise

On ABC's Good Morning America today, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman issued an "absolute unequivocal denial" that she had at any point received information regarding her housekeeper's status as an undocumented citizen, and alluded to her suspicion that Jerry Brown's campaign may have been involved with accusations indicating otherwise.

Whitman's former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan, accused Whitman on Tuesday of cruel treatment and knowingly employing her illegally. She also alleged that Whitman and her husband received letters from the Social Security Administration indicating a "mismatch" in the identification number the woman had supplied - serving as a clear indicator that it was false.

"We never received those letters," Whitman told GMA's George Stephanopoulos in an interview. "When we hired Nicky we used an employment agency. Nicky provided her social security card, a California drivers license, she filled out a 1099 - because we told the employment agency, we have to hire people only who are documented to work here. So we had no idea that she was not here legally."

Gloria Allred, who is representing Diaz Santillan, appeared after Whitman on the show and promised that today she would be producing as evidence a 2003 Social Security Administration letter indicating a mismatch involving Diaz's Social Security number. "Today at noon in my office, we are going to produce that letter," Allred said, adding that Diaz Santillan had found several similar letters from the Social Security Administration - often in the trash - over the course of her nine years of service for Whitman and her husband.

"What this shows is total hypocrisy on her part, that she's denying that she received [the letter]," Allred said of Whitman, alleging that Diaz Santillan had also told the candidate and her husband that she could not leave the country. "Meg Whitman and her husband should have known - she should have known - that this was an undocumented worker working for them."

"Ultimately, when she terminated [Nicky] it wasn't because she was undocumented - it was because she was asking to be legalized," Allred said. "That would mean that the fact she had hired... an undocumented worker would become public; it would be politically embarrassing."

When asked if Whitman thought Jerry Brown could have a hand in these allegations, which were brought to light yesterday afternoon in a highly-publicized press conference with Diaz Santillan and Allred, Whitman said she "wouldn't be surprised if there was a fair amount of coordination here."

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"Gloria Allred has been associated with Jerry Brown since the early 80s," she said. "She's contributed to his campaign; she's a well-known Democrat, and Gloria does this just about every election cycle... I think [Nicky] is being manipulated and I feel terribly for her."

Allred brushed off the accusation, saying that "no one from Jerry Brown's campaign has contacted me, I haven't contacted them."

"As far as my client goes, Nicky doesn't know anyone in politics...The only person she knows in politics is Meg Whitman and Meg Whitman is the one who has political motivation to lie and she has the agenda to try to cover this up."

"I think it's actually very patronizing and condescending [for Whitman] to think that a housekeeper would not want to have a voice," Allred added.

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Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.
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