2020 Elections

Court filing shows Reade spoke of harassment in Biden’s office

In a 1996 document, Reade’s ex-husband referred to a sexual harassment problem but did not mention assault or provide details about who was involved.

Joe Biden

Tara Reade, the former staffer who has accused Joe Biden of assaulting her in the 1990s, complained to her ex-husband about sexual harassment in Biden’s Senate office, according to a 1996 court filing.

In the statement filed in California Superior Court in San Luis Obispo County, Reade’s ex-husband, Ted Dronen, referred to alleged harassment but did not mention assault or provide details about who was involved.

“On several occasions Petitioner related a problem that she was having at work regarding sexual harassment, in U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s office,” Dronen said in the 1996 court records, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO. “Petitioner told me that she eventually struck a deal with the chief of staff of the Senator’s office and left her position.”

Dronen made the declaration after filing for divorce and in response to Reade’s request for a restraining order. In the records, Reade said she needed to protect herself and their then-young daughter, accusing Dronen of physical abuse.

In March, Reade leveled sexual assault allegations against Biden, saying that, while she worked as an aide in his office in 1993, he pushed her up against the wall and penetrated her with his fingers in a Senate hallway.

In 2019, Reade had accused Biden of inappropriately touching her but did not allege he assaulted her.

Biden’s campaign has pointed to Reade’s various statements to the news media over the past year, including one in which she told The Associated Press a year ago: 'I wasn’t scared of him, that he was going to take me in a room or anything. It wasn’t that kind of vibe.'”

“Every day, more and more inconsistencies arise,” Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said in a statement.

Reade’s new attorney, Douglas Wigdor, said it isn’t unusual for victims of abuse to reveal more about their experiences over time. Of the mention of “harassment” in the 1996 filing, Wigdor said, “She didn’t share with her husband that it was an assault. What it does show is that something happened and she was devastated about it.”

The court document, first reported by the San Luis Obispo Tribune on Thursday, further fueled Reade’s allegations, which have dogged the presumptive Democratic nominee in recent weeks. News of the court filing emerged just as Reade sat down with Megyn Kelly for an on-camera interview.

“I want to say: You and I were there, Joe Biden,” Reade told Kelly on Thursday, according to a clip of the video posted on Kelly’s Twitter feed. “Please step forward and be held accountable. You should not be running on character for the president of the United States.”

Biden denied the allegation in a May 1 interview on MSNBC.

It is not true. I'm saying unequivocally it never, never happened, and it didn't,” the former vice president said.

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